It's getting close to that time of the year again, Valentine's day.
Since last year's post was a wee bit bitter, I'll provide some actual sweets for your sweetheart over these next few weeks. Starting with these raspberry and rose flavored chocolates (appropriate, right?), only bitter for their use of rich dark chocolate.
Raspberry and bittersweet chocolate is a common combination in the candy making universe. However, add a little rose oil (or rose water) and you have something very unique and delicious. The raspberry ganache centers in these chocolates finish with a wonderfully fruity-floral rose note without being perfumey.
As an added bit of fun, I'm going to teach you all how to turn your chocolates (or any chocolate) brilliant gold. (No pesky gold leaf required)
Let's start with the fruit. I know local raspberries are not in season yet but I survive the cold Seattle months with freezer full of fresh fruit purée from the previous year's farmers market. If you pantry is light on fruit, don't worry. Frozen and fresh imported raspberries can almost always be obtained year round at your local supermarket.
However this summer when you see your local farmers with a glut of fresh inexpensive berries, you know what to do, right? Blend those wonderful berries with a touch of sugar, strain and then freeze that juicy slurry for the dry months ahead. Not only will your local farmers love you, it's economical and those purée's will come in handy year round for baking and candy making.
Now let's get down to the chocolate making. I don't have many photos of the process itself, since I started these at midnight last night--Hey, I'm pregnant! When the rare burst of energy hits me, I go with it.
You'll need a couple tools to make these molded chocolates: molds of your choosing, gold pearl dust and a soft bristled paint brush. This should be a brush that you use for food only, not one borrowed from your watercolor kit (eww!). For those looking for the specific tools I used, you can find the heart shaped truffle mold here and the gold dust here. A little dust goes a long way, so one small container should last you years.
I frequently use pearl dust in my baking to give cookies, fondant and cakes a little shimmer (remember that NASAVoyager record cookie?) but it also paints beautifully onto chocolates. Edible glitter will also work, but I find luster or pearl baking dust adheres to chocolate far better.
Red Rose Chocolates
from Making Artisan Chocolates
yields roughly 28 chocolates
2 pounds (906g) 64% bittersweet chocolate, melted and tempered
Raspberry Rose Ganache:
5.25oz (147g) 64% bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped.
3 tablespoons (42g) heavy cream
2 teaspoons (14g) light corn syrup (or inverted syrup)
1/4 cup (42g) strained raspberry purée
1 tablespoon (14g) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon (14g) salted butter, cubed and softened but not melted
2-4 drops of culinary grade rose petal oil or rose water
To Finish The Chocolates:
8oz (224g) 64% bittersweet chocolate, melted and tempered
*These truffles, like many homemade candies, contain perishable ingredients and should be stored in the refrigerator until the day you wish to eat them (up to about two weeks). Allow the chocolates to fully warm to room temperature before eating for optimal taste, texture and mouth feel.
Start by tempering the chocolate. This is a very important step. It goes beyond just melting the chocolate and will give your candies a crisp snap, glossy finish, and allow them to release from the mold easily. It also prevents your chocolates from melting instantly on contact with warm fingertips.
There are many guides to tempering chocolate: Ghirardelli has a guide with video here, and there is a fairly simple tempering guide using the microwave here by candy maker Jacques Torres. For advanced coursework on tempering chocolate, including how to avoid fat and sugar blooms, and false tempers the Making Artisan Chocolate book is very handy.
Fill your molds with the tempered chocolate. Knocking out the excess with the back of a chef knife (or wooden spoon if you're not feeling dangerous) and allow the molds to set-up upside down on a wire rack. Once the chocolate has firmed up a little you can scrape the excess off the top of the mold with a chef knife. Once the shells are completely dry and set, they will be ready to fill with the raspberry rose ganache.
To prepare the ganache, place the chopped chocolate into a medium sized bowl.
Combine the cream, purée, corn syrup and sugar in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat stirring constantly. Once it reaches a rolling boil, pour the cream mixture evenly over the chocolate and allow to stand for 2 minutes without stirring.
Once two minutes has passed, stir slowly to incorporate the ganache. Once the mixture has cooled to 95°F you may add the butter and rose oil/water, stirring gently to combine.
Fill a plastic bag with the ganache and cut off a corner. Pipe the ganache into your prepared molds, filling each shell 3/4 full. Tap the molds on the counter to release any air bubbles. Allow the chocolates to sit out overnight, lightly covered so the ganache can fully dry and set.
The next morning, you can finish the chocolates, sealing with more melted tempered chocolate. Scrape off the excess chocolate and level the surface of the mold with your chef knife. Allow the chocolates to completely set before knocking them from their molds.
To paint your chocolates gold, simply dip your brush into the gold pearl dust and apply it to the chocolate. Once your candy is evenly coated, brush off the excess to leave the chocolate with a smooth glossy finish. (The gold dust adds no texture or flavor to the chocolate, so if that's something you were concerned about, no worries.)
I also tested if ganache could be rolled like a simpler truffle, once allowed to setup over night. However the ganache is a touch soft (more appropriate for a molded chocolate center), so keep that in mind. Or alternatively, you can try dipping the rolled ganache into tempered chocolate for a classic style truffle.