Eat your heart out

Yes, I do realize this is a bit late for V-day. Which is kind of funny, as I was attempting to get everything done so that I could get this post up before V-day. Oh well. I figure I’ll share it with you anyway because these chocolates were pretty kick-ass.

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Making your own chocolates is actually pretty easy – all you need is chocolate, really, and whatever filling/random items you want to add to it. I use Dove dark chocolates for a few reasons – I find dark chocolate a bit easier to work with when tempering because it takes form nicely, and seems a bit less finicky than milk chocolate; it was also an amazing price at Grocery Outlet, which made me very happy.

I’m still getting used to tempering chocolate. It seems that my first batch or two turn out really nicely, but when I go for more than that I either become less vigilant about the temperature and stirring, or I attempt different things and they go all sorts of wonky. Mikal and I ended up talking a lot about this particular batch of chocolates, and my difficulties with time management and project management in general. One of the things he suggested was attempting smaller batches of chocolates and confections so that I’m not wasting or making him eat such large amounts of fail on my way to getting my technique down.

An additional tool I discovered in an old catalogue from Matfer Bourgeat would be totally awesome and would help me make smaller batches more easily:

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The one thing that has been keeping me making larger batches has been that the new thermometer I bought has a sensor about an inch from the tip – this is a vast improvement from about two to three inches from the tip, but it still requires quite a bit of liquid in order to accurately gauge temperature. With a spatch that has a thermometer in it, I wouldn’t need nearly as much liquid, and I could make smaller batches for testing purposes. I would love to get my hands on one of these.

Mikal recently acquired a new lens for the camera, so we ended up taking quite a few shots trying to get acquainted with the different focal points. It has a wonderfully shallow depth of field, but it is very different from the lens we received with the camera. I don’t have the camera in front of me so I won’t try to say which lenses we have. Anyway, I’m used to having to get about four inches away from my subject for a macro shot of any decency; with the new lens I don’t have to get that close – in fact it’s a very bad idea.

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This is the back-side of the dark-chocolate almond bar I made. I used almond slivers because my mold isn’t deep enough to accommodate whole almonds.

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A front view of the bar.

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My first attempt at the bar, along with wrapped bars.

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I managed to procure this particular candy mold a couple of years ago, and I love it. I have found, though, that dark chocolate is quite hard to take a picture of and get adequate detail. In case you can’t quite make it out, those are about as anatomically correct of hearts as one can make with chocolate. Well, as one can make with a chocolate mold. These are filled with raspberry creme filling.

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And for some not-so anatomically correct hearts filled with peanut butter.

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More experiments with the camera. It was fun, but somewhat infuriating.

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Along with these items, I also made a bunch of chocolate shells filled with whipped cream and strawberries. Those were a hit 😀

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