Tag Archives: Candy Making

Melting Chocolate & Using It In Recipes

Here’s a handy recipe and guide for melting chocolate and some easy chocolate dipped recipes from Charity Ferreira.

Melting Chocolate:

If you’ve worked much with chocolate, you probably know that chocolate falls out of “temper” when melted. In a bar of chocolate straight from the manufacturer, the cocoa butter and chocolate solids are suspended in a delicate balance that makes the chocolate bar shiny and hard. Melting the chocolate disrupts this delicate suspension, and when the chocolate cools it can be tacky to the touch or have dull gray streaks on the surface.

When I make barks, clusters, or chocolate-dipped candy, I do two things to make sure the chocolate sets up nicely.

First, I use a modified version of the “direct method” of tempting that I read about in Chocolatier magazine several years ago. This method entails melting the chocolate so gently that it never gets hotter than 91˚F, and thus never falls out of temper in the first place. Chop the chocolate very finely; the more finely chopped, the more quickly and evenly it will melt. Place the chocolate in a metal or glass bowl that will fit on top of a pan filled with a few inches of water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water). Bring the water to a simmer, turn off the heat, and then place the bowl of chocolate over the hot water. Stir the chocolate frequently with a flexible spatula to encourage even melting. If you need to, you can remove the bowl, reheat the water, and replace the bowl. Once the chocolate is melted, remove the bowl from the pan, stir it well, and use it immediately. This slow, gentle melting is most important for milk chocolate and white chocolate, which will clump and refuse to melt smoothly if they get too hot.

Second, if I plan to hold on to the chocolate-dipped candy longer than a day or two, I treat it as a perishable item and store it in the refrigerator, removing it to serve or eat. This may be counter to everything you’ve heard before about storing chocolate, but it keeps the chocolate firm and fresh. Once removed from the refrigerator, the chocolate’s surface will dull after a few days.

Chocolate-Covered Graham Crackers

Hold each graham cracker by the edge over the bowl and use a pastry brush to coat the sides and edges with melted chocolate. You’ll get a little chocolate on your fingers, but that seems a small price to pay for these satisfying treats.

Yield: 24 crackers

12 whole graham crackers

12 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

Step 1: Line 2 making sheets with waxed paper. Break each cracker in half along its perforation so that you have 24 squares.

Step 2: Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of hot water, stirring frequently until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat.

Step 3: using a clean pastry brush, coat each cracker with chocolate, covering all sides. Place on the waxed paper and refrigerate until the chocolate is firm, about 1 hour.

Step 4: Store the crackers between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day, or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Chocolate-Dipped Fresh Fruit

The best fresh fruit for dipping are whole with a thin, edible skin and no pit, like strawberries and figs. Sliced fruit is too wet for the chocolate to adhere. Use room-temperature fruit that has been rinsed and patted completely dry. If you want to cover fruit in more than one kind of chocolate (such as strawberries dipped in dark chocolate and then drizzled or partly dipped in white chocolate), let the first chocolate harden in the refrigerator, then apply the second.

Yield: 1 pound dipped fruit

6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

1 pound fresh strawberries or figs

2 ounces white chocolate, melted (optional)

Step 1: Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Melt the dark chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of hot water, stirring frequently until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat.

Step 2: Hold each piece of fruit by the stem end and dip the fruit about three-fourths of the way into the chocolate, shaking any excess chocolate back into the bowl. Place it on the waxed paper.

Step 3: Refrigerate until the chocolate is set, about 1 hour. Drizzle with melted white chocolate, if desired. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.

Chocolate-Dipped Candied Citrus Peel

Yield: About 1 cup chocolate-dipped peels

8 ounces bittersweet or white chocolate, chopped

1 cup Candied Citrus Peel

Step 1: Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of hot water, stirring frequently until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat.

Step 2: Dip the peels, about halfway into the chocolate, shaking any excess chocolate back into the bowl. Place the peels on the waxed paper.

Step 3: Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

 

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Honey-Almond Nougat

I forget where I got this recipe from. Might have been sent my way from a fellow candy maker. It’s fantastic, I highly recommend this! I like to make it around the holiday and include them in holiday hostess gift baskets.

Honey-Almond Nougat

This recipe makes a chewy nougat that is somewhere between the Provençal soft nougat (tendre) and hard nougat (dur). You can substitute hazelnuts or pistachios for some of the almonds, if you like.

You’ll need a heavy-duty stand mixer, a candy thermometer, and an 8-inch square disposable aluminum cake pan for this recipe, as well as a sturdy knife for cutting the nougat. Edible wafer paper gives the candy an attractive, finished look. It is available at candy-making supply stores; you might need to trim it or use more than one piece to make an 8-inch square. Or you can omit the wafer paper and use one piece of waxed paper instead.

 

Yield: About 80 pieces

 

Canola of flavorless vegetable oil for the pan

2 to 4 sheets edible wafer paper or one 8-inch square sheet of waxed paper

2 cups plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided

¾ cup honey

½ cup water

2 egg whites, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups whole almonds (about 11 ounces), lightly toasted

 

Step 1: Lightly oil the sides of an 8-inch disposable aluminum square cake pan and line the bottom with a single layer of wafer paper. Set aside enough wafer paper to be placed on top of the candy. (If you don’t wafer paper, oil bottom of the pan as well as the sides, and brush one side of an 8-inch square sheet of waxed paper generously with oil; set waxed paper aside.)

 

Step 2: In a small saucepan that you can lift comfortably with one hand, stir together 2 cups of the sugar, the honey, and water over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat and boil, without stirring, until the mixture measures 320˚F on a candy thermometer.

 

Step 3: Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until frothy. With the mixer running, gradually add the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar and continue to whip to stiff peaks, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off the mixer until the sugar mixture is ready.

 

Step 4: When the sugar mixture reaches 320˚F, turn the mixer to high speed and very carefully pour the hot sugar mixture into the whipping egg whites in a slow, steady stream. Continue to whip at high speed until the mixture cools and thickens and becomes almost too stiff to whip, about 10 minutes. Stop the mixer once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl. The mixture will start out looking wet and glossy, but as it cools and stiffens, the surface will take on a dull, matte appearance. Add the vanilla and whip for 1 minute.

 

Step 5: Quickly fold in the almonds and scrape the nougat into the prepared pan. Spread out the candy (it will be very stiff and sticky) with an oiled spatula, and top with another layer of wafer or waxed paper (oiled side down). Flatten the surface by pressing firmly with your hands or a clean spatula. Let the candy stand at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight.

 

Step 6: Bend back the edges of the pan to loosen the nougat. Remove the waxed paper, if used (leave the edible paper in place), and turn the candy out onto a cutting board. Use a sharp, sturdy knife to cut the nougat into 1-inch squares. Store between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

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