Raising the Chocolate Bar

Raising the Chocolate Bar with John

To celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Day fab Foxhill Chef, John Broughton, went on a social media search for a local business in need of some TLC (tender loving chocolate).

He has since delivered a bundle of beautifully hand-crafted chocolate bars (amongst other chocolate goodies) to the lucky winner’s door.

But now, he will be sharing his choccie know-how with you all, showing how you can make these sweet treats at home.

From adding bright and bold colours to your bars, mastering melting to adding fantastic fruity flavours he will be showing you how to achieve confectionary perfection.

Willy Wonka watch out, over to you John!

Magical moulds…

First and arguably the most important part of getting the moulds ready is to polish them.

To do this make sure they are extremely clean and dry, this is crucial as any water left in the moulds will ruin your chocolate.

Once dried, using cotton wool pads, polish the inside surface of the moulds and be careful not to touch it afterwards.

Creating colours…

If you’re keeping your choccies plain and simple, don’t worry about this section, simply carry onto making your chocolate.

I find it easier and more consistent to buy pre-mixed coloured cocoa butter, but you can make your own if you’d like.

Take your time with this process, if you do it incorrectly your chocolate colours will appear dull and won’t shine (and no one wants that!)

To prepare the cocoa butter ready for painting you’ll need to heat it in a tub that has a secure lid. I heat mine in the microwave, with the lid off, in 10 second bursts until it is between 40-50 degrees.

Once at the right temperature, secure the lid and shake well and leave to cool. Once the mix has cooled to around 35 degrees shake until it reaches 31 degrees, it will then be ready to use.

If for whatever reason the cocoa butter becomes too cold it will set, just repeat this process to make it workable again.

Once your colours are ready, this is where the fun begins…flick, paint, blob or spay whatever colours and designs you wish into your chocolate moulds. Make sure to let one colour set before adding another, otherwise they will run and mix together.

Time for the chocolate…

Tempering chocolate sounds scary to a lot of people, but it can be done easily at home and there are quite a few methods you can try. However, I find the below method the easiest and most consistent…

It uses Mycryo which sounds fancy, but essentially it’s cocoa butter that has the right crystals in to temper your chocolate (pretty cool right?!) Mycryo can be purchased quickly and easily online.

So firstly, in a bain-marie melt 700g of milk chocolate to 45 degrees, then remove from the heat.

Next add the remaining 300g milk chocolate and stir well until completely melted and it’s has a smooth consistency.

Keep stirring the chocolate until it reaches 34 degrees, then add 10g Mycryo and stir until dissolved and the chocolate is ready to use.

Voila perfectly tempered choccie!

And finally…your filling…

The possibilities really are endless when it comes to filling your chocolate bars, from fantastically flavoured fruit gels to chewy caramel, my personal favourite is dulce de lech.

There are just a few things to remember when picking your perfect filling, don’t go too runny otherwise it will make sealing your bars near impossible.

Secondly, make sure your filling isn’t too hot when you pipe it into the chocolates, otherwise this might turn your brilliant bars into a melted mess.

Once you have chosen and prepped your filling, it’s time for the tricky bit…putting it all together.

Firstly, gently warm your moulds with a heat gun or hair dryer ( be careful not to heat it too much or your colours will start to run).

Next ladle some chocolate into the moulds, keeping the mould level until all the slots are full.

Then gently tap the edge to release any air bubbles from the chocolate.

Once all the air bubbles are gone, tip out all the chocolate back into the container and tap the side of the mould again to release and excess chocolate. Then place upside down onto parchment paper on a level side for 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes turn the mould upright and scrape off any excess chocolate.

Once the chocolate is almost set (this should take around 20 minutes), start to pipe in your filling (make sure it isn’t too hot or it will melt your chocolate).

Don’t fill the moulds too full or you will have trouble sealing them later, ensure you leave a little rim at the top when filling.

Once filled gently tap the moulds on the surface to expel any air and level the filling out.

Now ensure your chocolate is still workable, you may need to just warm it with a heat gun (be very careful not to warm too much or it will lose its temper and you’ll have to do it over). Ladle the chocolate over the mould once more ensuring that you hold the mould straight, gently tap the side and scrape away any excess chocolate.

Leave to set in a cool dry place, preferably overnight.

When set, turn out onto a clean, dry surface.

Then it’s time to tuck into your choccie treats. Enjoy!

Show us how it’s done John…

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