I must start by saying I am by no means a chocolatier, I recently bought this mould from Bakedbyme.net as I have done a few bits of chocolate work on my cakes and thought it would be fun to try making filled chocolates as presents. I have had lots of discussions with twitter pals about tempering chocolate and the best way to do it (or not to do it at all) and find this method works for me. I think tempering gives chocolates a lovely shine (if you do it right) and the chocolate has that lovely crisp snap to it. Using a good quality chocolate is a must for me too but if melting a bar of sweet shop chocolate in the microwave works for you then go for it I have seen some lovely results that way too.
I filled my hearts with some homemade salted caramel and some strawberry flavour ‘fondant’ the salted caramel recipe is in a previous post on caramel cupcakes https://becksbake.wordpress.com/2015/01/19/caramel-tastic-cupcakes/ but I also recently discovered a jar of heaven in the shape of a ready made caramel sauce by Sainsburys which would do just as well if you would rather not make your own.
The strawberry creme is based on a recipe for after dinner mints I used by http://www.thecraftylarder.co.uk/search?q=after+dinner+mints at Christmas time which were fantastic but I needed a runnier mixture for these chocolates so I will show you how I achieved that too.
For the chocolates you will need a 100g bar of chocolate of your choice, a glass bowl that fits over a small pan, and a sugar thermometer, I use a Thermapen, finally you will need a chocolate mould, mine is silicon and its a good idea to rub inside each cavity with a lint free cloth before you start. I used Green & Blacks milk chocolate – if you use dark chocolate or white chocolate this will affect the temperatures you need to achieve for effective tempering. When you temper chocolate you need to heat it up to melt it, then add finely chopped chocolate and stir gently until it falls to the desired temperature. The end result once properly set should be glossy and have a snap when broken – my attempts are not always so successful and a whitish bloom sometimes clouds the finished chocolate. This occurs because the sugar crystallises on the surface of the chocolate rather than blending into it – as I said Im no expert and have yet to discover a foolproof way of stopping this from happening – but the good thing is its still perfectly edible like this so I get to eat lots of the ‘failures’.
To temper the chocolate you will need to break 2/3rds of it up into a glass bowl and place over a simmer pan of hot water. Don’t let the bowl touch the water and stir until it starts to melt ( around 53C). Whilst it is melting finely chop or grate the remaining chocolate.
Remove the melted chocolate from the bain-marie wipe the bottom of the dish, you want to be careful not to get any water into the chocolate. Add the finely chopped chocolate and stir gently to melt it all into the mixture. Keep stirring gently until the temperature of the chocolate reached 30C (dark chocolate is tempered at 31C and white at 29C). This can take around 10 minutes – be patient !
At this point it is a good idea to tap the bowl on a chopping board to remove some of the bubbles from the chocolate.
Take your chosen mould and 1/2 fill each each cavity with the melted chocolate. Using the spoon push the chocolate up the sides of each shape. Tap the mould sharply on a chopping board a few times to remove the bubbles again.
Tip the excess chocolate out onto a piece of baking parchment, rotating the mould to carry on coating the sides then use a spatula to clean off the chocolate from the top of the mould. Tap one more time. You can then scrape up the chocolate with the spatula from the baking paper and pop it back in the bowl for later. Pop the mould in the fridge for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile make the strawberry filling.
2-3 tablespoons icing sugar
1/2tsp glucose syrup
1/2 tsp strawberry flavour (I use Foodie Flavours naturally flavourings)
Red food colour
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl with 2/3 tsps water until you achieve a dropping consistency like thick cream. The amount of red colouring will vary according the the kind you use. I like Colourflair ‘extra red’ and you only need a really small amount.
Once the chocolate has set slightly, pipe in the chosen fillings 2/3rds filling the moulds and tap gently to level.
Use the remaining chocolate to cover the fillings, you may need to warm it up slightly, remember to stir until it reaches the tempering temperature again.
Tap one final time to level the chocolate and scrap off with a spatula. The chocolates will take a couple of hours to set at room temperature. I find them easier to unmould if they have a final 10minutes in the fridge beforehand
These would work well with other fillings you can change the flavour/colour of the fondant or fill with things like Nutella or peanut butter, just warm them through slightly to make it runny enough to pipe in.