My darling husband surprised me this weekend by booking a romantic escape for two nights up in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. It’s a long weekend, part of which is to be spent in front of a log fire in our own little wood cabin, nestled in one of my favourite parts of the world. It’s a beautifully romantic spot and I’m all geared up for it…babymoon here we come!
Does anything say romance than a few nights away from it all…and a box of chocolates? Mind you the non-alcoholic bubbly will be coming along with us too (I tell you its just as good as the real deal) and plenty of these...
You will need:
A chocolate mold of some sort (unless you mean to make truffles)
Good quality chocolate for the cases
Any of the following filling ingredients.
What to know before starting:
Its worth getting good quality chocolate for your chocolate making adventure. Your chocolates will only be as good as the quality of the chocolate you begin with. Never rush the melting process. A good way to ensure even melting and avoidance of burning, is to have a bowl of boiling water sitting underneath another bowl containing your chocolate. Be sure the bowl containing your chocolate cannot fall into the water as this will curdle your chocolate.
Use of a pastry brush to obtain a good even coating of the bottom and sides of your chocolate mold is ideal. Place these chocolate shells into the freezer for quicker setting time and do not remove until you have filled them with the desired filling and sealed with a finishing layer of melted chocolate. Return to the freezer until set before removing.
EASY FILLINGS FOR MOLD CHOCOLATES:
An easy and quick way to fill chocolates is to make up some flavoured icing. Using icing sugar, food colouring and essence of your choice, mix with a small amount of water until you get a desired consistence. Fill the pre-made chocolate shells and seal with a layer of melted chocolate. The now flavoured, gooey centres with thicken slightly on setting and will look gorgeous upon biting!
USING LEFTOVER SWEETS AS A FILLING
Left over sweets such as cake are a lovely alternative filling, and a surprising one for the recipient. Moisten broken cake with a little cream and spoon into the chocolate shells. Seal with a finishing coat of melted of melted chocolate to finish and remove after further refrigeration.
CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES (can also be used as a chocolate filling)
250g dark chocolate, finely chopped
1/3 cup cream
Bring the cream just to the boil in a heavy saucepan. Remove from heat and add the chocolate to the cream. Beat until the chocolate has melted and both ingredients are well combined. Place in the refrigerator until firm, approximately 1-3 hours.
You can use as a filling in prepared chocolate cases, finishing them off with a layer of melted chocolate to seal the bottoms. Alternately, you can use a melon scoop to make into ball shapes and then freeze until firm. You have lots of options such as coating in melted chocolate and decorating, or rolling them in cocoa powder, crushed nuts, coconut etc depending on your tastes. You can also add a flavouring such as peppermint essence to the ganache before refrigeration for a variation. Small chunks of apricot, nuts or mints also make interesting additions to your ganache.