So many celebrations often call for a lovely box of chocolates; birthdays, thank you's, Valentine's day, and of course Mother's day. It's so easy to pop into a shop and select a lovely box of chocolates, but just imagine how special the recipient would feel if you'd made those chocolates yourself! You would certainly earn some brownie points if you were to make a few handmade chocolates.
And before you disappear thinking that it's beyond a regular home baker, hang around for a little longer and trust me when I say it's really not that difficult to do! These homemade Hazelnut Noisette Chocolates are only my third attempt at making handmade chocolates, the first being a batch of hazelnut and caramel chocolates which I made to mark my blog's birthday.
Since making them I've been struck by how relatively easy they are. My Dad even commented that they were really good. So good in fact that he said I could even think about selling them! High praise indeed from a Yorkshire man! And that was just after my third attempt!
Now, I say that making handmade chocolates is relatively easy - and it is - but there are a couple of pieces of essential equipment that you will need before starting. The equipment, listed below, isn't expensive and you're likely to have the first item already in your kitchen. Because the chocolate needs to be tempered, which demands control over the temperature, the equipment gives you that control allowing you to monitor the state of the chocolate. Tempering chocolate isn't something you need to do when making a brownie or ganache, for instance, but it is desirable when styling chocolate shards, collars, decorations and of course chocolates like these Hazelnut Noisette Chocolates. I must confess that I don't really understand the science behind it, but the process of tempering produces a chocolate with a lovely shine and snap to it which is just what you want when making handmade chocolates.
So, what equipment do you need when tempering chocolate?
- A Bain Marie. This is essentially a water bath and can easily be created with a glass bowl and pan. The bowl rests on top of the pan (which holds a small amount of water), and the bowl should be large enough so that it is suspended in the pan without touching the water. A bain marie provides a gentle controlable heat perfect for melting and tempering chocolate.
- A Chocolate / Sugar Thermomenter. I've been using a silicone Thermospatula which I sourced from Lakeland. It's essentially a spatula and thermometer combined, and so is perfect for stirring the chocolate whilst simultaneously monitoring the temperature of the chocolate with a digital display, just like the one I used with our Hazelnut & Caremel Chocolates)
- Chocolate Moulds. These are what the chocolate is poured into to create your chocolate shape. They are widely available and come in a range of shapes. At present time I have only used the silicone moulds which are soft and allows the chocolate to be easily pushed out once set, but I believe the more expensive rigid polycarbonate chocolate moulds are very good.
These delicious Hazelnut Noisette chocolates, which my parents seriously rated, came about after conducting a little survey in our Rafflecopter giveaway (via the giveaway mentioned above). I'd asked entrants what their favourite Quality Street chocolate was. It came as no surprise that The Purple One (hazelnut and caramel) came out as the most popular, but hot on the heals of that was The Green Triangle, which Quality Street call Hazelnut Noisette!
So here is our handmade version of the The Green Triangle, a rich milk chocolate ganache containing crushed hazelnut pieces housed in a tempered milk chocolate shell!
So, here's how to make Hazelnut Noisette Chocolates
chocolate hazelnut ganache encased in a tempered milk chocolate shell
are the perfect edible gift.
Prep time: 5 mins Hands on time: about 45 mins + setting time Yield: approx 15 chocolates
Digital Sugar / Chocolate Thermometer or Thermospatula
1 x glass heatproof bowl & pan to create a bain marie
1 x long sharp knife
1 x Chocolate Mould
1 x Disposable Piping Bag
For the Hazelnut & Chocolate Ganache
- 25g Blanched Hazelnuts
- 70ml Double Cream
- 80g Milk Chocolate
For Chocolate Shell
- 350g Milk Chocolate (see note a)
8. Make the chocolate ganache. Chop the hazelnuts either in a food processor or, like we did, with a sharp paring knife. Avoid turning the hazelnuts to a powder, you're aiming for them to be in small pieces. Use a sharp knife to break up the 80g chocolate into small pieces. Place it into a bowl. Pour the cream into a small pan. Set over a low heat on the hob. Once hot, though not boiling, pour it over the prepared chocolate. Stir thoroughly until it is smooth, shiny and completely combined. Add the chopped hazelnuts and mix. Set aside to cool a little. 9. Fill with the chocolate ganache. Once the chocolate in the mould has completely set and the ganache has cooled put half of the ganache into a piping bag (no nozzle required). Cut off the tip of the piping bag. Pipe the hazelnut ganache into each of the chocolate moulds so that they are no more than two thirds full. 10. Cover with more chocolate. Reheat the remaining chocolate over the bain marie until it reaches 30℃ / 86℉. If the chocolate hasn't completely melted at this point, or the temperature goes above 30℃ / 86℉ re-temper it as before. Spoon some of the melted chocolate over the ganache. Ensure that each chocolate mould is completely covered. Use the sharp knife to scrape away the excess. 11. Set aside. Set the chocolates aside to firm up. Consider popping them into the fridge for a few short minutes, though too long can cause the chcolate to bloom due to condensation. 12. Turn out. Once the chocolate has completely set turn the chocolates out. Wiggle the silicone mould to gently loosen them. Position the mould upside down over a clean tea towel or piece of kitchen roll. Gently push one of the silicone shapes to remove the chocolate. Repeat with the remaining chocolates. 13. Enjoy!
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) You will have excess hazelnut ganache. Consider allowing this to firm up and then rolling small quantities (about a teaspoon amount) to create truffles.