The art of chocolate. So delicate that it might seem like a daunting task… and well it may be. But, here on this blog I will attempt to show you how it’s done.
Chocolate is something that is precise. People say baking is an exact science, and cooking is more flexible. That is true. But chocolate is almost a mixture of the two. On the one hand it is very precise. The temperature of your chocolate has to be closely monitored at all times. Whereas the fillings and some ingredients can be played with and mixed.
Truffles, truffles, truffles. Truffles filled with chocolate, white or brown. Jam, marshmallows, fillings of peanut butter, vanilla or honey! There are so many combinations that it is almost endless!
Today we are making Pralines. Pistachio marzipan covered in chocolate, and topped with a candied hazelnut / pecan.
Here we go!
Here is what you need (I’m only noting the out of the norm utensils and ignoring things like pot, bowl, spatula…:
Cookie Cutter – at least an inch deep, and should be bit size.
Sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
Almond paste 8 oz
Corn Syrup 1.5 oz – add more if needed
Powdered sugar-sifted 1/2 pound
Pistachio paste – 1/2 cup. Can be made by blending in a food processor, pistachios, corn syrup, and honey.
Semi sweet chocolate 1/2 pound
Home Candied Hazelnuts / pecan – skinned 150 oz. If for some reason you need to skin them here is a link to how. (Just letting you know that this is a pretty time-consuming task…)
Here is how to candy the hazelnuts:
Boil 1/4 cup water and 2/3 cup sugar to 114 degrees add the Hazelnuts and stir until of a caramel color.
It should look like this:
Step one: Make Marzipan
Wearing gloves – it’s sticky. Mash it all together. Keep going. If it looks like cornmeal then add two tbsp more corn syrup. Keep mixing. Once a loose dough is forming, start to knead to a smooth dough. Over-kneading is going to excrete oil from the almond paste … so don’t over do it!
Now time to add the pistachio paste! Knead until fully green! Moo hoo ha ha ha… jokes jokes.
Time to roll it out. Roll out to 3/4 of an inch thick. Make sure that it is the same thickness the whole way through.
With a cookie cutter, carefully cut out cylinder shapes. Make sure to dip your cutter in powdered sugar before cutting. When taking the dough from the cutter, spin the dough-filled cutter as you lightly press to keep the shape.
Step two: The hard part! AHH cue suspenseful music. The chocolate!
Chocolate is a little tricky.
Have you ever opened a new bar of chocolate and seen light brown streaks on it? Well that means that the chocolate wasn’t tempered correctly (other reasons such as storage conditions or shipping conditions are also possible).
To make sure the chocolate doesn’t do that and shines, we must be exact on temperatures.
First: Melt your chocolate down and remove from the double boiler.
Second: With a thermometer, measure the chocolate. It should be higher than 90 degrees. next, slowly stir in some finely chopped chocolate – just like 1/4 cup. Stir until melted. You are trying to get the chocolate down to 82 degrees Take the temperature again. If it isn’t at 82 degrees then keep adding chocolate 1/4 cup at a time until it reaches 82.
Third: The hardest part – this goes very fast. Make sure to be taking the temperature the whole time. Put your 82 degree chocolate back on the double boiler, mix. Once at 90 degrees, remove from heat.
Now we can start the fun part! Although don’t get too happy, because you need to make sure that your chocolate is within 86 -90 degrees while you are using it. If it falls below, then you need to take it down to 82 again and then up to 90 in other words repeat the process again.
With a fork in hand, cover a marzipan cylinder in chocolate. Sit it on a fork, and tap the side of the bowl of chocolate to get the excess off of the bottom. This is so that you have a nice shape at the bottom and not a mess of chocolate.
Put a candied hazelnut / pecan on top!
And there you have it you’ve just made chocolate!
Serve to your Thanksgiving guests I bet they won’t know that they are homemade!
Winter fun! Hot coco! Scarves! Links to fun new winter boots and more!
Ta ta for now,