Tempering is a method
of melting and cooling chocolate. It gives chocolate a shiny luster and
that great "snap" you hear when you break the candy into bite-sized pieces.
not only produces some delicious results, it's also an opportunity to
learn a little science. Temperature plays an important role in the candy-making
process. Different fat groups in chocolate have different melting points.
The tempering process stabilizes the cocoa butter (fat) crystals found
in chocolate so that they become more uniform in size.
There a several ways
to temper chocolate at home. We've selected one of the easier methods.
Angela Arzave, Pastry Chef of EOS restaurant in San Francisco, showed
us a simple method and some great ways of making chocolate candies and
Ingredients & Tools
-- (12 oz or more) A special type of chocolate used in patisserie
and confectionery (it means "to cover" or "to coat"). Couverture,
which you may be able to find in a gourmet food store, flows more
readily than chocolate found in candy bars. If unavailable, use
a good-quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate with a high
cocoa butter content.
- Metal bowl
-- The metal bowl needs to fit on top of the saucepan
- Cooking thermometer
-- Angela recommends an "insta-read" or a chocolate thermometer.
- Rubber spatula
- Fork or candy
forks -- Candy forks, available at gourmet cooking shops, work
best, but a regular fork will do
- A cookie
sheet lined with parchment paper or foil (if you use foil, make
sure to keep it smooth). The pros use a marble slab; if you have
one, use it.
Ingredients & Tools
- Fruit --
Strawberries and bananas work great, but you can also use slices
of apples or pears.
-- Small balloons can be used to create "chocolate cups"; you'll
also need a hat pin to let the air of the balloon.
To Do and Notice
Before you begin, see the sidebars on the next page to decide what type
of candy you'd like to make. You'll have to prepare the ingredients before
you start tempering the chocolate.
Make sure your ingredients, tools, and work environment are completely
dry during the entire process! Even a small amount of water will turn
your smooth liquid chocolate into a sticky, lumpy mess. Also be sure that
your kitchen is not too hot. The room's temperature should be 70 degrees
or lower. Now you're ready to begin.