It is almost Valentines Day…again..already, and what better way to say I Love You than sharing a meal or a sweet treat made with love?
Here are a few suggestions to make cooking for that special someone, easy. And if cooking isn’t your “thing” how about gifting a book or two? I will have several to give away in the next few days.
Now what will it be? Moulded Chocolates, recipe by that well known chocolatier Kirsten Tibballs? Or Simmone Logue’s delicious Caramel Kisses? I’ll post both recipes and you can make that difficult choice or choose to make both 🙂
Chocolate by Kirsten Tibballs (Murdoch Books, RRP $49.99)
Makes: 50 Gluten-free
“Moulded chocolates look like sparkling jewels — the plastic mould makes the chocolate contract and become shiny. Handle the chocolates as little as possible to maintain the shine. You can make these moulded chocolates with milk or dark chocolate if you prefer.” p. 74-77
100 g (31/2 oz) good-quality white chocolate, coarsely chopped (a)
red oil-based powdered food colouring
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) good-quality white chocolate, coarsely chopped (b)
Temper the chocolate (a) (see pages 12–14). Sift in the red food colouring and mix to combine. Polish chocolate moulds with cotton wool to eliminate any fingerprints. (I have used two heart-shaped moulds for this recipe. All moulds vary in shape and size – select ones you like.) Using your finger or a brush, paint a thin layer of the red chocolate into the base of each mould and scrape the top of the mould with a metal scraper to remove any excess red chocolate from the top surface of the mould.
Temper the chocolate (b) (see pages 12–14).
Once the first red chocolate layer has set, fill the mould with the tempered white chocolate and scrape the top and sides of the mould to remove any excess chocolate. Tap or vibrate the mould on a work surface from side to side to dislodge any air bubbles trapped on the surface. Turn the mould upside down suspended above a sheet of baking paper and tap it firmly on the side of the mould with a scraper or palette knife to remove the excess chocolate. (Once set, the chocolate on the baking paper can be stored and re-tempered for ‘Sealing the mould’ – see page 77.) Scrape the mould while still upside down to remove any drips of chocolate. Turn the mould the right way up and tap and scrape again if necessary. Place the mould on its side to set or if your room temperature is warm, place for a short period in the refrigerator.
200 g (7 oz/11∕3 cups) coarsely chopped good-quality milk chocolate
100 g (31/2 oz/2∕3 cup) coarsely chopped good-quality dark chocolate
260 ml (9 fl oz) cream (35% fat)
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
Put both chocolates in a heatproof bowl. Put the cream and vanilla bean seeds in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, whisking by hand until all the chocolate is melted and combined. Add the butter, whisking to combine. Scrape the ganache down from the side of the bowl and cover with plastic wrap so it is touching the surface of the ganache. Leave the ganache until it cools to just below 30°C (86°F), then use immediately.
Transfer the prepared ganache to a piping (icing) bag with a 5–10 mm (1/4–½ inch) plain nozzle. Pipe the ganache into each chocolate-lined mould, leaving space to seal the mould with more chocolate. (You can also use a teaspoon to spoon the ganache into the moulds.) Leave to cool at room temperature – as long as the temperature doesn’t exceed 23°C (73°F). If the room is too hot, place the ganache in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1 hour or up to 24 hours before sealing, to enable the ganache to firm up. You can also put the mould in the refrigerator, but for no longer than 15 minutes.
Sealing the mould
Once the ganache has been setting for a minimum of 1 hour in the mould, temper the remaining white chocolate (see pages 12–14) that was tapped out of the mould. If your mould has been sitting for more than 12 hours, warm the surface slightly with a hair dryer. Place a sheet of baking paper under the mould. Spread a layer of tempered chocolate on the base of the mould and tap on the side of the mould with the handle of a palette knife or spatula to pop any air bubbles. Scrape firmly on the surface of the mould with a metal scraper wider than the mould or a metal spatula. Scrape again if needed and then scrape the excess chocolate off the sides of the mould and repeat the process with the second mould.
Let the moulds sit at room temperature for 10 minutes and then place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Turn the mould over onto a clean work surface and tap to dislodge the chocolates. As soon as they come out, move them gently to the side and tap again if needed. Store the chocolates at room temperature – as long as the temperature doesn’t exceed 23°C (73°F). If the room is too hot, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.