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Homemade: Valentine’s Day Chocolates

With that little red heart-shaped box tucked under one arm and a crudely picked and arranged bouquet of texas wild flowers grasped tightly by a sweaty palm, I make my way up the seemingly-never-ending, mile-long path. Behind the formidable front door stands a forbidding father. Am I more nervous about the date or about impressing dad?

My shaky hand reaches out to push the doorbell. My dry mouth struggles to swallow the cotton it is producing. And then it hits me. I’m wearing too much cologne. Is it too late to turn around?

The door opens. I find my timid self staring at a monster of a father. I peak past him quickly to find my date hiding somewhere in the distance. My eyes make a plea. Save me. Help me. What do I say?

This man,  a father whose child I’m trying to steal, glances to the flowers in one hand and the chocolates in the other. He chuckles with a smile and nods for my date to come forward. That can’t be right. The movies make this seem so much more dangerous. Is this a trick?

I thought the worst part was over. Now I stand facing true fear. I struggle to think of anything to say. I forget about the gifts I bare. I stand there, like a scarecrow, but I’m the scared. I quickly turn and look to my father, standing by his car. With a smile he gestures to his 8 year old son to hand over the chocolates.

I do. She swoons.

I still remember my first date, first, because it was with the wrong gender, and second, because I was the first kid in my grade to ask a girl out – and subsequently kiss a girl -, but mostly because we spent the day eating each and every one of those chocolates together.

Homemade is a new series I’m starting here at Chasing Delicious for 2013 where I take commonly-store-bought items and show you how to make them at home! For the first installment of Homemade I’m going to show you how to make chocolates. After all, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner.

Homemade chocolates are surprisingly simple. If it wasn’t for the delicate tasks involved and the time consuming nature of homemade chocolates, I’d label each as “easy” but instead I have chosen to label these four homemade chocolates as “intermediate”.

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Cherry-Filled Chocolates

[tabs tab1=”Information” tab2=”Yield” tab3=”Difficulty” tab4=”Time” tab5=”Serving Suggestions”] [tab id=1]Try this recipe with blueberries, raspberries or other small fruit. Substitute your favorite chocolate as well. [/tab] [tab id=2]8 chocolates (This recipe is easily doubled or halved.) [/tab] [tab id=3]This recipe is Intermediate. See the recipe difficulty key  for more information.[/tab] [tab id=4]This recipe will take 1 hour plus 1 hour or more for cooling. [/tab] [tab id=5]While chocolates should last indefinitely, I find homemade chocolates are best served within a few weeks. [/tab] [/tabs]

Small icing spatula

8 maraschino cherries

1 ounce fondant (*see note below)

1 teaspoon cherry liqueur

3 teaspoons cherry syrup (or liquid from maraschino cherry jar)

4 ounces dark chocolate, roughly chopped

Instructions:

1. Place the chocolate mould in the fridge or freezer 20 minutes before starting.

2. In the meantime, begin making the filling. Mix the fondant, cherry liqueur and cherry syrup together in a bowl until combined. A runny paste should form. Set aside.

3. Heat the water in a bain marie to about 140-160°F. Do not bring it to a simmer or boil. Place a glass bowl on the pot (the bottom should not be touching the water).

Tip:    Chocolate is very delicate (technically it’s the cocoa butter in chocolate). Melting the chocolate slowly, over a low temperature is ideal to retaining the chocolate’s shiny, crisp characteristics. This also saves us from having to temper the chocolate before working with it. 

4. Place the chocolate in the bowl and stir occasionally while it melts. This process will be slow and can take up to 30 minutes. Stirring keeps the chocolate from getting too hot.

5. Remove the chocolate from the heat and the mould from the refrigerator.

6. Pour a little chocolate into each mould (enough to fill it about 1/3 full).

7. Using a food-safe brush, brush the chocolate up the sides of the mould. Place the mould in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes.

8. Remove the mould from the refrigerator and check to see if there are any bare spots. If so, brush on more chocolate.

9. Place a cherry inside each mould and then pour a little of the cherry filling over each cherry. Be sure to leave enough room on top for chocolate.

