Finally to the Chocolate part of my blog!
I love all the sweet gooeyness that is Valentines Day. I even love all the gimmicky, tacky store bought presents that fill the stores, especially because they are in bright shades of pink and red! This my second year making a buffet of chocolately goodness. I kinda went crazy last year during the blizzards, spending all the hours I wasn't shoveling, making mouth watering confections. Believe it or not, I scaled back this year by not making any cupcakes or cookies.
I learned how to make molded chocolates from my step-mother Margie who is a wiz at candy making. She would make the most fancy treats at Easter time, including large bunnies and baskets with bows, all in varying colors. I am just a beginner next to her but I am learning!
This year we (me and my trusty hubby) made 12+ plates of treats. We made peppermint patties, chocolate covered strawberries, peanut butter hearts, orange chocolate truffles, marshmallows, chocolate raspberry creams, chocolate covered caramels, and coconut joys... Things are pretty dishevelled around here now because this year we actually had to go to work and make chocolates... I really didn't want to shovel feet of snow, but I could have used a snow day this week.
I make it sound hard, but if you just pick one or two candies to make, its quite easy. Molded candies are a bit tricky, but ones that are hand dipped are fun to make and you can make a lot of them quickly.
If you want to try your hand at making chocolate candies, I would suggest starting with something like the peppermint patties. The recipe I used is from Epicurious and is a good start, but I think I will tinker with the recipe to make it more moist. The chocolate is Chocoley's Bada Bing Bada Boom Dipping and Enrobing Formula. This chocolate melts easily, is easy to work with and doesn't require tempering, which I don't have the patience to deal with yet. Maybe someday I will get a tempering machine so I can use the decadent couverture chocolate...mmmmmm
So anyway, you make this super simple peppermint dough with confectioners sugar, shortening, corn syrup and peppermint extract and then roll it out and cut it with a cookie cutter. We used a small heart shape but you could use almost any small shape. Our hearts were a little big and got a bit soft when we dipped them. If your pieces are big too, freeze them for about ten minutes before you dip them so they stand up better to the heat of the melted chocolate.
Now, get in the kitchen and make your sweethearts something sweet!
Sweet Charity ;-)