Wednesday, December 15, 2010
But first, a few introductory instructions. . .
KNOW YOUR CHOCOLATE: There are generally 3 different types of chocolate used in home candymaking: 'real' chocolate, compound coating, and chocolate chips.
'Real' chocolate is made from cocoa butter and requires tempering when melted. Tempering is an exacting process that can take up to an hour to do by hand. It involves bringing the chocolate to 3 different temperature points during the melting process so as to create the proper crystal structure at the molecular level. Chocolate that is not properly tempered will dry with a dull finish and gray streaks. Chocolate that is properly tempered will dry with a clear sheen and will have a nice snap to it. 'Real' chocolate can only be flavored with oils (not extracts) and with special chocolate-specific food coloring (which works only on white chocolate). We're keeping it simple with these recipes, so no tempering will be required!
Compound coating is artificial chocolate made from a vegetable oil base rather than from cocoa butter. It melts easily (but can still burn, so be sure to melt slowly over low heat). It is much less temperamental to work with than 'real' chocolate and does not require tempering. Just melt and go. It comes in a wide variety of colors and is most often sold in little disks or buttons. Wilton is the commercial brand of compound coating most widely available, but Wilton-brand compound coating is lower-quality and has an artificial taste.
Mercken's is a mid-end chocolate supplier that offers a higher-quality, better-tasting compound coating. (Mercken's also manufactures 'real' chocolate, so be sure you're getting the right thing). I recommend using Mercken's--widely available through online suppliers--in the recipes featured here.
Chocolate chips often have wax and other additives that interfere with the melting process. Do not use them in the recipes featured here.
project blog and you'll see for yourself a glimpse at a few of her many talents. In real life she also happens to be very thoughtful, generous, kindhearted, and sweet. Thank you Jenny for taking the time to create these beautiful (and delicious) posts.
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