Friday, December 21, 2012

Homemade Chocolates for Gifting


I keep thinking that this is the first time I have ever made chocolates but I have actually made truffles before. I made them a couple of times and rolled them in cocoa powder or crushed roasted nuts. I suppose that counts, even though that was years ago. What I'm about to present are actually my first chocolates using chocolate coating and chocolate molds.

When I was in France this past Spring, I bought chocolate molds. I was much more of a foodie going to France this time around compared to last time, which was two years ago. Then, I came back to Canada and bought more chocolate molds. Lol. I have now accumulated all these chocolate molds and decided the other day that it is now or never. What better time to use them than Christmas, right? Except that I am actually super busy doing other bakes and cooking for the holiday :(

Truffle coated Amedei chocolates with gold sprinkles.

Lindt milk chocolates with roasted pecans.

I may regret the time I lost the past couple of days but the chocolates are done. Phew! Now I can concentrate on the Christmas menu and plan for that. I have a few more batches of cookies to bake and lots of dough to prepare but that is all part of the Christmas menu. I'm hosting Christmas dinner for my whole family on the 24th. As usual, I will be cooking and baking everything myself. If this is going to run smoothly I have to start planning now!

I started making chocolates yesterday. It wasn't an all day thing but there is a lot of waiting time so I started it yesterday. I also did a few other crafts and baking in preparation for next week. I'm gifting some of the chocolates I'm making as well as cookies and other crafts. Don't ask me why I commit to so many projects when I'm always pressed for time. Lol. My Christmas menu only has about 12 things to make too. Don't ask :)

This past Spring when we went to France, we also spent a week in Tuscany. We drove into the so-called chocolate valley and found the Amedei chocolate factory. I was sort of star-struck by the place since they were known to be the best chocolates in the world. When we left, I hoarded a huge bag of chocolates. Talk about splurging. My mother-in-law's one huge purchase from Tuscany was this fancy leather purse. Mine was Amedei chocolates.

I finally got to use my Amedei baking chocolates yesterday. I was a bit apprehensive to use them because I was new to chocolate making and I didn't want to ruin Amedei chocolates. Instead of winging it like I normally do, I actually spend a night watching YouTube videos on making chocolates. I know this is serious stuff! I learned about tempering and I saw how professionals coated their truffles with liquid chocolate. I even found the names of a few chocolate making supplies I will need to add to my shopping list later. Ahem.




Truffles in molds for freezing.

Patience. If you want to make your own chocolates, you need to have patience. It's not particularly hard but it does take time. For my first attempt, I went with straight forward recipes. I made plain truffles using the recipe from my Tartine book, except that I omitted the corn syrup and reduced the butter. I had plans to do tea infused chocolates too but there is no way I have time for that now! The chocolates are pretty much pure Amedei since there is no added sugar and no flavoring. Just heavy cream and butter to make them into soft truffles.

Tempering.




Yes, it was messy!

I bought this cute Christmas mold which I just had to use as well. The problem is that I only had one of them so there was a lot of re-using involved. For the mold I used Lindt milk chocolates and roasted pecans and hazelnuts. Simple chocolates just slowly melted into cute forms :) I actually wanted Lindt white chocolates but ended up buying the wrong bars. Don't you just hate that?! The picture of white milk being poured out on the wrapping always throws me off! This wasn't the first time that happened either. Ugh.

Frozen truffles. Pretty, right?


My finished chocolates don't look half bad. I actually expected them to be uglier. But I was secretly hoping they would be perfect, if that makes sense. I have unrealistic high expectations of myself that I cannot control sometimes :( Then again I'm a User Experience Designer and I can spot flaws in everything. Seriously. There are certainly a few things I could improve on so next time my chocolates should turn out better :)

Have you made chocolates before? How was your experience and was it worth your time? Honestly, if I wasn't gifting these chocolates I probably wouldn't care so much about their appearance. But the whole experience was adventurous and fun :)

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