Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Homemade Chocolates with Sugar Filling

Every week there's at least one food picture I find online that makes me say, "I HAVE to make that!" These Easter Egg Peppermint Patties were it this week. I thought it'd be fun to try my hand at making my own chocolates- specifically, my own peppermint patties! But, as I tend to do with most of my desserts, I made a few different variations...

As I've mentioned, the baking store down the street is also a major inspiration. I have WAY too much fun in there. I found rows and rows of chocolate molds. I had to hold back from coming home with more than these:

I also picked up a few more flavoring extracts:
Flavoring extracts: an easy way to add variety! Just make sure to use a dropper and small amounts- these are potent!

And then was ready to become a chocolatier! 
Recipe adapted from the Wannabe Chef's Easter Egg Peppermint Patties
Makes about 24-30 chocolates (depending on size; these are rich, so best to keep 'em on the smaller size!)

  • 1 bag Enjoy Life chocolate chunks
  • 2 and 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1.5 Tbsp agave syrup (see notes- can use less, but with more water)
  • 1.5 Tbsp water
  • Scant Tbsp coconut oil, just melted
  • Flavoring extracts of choice: peppermint, marshmallow, champagne (my favorite!), raspberry 
Mold for the fish chocolates, and the finished fish!

  1. Mix together the sugar, syrup, water, and coconut oil with a hand mixer on low. If you are only using one flavor extract, add that in now and mix in as well (1 tsp peppermint extract or other type of bottled extract; if you are using one of the flavor oils, which are incredibly potent and can come off tasting very sweet, use a dropper to put in 4-6 drops. You can always add more to taste). If mix becomes a little clumpy, pull together with a fork until you have a paste/dough. Use your hands to form a ball. If using multiple flavor extracts, divide into as many balls as flavors you want - I halved the paste, and then halved one of the halves, and added 1/2 tsp to the larger amount, and to the others about 3-4 drops of each of the champage and marshmallow flavors in separate bowls. Knead or mix to get the flavor throughout the paste. 
  2. Roll the paste into the filling size you want for your chocolates. I got out my molds and formed long ovals (for the peppermint easter eggs), thin lines (for the marshmallow fish) and little balls (for the champagne domes). Make sure you make the paste shapes smaller than the actual mold's wells, since you need to leave room for chocolate all around. Store in the fridge for about 30 minutes to allow to harden. 
  3. Melt the chocolate chips over a double boiler, stirring constantly. When thinned and completely melted, use a small spoon or other utensil to coat your chocolate molds. You want a thin coating on the mold; if your chocolate is thin enough, you can pour off the excess. Clean the outer sides of the mold. Store in the fridge until hard (about 30 min).
  4. Once the chocolate has set, place the sugar paste inside each mold, and fill around and over with remaining melted chocolate. Allow to set in the fridge (about 30-40 minutes), and then gently invert; the chocolates should pop out relatively easily - if they seem to be sticking too much, put 'em back in the fridge for a little longer. 

I'm glad I experimented with a few flavors, since they all came out well! The peppermint ones did taste just like peppermint patties! The molds I used made for a fairly thick patty, though- my fish were just the right size, given how sweet and rich these were. Next time, I may use just 1-2 tsp of agave syrup and add a bit more water instead, since the flavor extracts also add a fair amount of sweetness. My favorite flavoring extract was the champagne- while I can't say I could identify it as "champagne-flavored" in a taste test, the flavor mixed perfectly with the chocolate and sugar, and made for a sweet, somewhat fruity bite. Speaking of fruit, I was also thinking of filling these with cherries or a raspberry filling. Or, try using shredded coconut or dried fruit!

Note that the chocolate on these doesn't stay perfectly stable at room temperature. After about 20 minutes sitting out, they got a little sticky to the touch - they didn't melt, but we all had chocolatey fingers at my dinner party this weekend. So you can freeze them and eat them right out of the freezer- which makes them almost like a bon bon. Or, try and temper your chocolate- apparently, you can do this if you melt about half the chocolate, and chop the rest into tiny pieces; then, simply add the pieces to the melted chocolate, mix a little bit, and pour immediately. I think you can also use pre-tempered chocolate (I don't know if Enjoy Life is, but judging by our fingers, I'm guessing not) - this is something I still need to learn more about! Of course, the easy way out is to just freeze them, or make sure you don't leave them sitting around.

This was a fun experiment! Too bad these suckers didn't last long in our house...

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