Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Chocolate, Chocolate, and More Chocolate!

Just FYI, this has absolutely nothing to do with books.:D

Okay, this entry is a little late, but super picture-laden. One of my very favorite Christmas traditions in the Pike household is making hand-dipped chocolates. I learned the basics from my fabulous mother-in-law, and I've kind of gone overboard with it over the last few years. But hey! No one has complained yet that I made too many kinds of chocolates.:) But Carrie Ryan wanted me to take pictures of the process, so if you find the following totally boring, blame her.:D

I'm going to start with my favorite, which is pinoche. (Pin-oh-chay.) (Lots of people say Pin-osh, and they are welcome to, but the recipe we finally found that we liked the best insisted that the pronunciation is pin-oh-chay, and who am I to argue with the most perfect recipe on earth?) Pinoche is a brown sugar fudge that we make really soft so I actually have to freeze it to get it out of the pan and then re-freeze it after I've cut it in order to keep it from dissolving when I dip it in chocolate. Frozen pinoche looks like this:



Then I dip it in melted chocolate and the irregular pieces look quite ugly. But they are sooooo good.



And once they are dipped and thawed, they look like this, with the soft, brown sugar/mapley centers barely hard enough to not drip out. Mmmmmmmmm.



The next easiest is truffles . . . actually, they are probably the easiest. But I like the pinoche the best, so it gets to be explained first.:D Truffles are actually super simple. I think they are best that way. The key for truffles for me, is to use European chocolate. They really melt in your mouth that way! So in my truffles, I use melted chocolate, scalded cream, and a touch of vanilla. That is it. Period.



Oh, and that bowl on top of a pan? That is me being too stubborn/cheap to buy a double boiler. Works like a charm!So I get those three ingredients mixed and I put it in the fridge until it hardens enough to scoop into balls. I have a teeny little scooper just for this purpose!



Then, like the pinoche, I have to freeze them in order to dip them without them melting to pieces in the warm dipping chocolate.:) (I'll show you a pic of them dipped in a second.)

The really tricky part of making chocolates is making my flavored creams. I make them out of fondant from scratch so there is much boiling and stretching.:D Basically I boil the snot out of a mixture of sugar, cream, sugar, Karo syrup, and sugar. Then I lay out parchment paper in 9x13 pans and pour the boiling hot liquid into them.



Usually this works like a dream. This time one of my pans cracked under the pressure.



Then I have to cool it to the perfect temperature. I can't let it get too cold or it will crack, but if I don't let it get cold enough, it won't set up. I'm finally getting a feel for it.

After it is cool, I plop it into my bosch. (You can do this by hand, but it is way, way hard.)



Then I use my dough kneading attachment and stretch the fondant for about ten minutes, at which point it changes. Seriously, check out this before and after. It always excites me!



Cool huh! Then I flavour and color it and scoop it out into perfect little sherbet looking balls!



Then freezing the centers again, so they can be soft inside the chocolate, but hard when I dip them.

And when they are done they look like this! With all kinds of interesting splatters to differentiate between the flavors!



I also dipped several kinds in white chocolate this year, but totally spaced getting pictures.

So there are my chocolates!!! Wish I could give a few to each of you, but pics will have to do.

Ciao!

33 comments:

Georgia said...

You are trying to kill me aren't you? Those look sooooo good!

molly said...

Mmmmmm! Chocolate! I so want to make some now! I may have to try this sometime. Soon.

Reverie said...

0_o


HOly madness woman! I dot think I have ever wanted chocoalte in my life as much i do RIGHT. NOW! SKILS! and they look delicious.. lucky Pike chocolate eaters!

moonrat said...

unnnbelievable work. and sooooooo delicioussss :)

Natalie Whipple said...

Lovely! I'm glad I can't eat them through the screen. My waist line would double.

Daisy Whitney said...

Oh my, the chocolate looks delicious!

mstohl said...

