Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Chocolate, Chocolate everywhere!

There's something special, I think anyway, about giving (and let's be honest, receiving) hand-made surprises at Christmas-time.  My mom has handmade chocolates for about as long as I can remember.  The real deal.  I'm talking, tempering the finest dipping chocolate, meticulously rolling cherry chocolates (or cordials) in fondant and then hand dipping each little creation, one by one in the (cross fingers) melted chocolate that is the correct temperature. And believe me, you can taste the difference between what comes out of our kitchen vs. the bargain mart. I won't even eat the cherry cordials you can buy at the store; I've become a cherry chocolate snob and only homemade perfection will do vs. cloyingly sweet, sub-par candy.  Meh, it happens.

I've joined in the process the last few years so that I can glean all the wisdom I can from my mama, as nothing tastes better than some really good chocolate candies.

We took several boxes of the good stuff down to our annual family party (drove five hours packed to the gills with my kids and my sister and her kids and all our gear).  My Uncle told my mom that he savored each bite of the cherry chocolates, trying to make, what is really a one bite treat, into as many as he possibly could.  They are that good.

Here's what the process looks like...

I bought this stabby jabber to break the chocolate into chunks.  Previously we used a chef's knife, plunging it again and again into the giant bar of chocolate...I am pretty grateful nobody lost a vital digit during this process.  Stabby jabber...much better.

 All the pretty cherries fully covered in fondant.

Because we're fancy, we tried to pre-make bases this year for the cherry chocolates to keep the gooey stuff from leaking out the bottoms...It kind of worked.  We'll try again next year and do a better job.

These are my dipped chocolates.  Look, don't judge.  It's much harder than you think it is, and the puddles at the bottom are the look I was going for, anyway.

 My mother's.  Whatever.

We're tempering the chocolate.  That's a big chunk of un-melted chocolate in the bowl of the melted.  It's all about crystals and temperature when you melt chocolate.  Our dark chocolate turned out really pretty...the milk...we may have been in too much of a hurry and didn't lovingly keep it at the proper temperature at which point you get what is called bloom.  It's where some of the milk solids come to the surface and instead of having glossy gorgeousness, you get a kind of cloudy sheen.  Still good, just not as pretty as it could be.

See, our thermometer and seed chocolate (that's the big chunk that helps with the crystalization of the melted chocolate). 

We also made Peanut Butter Truffles with crispies and flaked sea salt as a garnish as well as the yummiest coconut candies EVER!

And this is the final result.  Everything lovingly packaged in boxes and tied up with bows to be sent on their merry way.

Get home-making this Christmas!

Heather

7 comments:

  1. OMG I can't tell you how delicious these are! (Of course, you already know that.) You're SO right about the cherries...I can't eat the store-bought ones, but these were divine The coconuts were my absolute fave tho. And that's quite an accomplishment since I'm a HUGE peanut-butter-and-chocolate gal. The coconut still won. Oh yum.

    xoxo
    -andi

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  2. I thought I had every kitchen gadget known to man...but I don't own a stabby jabber! LOL! They all look wonderful and I already know about your mad magic cooking skills! Now I know where you got them from!

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  3. Stabby jabber. Usually recipes hint at some ingredient or tool that immediately intimidates me. Stabby jabber does not :). But to be completely honest, I could never make this delicious chocolates. I'll just drool over yours.

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  4. I would never, ever, ever judge your dipped chocolate. I wouldn't want to risk a stabby jab, lol. But seriously, if your mom's choco-dip is a 10, than yours is an 8 or 9 for sure. Keep a dippin, cause it looks like you've got the hang of it;D these look decadent, by the way !!

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  5. OMG Is there anything you can't do? When I go to the mall, I ask the candy guy there to marry me all the time....I don't think he speaks english though as he just smiles and nods while he uses his stabby jabber. But you speak english....will you marry me?

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  6. My MIL makes homemade candy too, and it is so good. I've never had homemade chocolate covered cherries though. Yum!

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  7. I love home-made treats! They taste so much better. I'm a chocolate snob as well!

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