There is something soothing about chocolate! The way it lingers on the spatula when you temper it, the way it coats your products or its taste, they all are mesmerizing in a way than any other ingredient is not. Chocolate is probably the most versatile of the ingredients used in pastry, one that has so many uses and offers so many possibilities that it’s impossible to gather them all in one place. From a very serious entremet to a creamy hot chocolate, from a shiny glaze to a donut dipped in melted chocolate, they all benefit from the amazing taste of chocolate, from its color and aroma.
Now, working with chocolate is definitely not something many people master. Melting and tempering are two tasks I’ve been avoiding quite a lot of time simply because I was afraid of ruining ingredients, afraid of the technique itself which is said to be challenging. Which it is, but it can surely be tamed, you can surely learn how to make it ok each and every time.
A good quality chocolate has a nice shine and a proper snap when broken into pieces, but most of all, it doesn’t melt to the touch. Instead, it offers a nice eating experience, melting slowly in the mouth, offering a proper tasting experience to everyone eating. A chocolate that hasn’t been tempered has none of the above – no shine, no snap, it easily melts at room temperature, it leaves fingerprints when touched and it melts in a greasy, weird mass when eaten. So it’s crucial that once you melt chocolate, you temper it before using it furthermore.
Tempering, as fancy as it sounds, refers to rearranging the fat cells in chocolate so that they crystallize at room temperature, hold their shape, become glossy and break with a snap. This rearrangement can be done in many ways, but we will be talking about seeding today.
Seeding seems to be the tempering way preferred by many people, particularly people who work at home who have little space available or don’t have a marble to temper on. Seeding can be done with a bowl, a spatula and a microwave – that’s all it needs! To start seeding, begin by melting 2/3 of your chocolate in a clean bowl in the microwave. A bain-marie can be used as well, but be careful as the temperature in a double boiler can rise quickly and burn the chocolate. Keep the remaining 1/3 of chocolate to use as seed. Chocolate comes tempered from its manufacturer and that means it has mostly good crystals in each composition. We need those crystals to act as seeds in our melted chocolate so they begin to multiply and chain to each other to form a proper structure in the chocolate.
Once melted, start adding the remaining chocolate, mixing well after each addition. A blender can be used for this step to ensure a proper distribution of the unmelted chocolate. The unmelted chocolate will balance the temperature in the melted chocolate and the continuous mixing will help the crystals form.
Once the chocolate is tempered, a whole new world opens up for you! Bonbons, bars, decorations and so much more can be made with tempered chocolate. It’s something that every pastry chef should know and do, that’s for sure.
The point of this entire talk however, is to introduce you to this fun way of making hot chocolate. It’s the season, isn’t it?! The cold days and night and the early dark make me wanna snuggle up in bed all the time – a cup of hot chocolate and something to chew on would be a dream coming true! But with one of these hot chocolate lillipops, I’m definitely one step closer to that perfect picture! Made with milk chocolate and spices, these lollipops are so fun to make and use! Here’s how you do it: heat up a cup of milk to the boiling point, pour it in a mug then dip a lollipop in the hot milk and swirl it around until the chocolate has fully melted and the flavor of the spices come through. What you get is a sweet, delicious, fragrant drink that makes a perfect little treat for the entire family!
- Milk chocolate, as needed
- Lollipop sticks
- Spices: star anise, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, whole cloves, vanilla pods
- Pour the tempered chocolate in small round silicone molds.
- Wait until the chocolate begins to crystallize then place one lollipop stick in the center of each molds.
- Top the chocolate with your favorite spices and allow to fully crystallize.
- Use in hot coffee or milk.
Iata cum a mai trecut un an si ne gasim din nou in saptamana dinaintea Craciunului, incercand de zor retete, framantand cozonaci, construind casute de turta dulce si realizand o multime de alte minunatii dulci ori gandindu-ne la cadourile pentru cei dragi. E o perioada aglomerata din toate punctele de vedere, asa incat nu am sa va incarc si mai mult cu retete complicate. Incep astazi o serie de mici dulciuri ce pot fi realizate repede si usor si care in mod cert isi pot gasi loc in cosurile de cadou pentru cei dragi.
Prima reteta din serie face referire la aceste acadele pentru ciocolata calda de care m-am cam indragostit caci arata tare simpatic si produc o ciocolata calda excelenta! Nu aveti nevoie decat de ciocolata cu lapte (cred ca merge si neagra dar bautura nu va mai fi dulce), condimente intregi si lapte fierbinte!
Dar haideti sa incepem cu inceputul si sa va spun ca inainte de orice trebuie sa temperati ciocolata. Nu e suficient doar sa o topiti si sa o turnati in forme caci o ciocolata topita si netemperata nu mai cristalizeaza cu luciu, nici nu se mai rupe cu sunetul specific, punctul de topire e mult mai jos ceea ce inseamna ca va lasa urme pe degete si nici gustul nu mai e cel care trebuie. Exista multe metode de temperare, dar va voi vorbi deocamdata doar despre una dintre cele mai simple metode pentru uz casnic: insamantarea. Numita seeding, aceasta metoda presupune topirea a 2/3 din ciocolata de care aveti nevoie pana la 45C, apoi adaugarea restului de ciocolata pus deoparte, putin cate putin, pana cand acesta se topeste complet. Ideea e ca 1/3 din ciocolata, cea ramasa netopita, va introduce cristale bune in ciocolata topita, readucand astfel ciocolata la starea ei initiala (luciu, sunet, topire).
Odata temperata ciocolata vi se deschid noi posibilitati de aplicatii: bomboane, tablete, decor. Ce va propun eu astazi insa este sa va inarmati cu forme de silicon (pentru muffins am folosit eu), bete de plastic pentru cake pops (sau frigarui de bambus) si condimentele preferate: batoane de scortisoara, anason stelat, cuisoare, cardamom, coaja de portocala etc.
Turnati ciocolata temperata in formele de silicon – umpleti-le doar pe jumatate. Asteptati ca ciocolata sa inceapa sa se cristalizeze (sa se inchege), apoi asezati cate un bat de cake pops in centru si decorati cu o stea de anason, cateva cuisoare ori alte condimente preferate. Lasati sa cristalizeze complet, apoi scoateti din forma.
Pentru servire, umpleti un pahar cu lapte fierbinte. Introduceti o acadea in lapte si amestecati pana la topirea completa. Sa aveti pofta!