Now you are making me very sad because the only other person I ever knew who made her own chocolates was my beloved GRANDMA ROSS!!!! And she was famous for her turtles and her divinity which I only vaguely remember as white fluffy goop. I miss my Grammy!

Espe said...

Uh.....chocolate....
<----drooling now

JKB said...

Right now I really, really dislike you.

And next year UM, I'll send you my address!! :-)))

XO

lotusgirl said...

Wow. Those look amazing. Yum!

Kristi said...

I want to make these! Can you post actual recipes or are these secret family chocolates? Either way, they look delicious.

Carbonneau said...

Mom made a batch of fondant truffles this year too, and I think I ate UM, lets just say a WHOLE LOT of them while we were at her house. And I ate at least half of the penuche recipe I got from you. No wonder I have to run again to get off a few pounds. :) So good! thanks, and thanks Mom!

Amanda said...

Is there anything you can't do? You are amazing April!

Patti said...

I love making chocolates. I usually do it with my sister and this year I missed that tradition.

Yours look totally scrumptuous.

Heather said...

Oh wow. I think I might have started drooling reading that! You're pinoche recipe sounds so amazing I'm going to have to try it. Wow!

Jeanette said...

I wish you could give a few to me too! They look so good! Thanks for sharing. Now to go find the Christmas stockings, I suddenly NEED some chocolate!

Anna C. Morrison said...

What a project! I am so impressed. I never knew that it was even possible to make stuff like that in a home setting. Looks delicious!

Jessie Oliveros said...

I am so impressed. They look delicious. That looks like a lot of work, maybe more work than writing a book.

Karen said...

Oh my heavens! And I thought I baked a lot this year. I got hungry just looking at the pictures! I'm so glad we don't live next door to each or I wouldn't have lost the six pounds this Christmas that I did (while actually enjoying some holiday treats). :)

Shelli said...

holy moly - you did all that? I just gained 10 lbs reading this.

us said...

MMMMMmmmmmm, very impressive. What don't you do girl? I love the double broiler. Looks just like mine. You made me salivate with that post!

Kari Pike said...

Yummmy! I can't believe how many you made this year! They look beautiful..and I'm sure they tasted even better. Overcooked mine this year...still trying to figure out the altitude and weather adjustments! I forgot how to cook in a place that has real weather!

Maura said...

You have no officially made me crave chocolates :) Do your family eat them all by yourself or do you give them to relatives and friends?? WOW that a lot of chocolate, that must be a lot of work.

Kenny said...

Maura,

When I was in law school, we made little bags and distributed them to my classmates. Sort of a little thank-you for putting up with me. d^_^b We gave a lot to family and friends this year.

I may have eaten half the pinoche.

Laci said...

All this talk of chocolate, I'm making a run to bluebird choclate's in the morning. 8mouth watering*

Jenn Johansson said...

Wow! I am sooo craving chocolate right now. :) those look divine. Mmmmmm

Demon Hunter said...

Those look really good, Aprilynne. I need to learn how to do that. My thing is baking right now. I baked a Sweet Potato Cheesecake and an Oreo cheesecake for Christmas, along with some red velvet cupcakes. They were demolished rather quickly. :-D

Christina Farley said...

I saw this post on another blog and was intrigued! I love chocolate. I was so impressed at how you made all these and the pictures to go with them. Did you eat it all? I might have. :)

Candice said...

That looks more like the results of a chocolate making factory than one woman in a kitchen. Bravo! I'm sure your family loves your chocolate making obsession.

Kristen said...

Those look amazing! I wish I was that talented in the kitchen. My family is lucky if I don't burn dinner every night lol ;)

Kimberly said...

Oh. My.

I cannot afford to learn how to do that. But I'm suddenly seeing my Bosch in a whole new light...

Anonymous said...

um, so planning on blogging at all??

T.W. Fendley said...

AMAZING is the word!!!! Too bad I can't just reach through the screen and grab one of those morsels of heaven.