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  1. How to taste chocolate like an expert

    The title of this blog post might sound a bit strange. I mean how complicated or difficult could it be to taste chocolate? You just munch on it, and that it! About 25 years ago I would have thought the same, but after working with chocolate for the last two decades, I will let you on a secret! Chocolate has so many subtle flavours, and the taste develops as you taste it, and it certainly matters how you ‘chomp’ on it! So, let me share with you how to taste chocolate like an expert.

  2. Why do you need to temper chocolate

    This is a question I often get asked by my students at my Chocolate Courses. It’s a fair question. Tempering chocolate is quite complicated process, and it can be very frustrating if you think you’ve tempered your chocolate enough and you end up with a bloomed chocolate bars. Don’t worry; I’ve been there too!

    So, why melting your chocolate is simply not enough?

    If you just melt your chocolate without tempering it properly, you’ll end up with a chocolate that will bloom (you’ll get white streaks and lines running across your chocolate, when it finally sets). It will also take a long time to set and it will melt very quickly when you touch it. It’s not going to make a ‘snap’ when you break your chocolate bar and it will even taste slightly grainy. Saying that it’s perfectly safe to eat chocolate that hasn’t been tempered properly, but the look is not great, and the texture won’t be probably as smooth as if you temper your chocolate well.

  3. Chocolate Truffle Making Tips

    When I run my chocolate making courses, I get often asked questions about chocolate truffles and working with ganache. So in this chocolate blog post I wanted to look at commonly asked questions and give you the answers with simple solutions.

    But first of all, if you don't know how to make delicious chocolate truffles at home you can check out this recipe. Now that you have made your first batch of homemade chocolate truffles we can start with the questions!

    Chocolate truffle making tips

    How do you keep truffles from melting?

    The best way to prevent your chocolate truffles from melting when you are working with them is to wear catering gloves and form your chocolate truffles first with your fingertips and then roll them gently in your palms to finish shaping them into a smooth ball. It’s also useful to chill your chocolate truffle mixture before you work with it (1-2 hrs is fine or overnight if you have the time).

    When you finish making your chocolate truffles, chill them for a few hours and then store them in a room temperature (anything around 18 C is ideal).

  4. What temperature does chocolate melt at?

    Generally speaking chocolate starts to melt from 30 to 32 C, just a little bit lower than your body temperature (that’s why chocolate tastes so good, when you melt it on your tonque!). But the exact melting temperature depends on the content of the chocolate you are melting (or try not to melt!).

    Before we go into the scientific explanation of chocolate melting, what you probably want to remember is that white chocolate melts at the lowest temperature, milk chocolate somewhere in the middle, whereas dark chocolate takes the longest to melt.

  5. How to make chocolate truffles with digestive biscuits

    These chocolate treats were popular in British schools home economics or cooking classes towards the mid to end 20 century. There were cheaper versions of the grown-up chocolate truffles and were easy for children to make during the school class. I’m assuming that this recipe was developed after the second world war when real chocolate was still rationed, expensive and very difficult to come by. While a lot of war time food rationing shopped after the end of the war a lot of food items continued to be rationed well until the 1950s. Chocolate was rationed until 5th of February 1953 and sugar until September 1953. That is why this recipe originally uses only drinking chocolate as the only source of chocolate, and the sugar element comes from condensed milk. Fresh cream, which is what chocolatiers use mostly to create chocolate truffles these days, was far too expensive and not everyone had a fridge to keep it in. Since digestive biscuits were invented around 1839 by two Scottish doctors, it’s likely that this school truffle recipe is originally Scottish too.

    Digestive biscuits were invented to help to aid digestion, and they are probably a a little bit healthier than other types of biscuit. They would also be cheap to buy and easy to crumble into the recipe mix.

    I’m also guessing that the original recipe wouldn’t include butter, as it would add to the cost of the recipe. You can easily leave it out, if you like, just adjust the amount of the biscuits (you will need more than stated in the recipe or omit the desiccated coconut to even out the wet/dry ingredients).

    The desiccated coconut is also a later addition, making the recipe extra yummy, but of course adding to the cost.

    If you want to make this recipe on a budget, you only need three ingredients — tin of condensed milk, pack of digestive biscuits and cocoa powder.

    I would suggest using cocoa powder instead of the drinking chocolate powder (the original recipe has this, because of the cost). The cocoa powder will, of course, give you stronger chocolate flavour, and these days it’s probably not more expensive than a good drinking cocoa powder.

    Before you start making this chocolate truffle recipe, I have to warn you, that these school truffles are very sweet and totally addictive. Once you make them, you’ll know!

    So, how do you make truffles with digestive biscuits? Here is how:

    Ingredients

    Large pack of plain digestive biscuits (about 400g)

    1 tin of condensed milk

    125 g of unsalted butter

    2-4 tablespoon of cocoa powder or drinking chocolate

    125g desiccated sweetened coconut

    Topping

    Chocolate sprinkles, desiccated coconut or cocoa powder

    Melt the butter first and leave to cool down a bit. Break and crush the digestive biscuits. The best way to do this is to place all the biscuits in a large ziplock bag and use a rolling pin to crush them.  Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl, add the condensed milk and butter. Mix gently until you have a good consistency. Scoop out a heaped teaspoon of the mixture and roll in cocoa powder or a topping of your choice. Leave to set in a fridge for a couple of hours and enjoy!

    These school truffles are best enjoyed within a week of making, and you can store them in a fridge in an airtight container.

    Now, that you’ve made these chocolate truffles with digestive biscuits, what do you think? Do let me know in the comments below and if you would like to make some more chocolate truffle recipes you can find them here, together with chocolate truffle making tips.

    Until the next time, happy chocolate making!

    Magdalena