When there are things to celebrate, alongside cake, chocolates are very much the order of the day. So given that Only Crumbs Remain turned two today, I thought we'd celebrate with chocolate! Though not any box of mass produced shop bought chocolate! We're talking homemade ones here, specifically Hazelnut & Caramel Chocolates! They're similar in may ways to Quality Street's The Purple One, apparently the most popular chocolate in their selection!
But first, the handmade chocolates. Delicious hazelnuts, enveloped in a luscious homemade caramel, encased in a creamy milk chocolate shell! I ask you, what's not to like!
Now, I have to admit that these chocolates aren't exactly perfect. BUT, considering that these are my very first attempt at making this type of homemade chocolate, as well as caramel, and at tempering chocolate (yup, a triple whammy of trying something new!), I'm more than happy with how they've turned out. Mr E was particularly impressed having consumed three in quick succession, and this is the man who doesn't ordinarily eat chocolates!
So, how did I make these handmade Hazelnut & Caramel Chocolates?
Well, dare I say it, relatively easily - assuming you have the right equipment! That's where our giveaway comes in useful! (More of that very soon!) The chocolate moulds were washed and thoroughly dried. Tempered milk chocolate was poured into the mould. The excess was tipped out, leaving the moulds lined with a lovely layer of milk chocolate. The mould was set aside allowing the chocolate to set. The empty chocolate shell was then partially filled with a homemade caramel and half a hazelnut (a whole one seemed too big for the mould's size). Tempered chocolate was then poured over the top of the mould again to create the base of the chocolates. The excess chocolate was then scraped away. The handmade chocolates were then put aside to completely set and firm up before being turned out and devoured!
How to make caramel.
Well, as mentioned already, this was my first time at making caramel. I'd always been daunted at making a caramel sauce, which is oh so perfectly yummy drizzled over ice cream or used within a delicious cake. Having consulted my recipe books and Google I noted that there seemed to be two different ways to make it. Basically, one used water and the other didn't. The water allowed the sugar to dissolve before being heated and allowed to colour before the cream was added, whereas the other method sees the sugar heated in a pan on its own, a more difficult technique. I suspect if you were to consult a pastry chef about the virtues of both methods, they would always make it without water.
But being slightly short of time and not wanting the sugar to burn on the base of our pan I employed what seemed to be the easier method and used a little water to help dissolve the sugar (as is shown in this how to video with a host of top tips for making caramel!) And I can actually confirm it was easy! Far easier than I had imagined it to be! Of course caramel is something which requires close watching, but those few minutes of careful monitoring really rewards you with a luscious caramel sauce which is not only perfect drizzled over ice cream, used in a cake but also as a filling for our handmade Hazelnut & Caramel Chocolates!
How to Temper Chocolate.
First of all, having tempered chocolate just the once I'm clearly no expert. But what I would like to say is, having now attempted it, it's actually not so difficult. It's something which can be easily achieved in our kitchen at home with great results.
There's clearly a lot of science behind tempering which concerns 6 different types of crystals in cocoa butter, and if you're interested you can read about here (it's written in plain English rather than science jargon). There are three different methods of tempering chocolate (described in the link above), and the process does require some precision as far as temperature is concerned but don't let that put you off giving it a try, after all, what's the worst that can happen!? With an accurate chocolate thermometer, like the one I have in our Chocolatier's Baking Bundle, you should be able to produce chocolate which has a great shine and snap to it!
If you'd like a quick reference for tempering temperatures, why not pin this information table!
So, here's how to make Handmade Hazelnut & Caramel Chocolates!
surprising not as difficult to make as you might imagine. These
handmade hazelnut & caramel chocolates are just the ticket to
mark a celebration, or just to say 'thankyou'!
Prep time: 5 mins Hands on time: about 40 mins + setting time Yield: approx 15 chocolates
Large heavy based pan, which holds a volume of about 3L
Digital Sugar / Chocolate Thermometer or Thermospatula
1 x glass heatproof bowl
1 x long Sharp Knife
1 x Chocolate Mould
1 x Disposable Piping Bag
For the Caramel and Hazelnut Filling
- 100ml Water
- 225g Granulated Sugar
- 200ml Single Cream
- Blanched Hazelnuts (you may need to half them depending upon the size of the moulds)
For Chocolate Shell
- 350g Milk Chocolate (see note a)
a) The quantity of chocolate used may seem excessive, but it is incredibly difficult to temper a small amount. The excess chocolate could be used in a brownie recipe (for instance) or poured into some greaseproof paper for use another day. b) The temperature of the caramel will determine the thickness of it. We heated ours to 104℃ / 219℉, but just 5 degree less would make it runnier and a five degree more making it almost like toffee. c) Remember, caramel is incredibly hot! Do stir it carefully but thoroughly once the cream has been added so as to avoid splashing yourself. d) Keep animals, children and other vulnerable people out of the way when making caramel. e) The excess caramel could be used to decorate a cake, or even enjoy it over ice cream.