10. Pour chocolate on top level to the top of the mould to seal each individual chocolate.

11. Place the mould in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes or until the chocolates are completely hardened.

12. Gently remove from the moulds (you may need to flex the moulds to coerce the chocolates out). Store at cool room temperature or in the fridge.

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The second chocolates recipe I’m sharing with you is definitely the easiest. It is also another favorite of mine as I love the combination of chocolate and pecans. Milk chocolate is far more delicate than dark chocolate, so take care when melting it and working with it. You wont get the same shine from milk chocolate that you do from a dark chocolate.

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Pecan Chocolates

[tabs tab1=”Information” tab2=”Yield” tab3=”Difficulty” tab4=”Time” tab5=”Serving Suggestions”] [tab id=1]Try this recipe with any of your favorite nuts. Substitute your favorite chocolate as well.[/tab] [tab id=2]12 chocolates (This recipe is easily doubled or halved.) [/tab] [tab id=3]This recipe is Intermediate. See the recipe difficulty key  for more information.[/tab] [tab id=4]This recipe will take 1 hour plus 1 hour or more for cooling. [/tab] [tab id=5]While chocolates should last indefinitely, I find homemade chocolates are best served within a few weeks. [/tab] [/tabs]

Bowls

Small spoon

Small icing spatula

4 ounces milk chocolate, roughly chopped

2 ounces pecans, finely chopped

Instructions:

1. Place the chocolate mould in the fridge or freezer 20 minutes before starting.

3. Heat the water in a bain marie to about 140-160°F. Do not bring it to a simmer or boil. Place a glass bowl on the pot (the bottom should not be touching the water).

Tip:    Chocolate is very delicate (technically it’s the cocoa butter in chocolate). Melting the chocolate slowly, over a low temperature is ideal to retaining the chocolate’s shiny, crisp characteristics. This also saves us from having to temper the chocolate before working with it. 

4. Place the chocolate in the bowl and stir frequently while it melts. This process will be slow and

can take up to 30 minutes. Stirring keeps the chocolate from getting too hot.

5. Remove the chocolate from the heat. Add the pecans and stir until evenly distributed.

6. Remove the mould from the refrigerator. Spoon the chocolate-pecan mixture into the moulds, making sure to remove any air bubbles. Use a spatula to ensure the tops are flat and even with the mould.

11. Place the mould in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes or until the chocolates are completely hardened.

12. Gently remove from the moulds (you may need to flex the moulds to coerce the chocolates out). Store at cool room temperature or in the fridge.

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Number three on the list combines two flavors most people can’t refuse, chocolate and orange. While you want to use a deep mould for these, I suggest using a mould that will produce chocolates smaller than cherry-filled chocolates.

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Orange Cream Chocolates

[tabs tab1=”Information” tab2=”Yield” tab3=”Difficulty” tab4=”Time” tab5=”Serving Suggestions”] [tab id=1]Try this recipe with your favorite fruit or filling.[/tab] [tab id=2]12 chocolates (This recipe is easily doubled or halved.) [/tab] [tab id=3]This recipe is Intermediate. See the recipe difficulty key  for more information.[/tab] [tab id=4]This recipe will take 1 hour plus 1 hour or more for cooling. [/tab] [tab id=5]While chocolates should last indefinitely, I find homemade chocolates are best served within a few weeks. [/tab] [/tabs]

Small icing spatula

3 ounces fondant (*see note below)

1 ounce butter, at room temperature

2 teaspoons orange liqueur

1 teaspoon orange zest

4 ounces dark chocolate, roughly chopped

Instructions:

1. Place the chocolate mould in the fridge or freezer 20 minutes before starting.

2. In the meantime, begin making the orange filling. Mix the fondant, butter, orange liqueur and orange zest together in a bowl until combined. A thick paste should form. Set aside.

3. Heat the water in a bain marie to about 140-160°F. Do not bring it to a simmer or boil. Place a glass bowl on the pot (the bottom should not be touching the water).

