Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Chocolate Snowflakes: Make your chocolate creations extra special this holiday season!

Are you planning to make chocolate gifts this year? Or supply your office with something scrumptious for the annual holiday party? Well if so, don't forget that delicious things need to look good if  you want people to eat them!

I found a few simple baking items at HomeSense, Canadian Tire and other home goods retailers that have really added a pop to my chocolates this year. 

For instance, festive silicon moulds, such as the Snowflake mould by Birkmann that I bought at HomeSense last year, do not have to be used for baking or freezing. They can be used for chocolate!

I did all sorts of things with my snowflake pan.  First, I used it as a mold for my rustic Brazilian bean-to-bar chocolate.  Then, I made white chocolate bark with almond and coconut in the shape of snowflakes instead of spreading the bark on waxed paper (this recipe will be posted later today).

I also made peanut butter meltaways with crispy rice crunch (those were the most delicious treats EVER, I have to admit).  And finally, I made GIANT milk chocolate peanut butter truffles in a white chocolate shell.  Using soft silicon was not easy for making the chocolate shells, since you have to flip it upside down to let the chocolate drip out, which doesn't work so well with silicon, but somehow I did it! I only made four of them, but they are so big that they will be decadent gifts.

Tips to make chocolate snowflakes (any flavour: dark, milk or white) with silicon baking pans or cupcake moulds:

1. Wash and dry the pan or mould.

2. Carefully buff the pan with dry, soft cloth or paper towel to remove any markings from dried water drops.  This will ensure you have shiny chocolate creations.

3. Be sure the pan is cool to the touch when you pour the chocolate into it (do not leave it on a warm surface, or your chocolate will go out of temper when you pour it into the pan).

4. Melt and temper chocolate according to my tempering instructions (see here and also at the "How to Temper Chocolate" link at the top of this blog page).  Stir in any ingredient inclusions (such as almonds, coconut, raisins, candy cane) as soon as the chocolate is in temper and then immediately pour into your moulds. Immediately bang the moulds on the counter to remove any air bubbles from the bottom (for silicon pans, place the silicon pan on a baking sheet and bang the baking sheet, otherwise it will flop all over the place).

5. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes. Set the timer to remind yourself (the fridge can have humidity that will affect the chocolate if left in too long).

6. Pop out of the moulds carefully onto a clean surface.  Wait until they come back to room temperature to seal in a container or package in treat bags.  

Stay tuned for recipes later this week for the chocolate snowflakes pictured above, and tips and recipes for making festive chocolate bark!