Sunday, September 12, 2010

Cheryl's Chocolates: Three Chocolates, Two Mints, One Delicious Creation

I have a friend who recently went through a rough time with sick relatives and too much work. She kept talking about how she needed chocolate, and I asked her which flavor she liked mixed with chocolate best. Her reply: mint. So, project mint chocolate began. You might remember the crème de menthe white chocolate ganache that I made, and the mint-infused milk chocolate ganache that I made the next day. These were the building blocks for the creations that I now call “Cheryl’s Chocolates.”

First, I shaped the mint-infused milk chocolate ganache into a rectangle.

Then I topped that with the crème de menthe white chocolate.

That had the innards of the chocolates taken care of. Now, for the couverture: Scharffen Berger 70% cocoa bittersweet chocolate.

I chopped it without eating too much. And I stopped to admire the temper, which Scharffen Berger has down to a science.

I want to point out that this time, I melted the chocolate properly – e.g. not over direct heat, like I do for cakes and cookies. Couverture is too delicate to risk scalding, and there’s no extra cream or butter to gloss over imperfections. So I heated the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water, like a good little chocolatier.

Now it’s important to cover the chocolates properly, and dealing with the courverture is just part of that. I started by dividing the big rectangle of ganache into four equally-sized pieces to make it easier to work with.

Then I painted one side of each piece with the melted bittersweet chocolate so that it would be better structured for dipping.

In order to properly partition the blocks into chocolate pieces, one needs good tools. Tools like a good knife, a ruler, a bowl with hot water, and paper towels.

You use the ruler and knife to score the rectangles so that you end up with pieces that are about the same size.

Then, to make sure the chocolates are sliced well, you dip the knife into the hot water so that it warms up and slices through the ganache seamlessly, but wipe it off with a paper towel first to ensure that you keep water out of the ganache, as that would cause the melted chocolate to seize.

The result? 70+ squares of double-mint ganache ready for dipping.

To make the dipping easiest, I work with two forks. One goes in the chocolate, the other stays out. Drop one piece into the melted chocolate, with the pre-covered side up.

Use the in-chocolate fork to flip it over so that both sides and all edges are covered. Pick the piece up with the fork and shake off the excess chocolate.

Use the non-chocolate fork to slip the piece off the dipping fork and onto parchment paper to cool. You’ll wind up with a bunch of nice-looking and delicious-tasting chocolates.

Three kinds of chocolate. Two kinds of mint. One awesome creation. All for you, Cheryl!


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