Candy is one of my favorite things to make. Over the years, I’ve made my fair share of marshmallows, caramel, truffles and toffee. However, where I always struggle is adding chocolate to these delectable treats. It seems like that should be the easiest part- heat up some chocolate and dunk. My experience has not been that simple. Chocolate is a fickle food.
Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of attending a workshop at Rachel Dunn Chocolates in Concord, CA. This class was ideal for me. The fillings were made and the whole class was about dipping. Here are my takeaways:
- Use More Chocolate: You need more than what the recipe requires in order to avoid the scrapping the bowl to cover the final chocolate moment (my biggest downfall). Give yourself enough chocolate to have a good dip by keeping an extra two to three pounds on hand as starter chocolate. Use both the amount suggested and your starter chocolate. When you are done dipping, pour and spread the extra chocolate out on the counter. If you’ve tempered it properly, you can use it as your starter chocolate next time.
- Dip and Flip: When dipping items in chocolate, it felt right to dip and then slide the tool out. This method results in a mess. Instead, dip the chocolate and flip it so that the your tool is on top. It helps give an even coat. Think about the truffles you see in stores with little peaks artfully on the top…yup, dip and flip.
- Stir the Chocolate: Chocolate likes to set. To help prevent it from setting, stir the chocolate. It needs to be stirred from the outside in. However, if the outside starts to set, do not include that area in your stir.
- Be Aware of your Surroundings: That draft in your house? It impacts the chocolate too. Be aware of the temperature changes as you dip. Some methods recommended for the home cook to keep chocolate at the right temperature includes hot pads with linen layering and keeping a warm oven open.
- Thickness Matters: Ok, first get your mind out of the gutter! We are talking about different types of candy needing different types of shells. Consider the filling and what type of thickness would compliment it. For example, a truffle is great with a thin shell. To create the right thickness, tap on the edge of the chocolate bowl to get rid of excess chocolate (more tapping= thinner).
- Cool the Chocolate: This one is a little more tricky. Once you are done with the chocolate, you want it to cool immediately. However, if you are somewhere it is hot, that might not happen. Pop the chocolate into the fridge for a couple of minutes. However, don’t leave it in for too long or you may get a sugar bloom.
Hope these tips help with your future chocolate endeavors. Happy chocolate making!