Tip:    Chocolate is very delicate (technically it’s the cocoa butter in chocolate). Melting the chocolate slowly, over a low temperature is ideal to retaining the chocolate’s shiny, crisp characteristics. This also saves us from having to temper the chocolate before working with it. 

4. Place the chocolate in the bowl and stir occasionally while it melts. This process will be slow and can take up to 30 minutes. Stirring keeps the chocolate from getting too hot.

5. Remove the chocolate from the heat and the mould from the refrigerator.

6. Pour a little chocolate into each mould (enough to fill it about 1/3 full).

7. Using a food-safe brush, brush the chocolate up the sides of the mould. Place the mould in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes.

8. Remove the mould from the refrigerator and check to see if there are any bare spots. If so, brush on more chocolate.

9. Spoon a little of the orange filling into each mould. Be sure to leave enough room on top for chocolate.

10. Pour chocolate on top level to the top of the mould to seal each individual chocolate.

11. Place the mould in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes or until the chocolates are completely hardened.

12. Gently remove from the moulds (you may need to flex the moulds to coerce the chocolates out). Store at cool room temperature or in the fridge.

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The last on the list is very similar to the previous recipe (just substituting lemon for orange and white chocolate for dark). As lemon (and the sweet and sour flavor it brings to the table) is my personal favorite, I couldn’t pass up a lemon chocolate. Pairing it with the sweet and creamy white chocolate lets the lemon shine.

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Lemon Cream Chocolates

[tabs tab1=”Information” tab2=”Yield” tab3=”Difficulty” tab4=”Time” tab5=”Serving Suggestions”] [tab id=1]Try this recipe with your favorite fruit or filling.[/tab] [tab id=2]12 chocolates (This recipe is easily doubled or halved.) [/tab] [tab id=3]This recipe is Intermediate. See the recipe difficulty key  for more information.[/tab] [tab id=4]This recipe will take 1 hour plus 1 hour or more for cooling. [/tab] [tab id=5]While chocolates should last indefinitely, I find homemade chocolates are best served within a few weeks. [/tab] [/tabs]

Small icing spatula

3 ounces fondant (*see note below)

1 ounce butter, at room temperature

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest

4 ounces white chocolate, roughly chopped

Instructions:

1. Place the chocolate mould in the fridge or freezer 20 minutes before starting.

2. In the meantime, begin making the lemon filling. Mix the fondant, butter, lemon juice and lemon zest together in a bowl until combined. A thick paste should form. Set aside.

3. Heat the water in a bain marie to about 140-160°F. Do not bring it to a simmer or boil. Place a glass bowl on the pot (the bottom should not be touching the water).

Tip:    Chocolate is very delicate (technically it’s the cocoa butter in chocolate). Melting the chocolate slowly, over a low temperature is ideal to retaining the chocolate’s shiny, crisp characteristics. This also saves us from having to temper the chocolate before working with it. 

4. Place the chocolate in the bowl and stir occasionally while it melts. This process will be slow and can take up to 30 minutes. Stirring keeps the chocolate from getting too hot.

5. Remove the chocolate from the heat and the mould from the refrigerator.

6. Pour a little chocolate into each mould (enough to fill it about 1/3 full).

7. Using a food-safe brush, brush the chocolate up the sides of the mould. Place the mould in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes.

8. Remove the mould from the refrigerator and check to see if there are any bare spots. If so, brush on more chocolate.

9. Spoon a little of the orange filling into each mould. Be sure to leave enough room on top for chocolate.

10. Pour chocolate on top level to the top of the mould to seal each individual chocolate.

11. Place the mould in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes or until the chocolates are completely hardened.

12. Gently remove from the moulds (you may need to flex the moulds to coerce the chocolates out). Store at cool room temperature or in the fridge.

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*Fondant – Fondant can be made at home or purchased. I suggest buying it as making it is a difficult, time consuming process. Be sure to buy a reputable brand and one that is white and a plain flavor.

Enjoy!

Have a recipe you’d like me to make in the new Homemade Series? Let me know in the comments!

Source: chasingdelicious.com

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