For those seeking to elevate their chocolate creations, mastering the delicate process of tempering is a fundamental skill. In this guide, we'll delve into the mysteries of tempering chocolate and explore a few additional techniques to unlock chocolate's full potential.
Tempering Chocolate: The Gateway to Glossy Goodness:
Tempering chocolate is the secret to achieving that smooth, shiny finish and satisfying snap in your homemade chocolate treats. Start by selecting high-quality chocolate with a cocoa content of at least 70% - the better the chocolate, the more rewarding the end result.
Begin the tempering process by melting two-thirds of your chocolate over a double boiler. Keep a watchful eye as chocolate is notoriously finicky and can scorch easily. Once melted, remove it from the heat and stir in the remaining one-third of chocolate, allowing it to cool gradually. This process encourages the formation of stable cocoa crystals, resulting in glossy, well-tempered chocolate.
To test if your chocolate is properly tempered, dip a spoon into the mixture and let it set. If it hardens with a shiny finish, you've mastered the art of tempering.
The Coconut Oil Secret:
To let you in on a little secret, you can also achieve a super-shiny chocolate coating without tempering. The secret ingredient here is coconut oil!
It will add a little extra lustre to melted chocolate, which on its own can become matte when dry. Not only does coconut oil make your chocolate coating shine, but it also helps the chocolate harden when kept in cool conditions.
Homemade Ice Magic:
You can make a healthy version, or the more traditional method. For the indulgent version, you’ll want your favourite flavour of chocolate melted, (say 1 cup) and add around 3 tablespoons of room temperature coconut oil.
After melting your chocolate in a double boiler, the addition of the coconut oil will instantly turn the liquid goodness into a crackling hard shell when applied to ice cream. For the healthier version you would opt out of dairy chocolate and use pure cacao powder as your chocolate base, with the addition of pure maple syrup (not maple flavoured) as the sweetener and again the coconut oil.
There you have it, a homemade chocolate shell even better than the commercial varieties – because it’s made with just a couple of ingredients and you have a healthy option that is so delicious!
Chocolate Moulding: Crafting Edible Art:
With tempered chocolate at your disposal, take your creations to the next level by exploring chocolate moulding. Silicone moulds, available in various shapes and sizes, provide an excellent canvas for your edible artistry. Pour tempered chocolate into the moulds, tapping them gently to remove air bubbles. Allow the chocolate to set before carefully popping out your delectable creations.
Ganache: The Luxurious Filling:
Take your chocolate confections beyond a simple shell by mastering the art of ganache. Combine equal parts of heated heavy cream and finely chopped chocolate, stirring until smooth. This velvety mixture serves as a decadent filling for truffles, cupcakes, or even as a luscious layer in a cake.
Chocolate Drizzling: Elevating Everyday Desserts:
A simple but visually striking technique – drizzling. Melted chocolate, whether dark, milk, or white, can be artfully drizzled over cakes, cookies, or fruit for a finishing touch that transforms the ordinary into extraordinary.
To the home cook, when you start learning and experimenting with chocolate techniques like tempering, moulding, ganache-making and drizzling you will find your homemade chocolate creations elevated to a level close to Australia’s finest chocolatiers.