In the last post, I made it clear that I wasn’t a fan of Valentine’s Day (other than the fact that feasting for moi-self is allowed) and the most ironic thing was, the couples I knew weren’t even doing anything to celebrate it. It is totally agreed upon that the whole (I won’t even call it a festival) ‘event’ is simply a construction of contrived social imagination. As much as I dislike the fuss and the hype, the commercial exploitation of it all, I do love the fact that it’s a day where I can eat pretty things (like the cupcakes aforementioned) and not feel guilty about it at all.
Chocolates are so clichéd. At least for Valentine’s day.
But when would I ever make chocolates anyway? Might as well just put all my whining in a bag and throw it away, enjoy myself making them instead, no? And if I was envious of anybody about anything, it wouldn’t over my dead body be the fact that these smug couples were coupled up at all. Really,the issue lies in what they were cooking and eating to celebrate the day. So here, I messed about to make these chocolates for myself, friends and colleagues. Not beautiful. Not perfect. But you don’t gotta be with someone to be able to feast! And eat chocolates. And if you’re single, you don’t have to settle for a giant Cadbury’s bar that’s selling for a quid from Tesco. Honestly, I’m quite glad I attempted chocolates and de-virgined my new silicone chocolate mould.
I had fun making these, with a couple of heart attacks from failed samples and broken chocolates. Whilst photographing this in a hurry before rushing to work, I dropped my chocolates and broke quite a few of the good ones. Scared the daylights out of me, got depressed about the ones that died on the kitchen floor but very pleased that the ones which made it into the mouths of friends were finely appreciated.
The last time I made chocolates, I was a kid. My elder sis A and I had been given little plastic moulds, brushes and edible paints one Christmas I think. Our chocolates were pretty crude and garishly painted but we were so proud of them. Thinking back on those proud chocolates, I wish my sis and I (this time with C my younger sis) will make chocolates soon together some time. Hopefully when I’m a little more skilled and have completely mastered the art of chocolate-making (she says. pffft).
I had quite a few failures. Having 5 researches going on at once, CNY dim sum lunch planned, work at AA and this dumb romance drama I was all worked up about really had my head going full speed at all directions. Confused and totally not with it was moi this weekend. That really showed up in my chocolates. I also needed a brush to paint the chocolate mould, about 2 layers after setting each in the freezer for a minute or two to get the chocolate casing even but all my paint brushes (used to paint back in the days) were at home. I was slightly unprepared but made do with my MAC lipbrush. Probably the funniest thing I’ve done all week but it sorta worked. In addition to that, I had a bit of a problem with my chocolate candy melts solidifying too quick in my icy cold kitchen. So some came out with uneven surfaces, air pockets, cracked surfaces which were too thinly painted. But soon realized that a 10 sec microwave blast of my candy melts before each use made for a smooth, glossy and easy-to-work-with chocolate candy.
Gotta say these may not look like much, but they tasted pretty good. I’d probably swap milk chocolate candy melt for dark chocolate in the future. I’m just not that big a fan of milk chocolate and I’d probably have my rhubarb ganache a little more tart since I love sour flavours. But that’s just me. The taste testers thought the ganache was just right and luckily enough, they only got to see the good chocolates. You guys unfortunately get to see the rough ones that didn’t make it into the pretty box photographed in a hurry before rushing to work. Oops. Nevertheless, hope the weekend went by beautifully for everyone! More feasting on its way as it’s still Chinese lunar new year for another 14 days and Shrove’s Tuesday tomorrow. Hip hip hurray.
How to make these chocolates:
- milk chocolate candy melts
- chocolate mould
- filling of choice
Depending on how many chocolates you’ll be making, the amount of candy melts needed will differ. I purchased a 300g bag of candy melts and found I used about 1/3 for 20 chocolates.
Follow directions for melting the chocolate (normally a 1 minute full power blast, followed by a quick mix with small whisk or fork. Then series of 10 second blasts followed by mixing until completely melted and smooth).
Wash and clean chocolate mould. Ensure the mould is completely dry and dust-free before using. Some recommend cleaning it til glossy to get the professional smooth finish. I was too lazy to and so suffered the consequences!
Fill 1/4 of each mould with melted chocolates and working quickly, paint the sides up with chocolate. Place in freezer for about a minute or two to set. Then paint one more time thinly with chocolate so the insides are smoothly covered. Some of mine weren’t properly coated which meant ganache filling oozing out in strange places. Place in fridge to set the 2nd wet layer.
Remove from fridge. Add ganache to fill about 3/4 of the way and then pour melted chocolate over to seal the chocolate completely. Ensure that the sides are sealed and wipe off any excess that spills over onto the mould surface. Leave in fridge to set for 30mins or more.
If using a silicone mould, gently press out the formed chocolates. Successful ones should have no cracks, oozing ganache filling and visible air pockets on candy surface.
White Chocolate & Rhubarb Ganache
- 255g white couverture
- 1/2 cup extra thick double cream
- 1/2 cup rhubarb sauce (see below for recipe)
Break up white chocolate in bowl.
In a small saucepan or milkpan, heat the cream until small bubbles begin to form. Remove from heat and pour over broken chocolate. Leave for 5 mins then mix with a rubber spatula until melted. Add the rhubarb sauce and gently fold in.
Leave in refrigerator for about 1-2 hours until well set. Remove, mix again before using.
- 1 package fresh rhubarb, washed and chopped
- 2 tbs butter
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- pinch of ground ginger
- 2-3 tbs caster sugar, or to taste
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter then add the rhubarb to sauté. Once it softens, add the sugar and spices. Mix with wooden spoon and lower heat to simmer until it attains a sauce-like consistency.
If sauce is still too tart, sweeten to taste. Serve with pancakes, in pancake batter, with toast, etc. There are so many ways to serve this. Reserve sauce can be stored in jam jars in the fridge for about a week.