I am very much an amateur as far as chocolate making is concerned. After attending a class at Cocoa Black in Peebles, I was determined to have a go at making my own version at home. First I knew I had to try tempering the chocolate. As I had only ever seen this demonstrated I knew it would be very much trial and error to begin with.
Let me tell you, I am usually quite a tidy clean cook…but chocolate making tested me in this department. The chocolate was everywhere. I felt like I needed two pair of hands. I found it very difficult at first to hold the thermometer, stir in the additional chocolate, keep the ban marie at the correct temperature and work quickly to fill the moulds, all at the same time. Obviously the more I practiced, the less I felt I had to rush.
The first batch of chocolate shells was a complete disaster ( I was too slow filling the moulds) as the chocolate was setting before I had a chance to turn the mould and empty out the excess chocolate.
Once I felt I had sort of mastered the moulding of the shells, I thought before I go any further I will make the fillings for the shells. I decided on two flavours
Real Ale Truffle ( Taken from a recipe by Paul A. Young. How to make Chocolates purchased from Lakeland) my second filling I decided to make a Strawberry Marshmallow Fondant. (Hopefully this would be OK as it is quite a soft mixture)
Real Ale Truffle
Makes about 40 chocolates
( I only made half this mixture for my trial run. The left over truffle I used to fill the Courgette and Chocolate cake…. See Bakes on my Blog )
125mls Real Ale, beer or stout
100g muscovado sugar
250g 70% or above dark chocolate
Put beer and sugar into a saucepan. Warm until the sugar is completely dissolved. Do not allow the mix to simmer or boil
Pour the beer into a blender add the chocolate and blitz until smooth. ( I actually put it in a bowl and used a whisk to mix until smooth )
To fill shells warm gently and pour into empty shells. OR do as I did and roll into small balls and sit in the shells being careful not to fill above the top of the shell.
This truffle mix can also be rolled into balls and coated with chocolate. I did half filled shells and half coated truffles, which I then decorated with white chocolate ( see picture)
4 large marshmallows
75g icing sugar
Strawberry chocolate flavouring ( I sourced mine from Lakeland)
Put marshmallows and water in a microwaveable bowl. Put in microwave on full power for 30 seconds until marshmallow has melted
Stir to check there are no lumps then add 50g of the icing sugar and mix to form a soft pliable dough. (You may need to add a bit more icing sugar if the paste is sticky)
Tip out onto work surface and add about 5 drops of the flavouring use the remaining icing sugar to to prevent the paste becoming sticky as you knead the flavouring into the paste.
Wrap in cling film until you are ready to fill the chocolate shells
To fill the shells tear off small bits of the paste roll into small ball and place in shell being careful not to overfill otherwise the filling will seep out of the bottom of the chocolate when you add the base.
To make the Chocolate Shells
(I made 22 chocolates from this but I still had some left over once the shells had been completed. This can be used again if stored correctly)
300g dark chocolate (I used Callebaut nibs)
Sheet of grease proof paper
Put 200g chocolate into ban Marie and melt to 45 degrees
Take off the heat and add the remainder nibs a few at a time, stir. Continue tondo this until you bring the temperature down to 30 degrees.
Pour the chocolate into the moulds to fill each shell
Tip mould upside down onto grease proof paper, allow the chocolate to drain out onto the paper
Scrape the excess chocolate from the top of the mould using a spatula then put in fridge to set for about 30 minutes.
Once set, fill the shells with the truffle or fondant
Tip the chocolate from the grease proof paper ( it will have set but will release easily from the paper) into the ban marie and follow the tempering instructions again.
Put in fridge to set at least 30 minutes
Once set the chocolates should release from mould when up turned onto a clean surface.