How to Make Chocolates at Home
Chocolate is one of the most popular comfort foods there are. Plus, the darker the chocolate the better it is for you.
It is quite simple to make your own chocolates at home, and you can be as creative as you like.
The first step is to decide on the type of chocolate you want to use. It is recommended to start with melting chocolate wafers, which are available in craft, grocery and department stores. They are available in a variety of colors as well as white and, you guessed it, chocolate. Note: do not purchase the wafers if there is any discoloration, such as white spots on chocolate wafers. This is a sign the chocolates may be stale, so pay attention to best-before dates as well.
For an easy start to chocolate making you may want to purchase some plastic chocolate molds, which are generally available in craft and larger department stores. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and are very simple to use. They will last for several years if taken care of. Keep them out of direct sunlight, do not use bleach on them and be sure the chocolate is not too hot. It is also recommended not to use dish soap for cleaning them, but sometimes it just needs to be done.
If you will be using white chocolate wafers and want some color, do not use a liquid food coloring as it will not mix well with the wafers. Paste food coloring is available and works well. Flavor may also be added to the chocolate wafers, such as mint or almond. Use only a drop or two as any more will interfere with the chocolate properties and you will not have a smooth mixture to work with.
Now the fun part - the actual making of the chocolates. You will need:
- small glass bowls - dessert bowls work great
- chocolate wafers
- food coloring (paste)
- paint brushes
- plastic spoons or popsicle sticks (I found the baby spoons to work excellent, as they could be put in the microwave during melting and were easier to use when putting the chocolate into the molds)
- plastic molds
- Place about a half cup of wafers in a glass bowl. It is best to melt the chocolate in small quantities, especially when you are just learning how to do it.
- Melt in the microwave, starting with 20-30 second increments. Microwaves vary, so shorter times is better than too long. If you don't have a microwave (or don't want to use one) you can set the bowl of wafers in a pan of hot water.
- Mix until just melted as you don't want a lot of air bubbles in the chocolate.
- Gently spoon the chocolate into each mold, tapping the mold on the counter when finished. This will eliminate any air bubbles you may have.
- If just beginning, use single colors to start. As you improve you may wish to paint some colored chocolate in the molds first (ie: green for the leaves in flower molds), then add the main color.
- Set aside to cool; you may put them in the fridge if you want to reuse the molds within an hour or so.
- When cool, invert mold on waxed or parchment paper and tap on the counter. They should fall right out - if they don't you will need to cool them a little longer.
- Store in an airtight container in a cool spot. It is advisable to separate each layer of chocolates with a sheet of waxed paper to keep them from sticking together.
As you become more familiar with the chocolate making process, you can experiment with fillings, various colors and 3D shapes. Making chocolates at home is a lot of fun, and they make excellent gifts as well.
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