Quick Recipes and Easy

Belgian Chocolates Made Easy

Nothing in this world has ever stirred the imagination and sent out taste buds salivating nearly as much as the word; “Chocolate”. Deep, dark, rich, warm decedent flowing rivers of melted chocolate. Whether we add it to our cereal, to our fresh fruits, bake with it, use it in our pastries, drink it, dip biscotti in it, or make pasta with it, there is nothing that glorifies the taste buds as much as “Belgian Chocolate Candies”. So with that said, let’s make some Belgian Chocolates.

Chocolates come in two kinds, molded and dipped. We will explore each and let you try your hand at both. It’s not as hard as one might expect, but, it is a very demanding and very precise art. Let’s start with some discussion on the chocolate that you’ll want to use. The type of chocolate that you’ll need is called “Couverture”. This is a type of chocolate that can be tempered so that when it set’s it snaps when you break it in half. We will only be working with chocolate that can be tempered in this article.

The quality of the ingredients we use in cooking is all vital in determining the quality of the end product. What then affects the quality of chocolate? First and foremost it is the proportion of high quality cocoa beans in the blend. The technical term for this type of chocolate that we use to make chocolate bars and candies, cream fillings and icings is “couverture”. The word Couverture comes from the French word couvrir, meaning “to cover” or “to coat.” Couverture is made from cocoa solids, cocoa butter, sugar, vanilla, and lecithin, and is tasty to eat just as is. I despise to be the one to break the news to you, but, there is no such thing as “White Chocolate”. What we call white chocolate is not really chocolate at all. It is made from cocoa butter which lacks the components that give cocoa its color and taste. It contains no other elements of the cocoa bean and for this reason legally must be called “White confectionary coating.” Now, as William Shakespeare would say, “Let’s to Chocolate……..”

We’ll start with molded chocolates first. There are a few things that you will need before you start. A excellent digital thermometer is a must. I have one made by Taylor. It’s very accurate and cost about $10.00 at any restaurant supply store and for just a few dollars more, you can get the one that also has centigrade too. That’s a plus if you use foreign recipes. A double boiler or two different size pot’s you can use as one. Chocolate molds. Buy polycarbonate molds and keep them wrapped in a clear plastic wrap to protect them. They will cost around twenty to twenty-five dollars each, but with proper care will last a lifetime. Do not wash in the dishwasher in soapy water. Clean out the cavity’s with a lint-free cloth or cotton balls to keep them clean and polished. Any scratches will show up on your finished chocolates. Also a metal spatula wide enough to reach across your mold. Keep sheets of parchment paper on hand to wipe off your spatula so that you can save the excess chocolate. At $6.00 a pound, you don’t want to discard the chocolate. Place the parchment sheets in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes or until the chocolate is set-up. Then just peel it off and remelt and reuse the chocolate.

You’ll need about 1½ lb of chocolate to be tempered, and a ladle to dip the chocolate and fill the cavities with. I prefer Cacao Barry Chocolate. It is made in France, has a excellent flavor, works well and is not to costly compared to some others. Now temper your chocolate. To do this, you’ll need a marble slab about 14”x14” or so. Chop your chocolate into smaller bits so that it will melt quicker. When all the chocolate is chopped, add it to the top part of your double boiler. Heat the water in the lower section until it melts. Chocolate melts at about 86F, so it won’t take to long. The couverture is heated to a maximum 104F and stirred gently as it melts. Be sure to get all the chocolate bits melted and smooth. Now pour 2/3 of the chocolate on to your marble and spread it with your metal spatula and palette knife until the chocolate starts to set. Now add it back the rest of your warm chocolate and mix well together.

The thought working temperature is between 86F and 91F for dark chocolate and between 86F and 89F for milk chocolate. Now get your chocolate mold and ladle in hand. Reckon of a chocolate mold as a ice cube tray for this illustration. Ladle the melted chocolate into the empty cavities of the mold and over fill. With one end on the counter, pick up the other end, rapidly rock the corners back and forth to let the air bubbles escape. Set the mold down turn it around and repeat with the other end so all the trapped air has escaped. Turn your mold up-side down over your pan of melted chocolate and let it “rain” out of the mold. I also use a rubber spatula to tap on the mold with so all the excess chocolate rains out. With your metal spatula, clear off the excess chocolate from the top of the mold. You should now have a thin coating of chocolate left on the inside the mold cavities. Set the mold in the refrigerator to set up.

