The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley,Sage,Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies! This was a special challenge for the Daring Bakers because the good folks at http://www.chocoley.com offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!
We were required to make two candies
The first candy must be one of chocolate where we learn to temper chocolate. One must be a truffle, dipped or not dipped in chocolate. The second candy can be chocolate or non-chocolate candy of our choice.
I chose to make chocolate and coffee truffles for the tempered chocolate and chocolate covered cashew brittle for the other candy.
Tempering chocolate is a method of heating and cooling chocolate in order to use it for coating or dipping. Proper tempering gives the chocolate a smooth and glossy finish and will have a crisp snap and will not melt on your fingers as easily as improperly tempered chocolate.
1 3/4 cup Dark/Bittersweet Chocolate, finely chopped
2/3 cup Heavy Cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp instant coffee granules
Making the ganache for the truffles.
Finely chop or grate the chocolate. Place in heatproof bowl. In a saucepan, heat cream until just about to boil ( it will start bubbling around the edges of the pot). Pour the cream over the chocolate. Gently stir the mixture until all the chocolate has melted and it is smooth.
Allow the ganache to firm up in a container of choice, preferably deed rather than shallow. using a teaspoon or melon baller, scoop up room temperature ganache. With gloved hands, roll the balls to round them off. Dip in tempered chocolate, or roll in various ingredients like cocoa or chopped nuts as desired.
Tip: If dipping in tempered chocolate, it’s best to refrigerate the ganache balls before dipping so that they are firm and don’t melt from the warm chocolate.
Finely chop chocolate if in a bar/slab form ( about size of almonds)
Place about 2/3 of the chocolate in a heat proof bowl
Set aside 1/3 of the chocolate pieces
Place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure bowl does not touch the water)
Be sure bowl fits snugly so no steam can form that will fall into your chocolate.
Using a rubber spatula, gently stir the chocolate so that it melts evenly ( Do not use metal or wooded spoon)
Once it’s melted, keep an eye on the thermometer, as soon as it reaches 113 degrees farenheit, remove from heat if using dark chocolate you can be in the range of 113 to 122 degrees farenheit (milk chocolate and white chocolate are at 113 degrees)
Add small amounts of the remaining 1/3 unmelted chocolate and stir in to melt
Continue to add small amounts of chocolate until you’ve brought the chocolate down to 80.6 degrees farenheit for milk chocolate or white chocolate or 80 to 82 degrees farenheit for dark chocolate.
Put it back on the pot of simmering water and bring the temperature back up to its working temperature of 89.6 degrees farenheit for dark chocolate, 86 degrees farenheit for milk chocolate or 84.2 degrees farenheit for white chocolate. If you have any pieces of until melted chocolate left stir them into the bowl over the saucepan until melted but you have to be sure you do not get the chocolate over the working temperature noted above
Once you have the chocolate to working temperature, it is tempered and ready to use.
Verdict: I did it, maybe it was beginners luck but the chocolate tempered perfectly and the truffles were nice creamy coffee and chocolate filling with the crisp outer shell. I will definitely temper my own chocolate from now on instead of melting chocolate chips.
Cashew Brittle in the Microwave
1 tsp room temperature butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup salted peanuts or cashews ( I used cashews)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 tsp salt
Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with foil and spraying liberally with non-stick cooking spray.
In a large microwave safe bowl, combine the nuts,sugar,corn syrup and salt. Stir until it looks like wet sand. Place in microwave and heat on high for 4 minutes.
Remove from microwave, stir mixture and place back into microwave. Heat on high for 4 more minutes.
Remove from microwave, add the butter and vanilla. Stir to mix and then place back into microwave and heat on high for 1 minute.
Remove from microwave. Stir in the baking soda. It will get real foamy and then pour mixture into prepared pan. Spread to edges if needed. Let cool and then break into pieces. I covered my brittle with the tempered chocolate that I had let over from the truffles.
Verdict: The brittle was real dark, I don’t know if it was because of the cashews but it tasted more like a toffee that regular brittle and with the chocolate on top. Perfect, I will keep working on these to perfect not getting so dark. The tempered chocolate was perfect touch.
Now that I am on a sugar and caffeine high from all this chocolate and coffee I guess I will go see what else I can make in the kitchen! 🙂 Until next time sending you all a “yellowrock”