True Lies and False Confections

This morning some radio commentator mentioned St. Valentines Day is Monday. After reviewing my calendar I said to myself, myself I said, “Yikes! Time is running out to make my chocolate candies for friends and family.”

Last year I began using my sous vide to temper chocolate. It is easier to control the temperature of the chocolate than in a double boiler.

Sous Vide Chocolate Tempering Set-up

Here is the setup I use. A pot of water chosen to fit both the sous vide and small pan holding the chocolate. The pan with the chocolate fits snugly so it wouldn’t fall into the water. The dishcloth is used to wipe and water from the bottom of the pan, if necessary, like when removing hot water from the water bath and adding ice to cool the water. There are two acrylic molds in the background to make the candies and the blue silicone mold to hold any excess chocolate. The excess made some nice solid chocolate hearts. Barely visible at the top of the photo is my morning coffee, an essential part of any kitchen adventure.

TEMPERING CHOCOLATE

Weigh desired amount of chocolate remembering it is easier to control the temperature of larger amounts of chocolate.

  1. For dark chocolate, set the sous vide to 126 deg and let the chocolate heat to 122 deg F and hold until it is all at temperature. That’s the beauty of using the sous vide to temper. It will hold indefinitely at any temperature you select.
  2. Remove the sauce pan containing the melted chocolate, wipe the pan dry and set it aside
  3. Replace 6-8 cups of water with 8-10 cups of ice. (Ice takes up more room than water. Add more cold water to the water bath if required.)
  4. Set the sous vide to 75 deg.
  5. When the chocolate cools to 82 deg, set the temperature to 95 to hold the chocolate in temper at 90 deg for over an hour.

NOTE FOR ACRYLIC MOLDS

  1. Paint the inside of each mold with a silicone brush allowing the chocolate to dry before repainting. Leave the brush in the tempered chocolate
  2. Paint three coats of chocolate being sure to examine the sides and corners closely to assure the entire inside of each mold is covered. Hold the coated mold up to the light and see if there are any holes in the coating.

I used different molds, the heart shaped one for the caramel filling and the domed one for the marshmallow. It required about 100 g of caramel to fill the 18 cells of hearts and 50 g of marshmallow to fill each of the domes.

FILLING CHOCOLATES

I warmed the caramel to piping consistency, filled a piping bag with the slightly warm caramel. When filling the chocolate shells be sure to leave adequate room to seal the bottoms of the chocolates. Repeat with about the marshmallow.

Cutting the chocolates for photos is always difficult. The tempering makes them hard and brittle. I used a very thin serrated knife.
Any suggestions would be welcome.

Pour enough chocolate across the filled molds and spread to assure each cell is covered with chocolate. (NOTE: the chocolate was kept at 90 deg and remained tempered throughout all the steps. Yay sous vide!)

Once the bottom coat of chocolate is fairly cool scrape off the excess with a bench knife. Save the excess for you next adventure.

Holiday Sweets

As the holidays approach, the baker often changes his spots from baker to chocolatier. Everyone seems to like my chocolate coated soft caramels dusted with some Maldon Sea Salt Flakes.

I ran out of my favorite Barry 64% cacao chocolate. This chocolate is both delicious and has a 4 out of 5 liquidity which makes a nice thin coating. I found some re-packaged bulk Barry Callebaut 70% dark chocolate which did not have a liquidity rating. After using it I would guess it is in the 2-3 range of 5. By not flowing as well yhis resulted in a thicker coating, but it was all that was available. Hopefully, my “go to” 64% will be back in stock soon!

Paying attention to the temperatures while tempering the chocolate really pays off. The chocolates don’t melt in your fingers and have an attractive, shiny appearance.

I hit the maximum temperature of the caramel perfectly. (238 deg) To cut it I put in in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes, then cut into about 1” squared. I still had to coat the knife with some baking spray to make cleanish cuts.

Caramel on the Bay, Revisited

Do you like soft, chewy caramels, especially when coated with dark chocolate and sprinkled with a bit of Malden Sea Flake Salt? Well, I do!

If you read the past few posts you know I bought 11 pounds of very nice chocolate and am looking for places to use it. Today I discovered it took about 360g, or 12 oz of chocolate to cover 72 one inch cubes of caramel. Now I know..

These are really easy to make, and worth the modest effort. I experimented with coating with simple melted chocolate or using tempered chocolate. Tempering is worth the extra step. The chocolate won’t melt in your hands, but will in your mouth.