Now you will make a ganache, (filling) for the shells. This is typically made from chocolate, boiled heavy cream and a flavoring of your choice, i.e. as raspberry puree. Extreme care should be taken anytime you introduce chocolate to any liquid. You want to pour the hot cream in and stir at the same time so that the couverture melts without seizing. (Seizing is when the chocolate turns lumpy and grainy and most of the time must be discarded.) Work quickly when your adding these two ingredients together. You want the ganache be thick yet pliable. Slightly thicker that honey should work. The ganache should be room temperature so as not to melt the shells. Now fill each cavity in the mold. For this step you can use a pastry bag and pipe it in, or use plastic squeeze bottles. Fill each cavity up to 1/16” from the top. Place mold back into the refrigerator to set. Remove mold, and ladle tempered chocolate back over all the cavities, scrape off with your metal spatula, and place back in refrigerator for about 20 minutes until set excellent. Remove again. Keeping close to your work surface, turn the mold up-side down, and give a slight twist and your chocolates will drop right out. Don’t handle with your hands as your body temperature will start to melt the chocolates. Use a palette knife for this task. Your chocolates are now ready to serve and delight in.

When making dipped chocolates, we tend to work in reverse. The first thing to make is the ganache. You’ll want this ganache to be slightly thicker that the one we made for the molded chocolates. You will also nee to make a frame either out of wood or stainless steel. It should be at least 1/2″ high and the corners should all be secured so that they will not come apart or let any melted chocolate seep through. To make the ganache thicker, add more couverture to it, to make it thinner, add more boiling cream. Cream and couverture is the simplest of ganaches to make, but it has the greatest amounts of variations. You can add a multitude of flavors to it , such as Amaretto, mint, rum, fruit purees, tea, coffee flavor, hazelnut and so forth. To keep it simple, let’s make some “Ganache Triangles.”

You’ll need:

10 oz of milk chocolate couverture,

3 1/2 fl oz cream,

1 teaspoon glucose syrup.

You will also need parchment paper, a 3 1/2″ x 8″ frame, tempered milk chocolate couverture for dipping, tempered dark chocolate couverture for decoration.

Melt the chopped couverture in a pot over boiling water. Bring cream to a boil with the glucose syrup and stir into the couverture. Place a hand blender into the hot cream, switch on, and blend thoroughly . When fully blended, pour it in your frame that is setting on a sheet pan lined with a sheet of parchment paper. Since the couverture is still in a somewhat liquid state, it will smooth itself out as it sets up. You can also help smooth it along by using an angled palette knife. Let the ganache set for several hours to cool and set. When it has set-up, carefully remove the frame. Cut the ganache on the 8″ length in three strips and then diagonally to make the triangles. Now take your dipping fork, immerse each piece into your tempered milk chocolate couverture and scrape the bottom of the dipping fork to remove all excess. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

To decorate, spoon dark tempered couverture into a paper pastry bag and pipe fine lines of dark chocolate close together over the triangles. If piping is not your bag yet, try setting your dipping fork down diagonally on the top of each piece while it is still wet. Press it down gently into the chocolate, and then slowly bring it straight up, this will leave nice ridges across the top of your product. I hope you delight in your chocolates. When you hear the ohhhs and ahhhs from friends and guests; you will be beam with pride.

Clyde Sloan has lived in the Houston, Texas area for nearly thirty five years. He has seized many opportunities to learn and experience cultural foods the East Texas region has to offer. With over 30 years experience in the food industry, Clyde certainly understands the importance of food preparation and most certainly presentation.

Clyde started his entrepreneurial endeavors ten years ago. He founded the “Home Dinning Service” business. This service consisted of a full five course prepared right in your own kitchen and served directly from the stove to you. He also introduced his “E-STORE” which offers a variety of kitchen aid products such as: quality appliances, flatware, dinnerware, cookware, cutlery and much more. In addition, his website provides kitchen hints and tips that are helpful when cooking or baking.

Visit kitchenappliancesnmore kitchenappliancesnmore and learn the twenty ways to fold a napkin, how to set a formal table, and how to remove twenty five different stains from cloth napkins and table covers.

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