Fill the saucepan 1/3 of the way with water and heat to almost a
boil. You want the water to be steaming hot, but don't let it boil.
Get out your couverture. If it is not already cut up, cut it into
small pieces of equal size.
Put 2/3 of the couverture into your steel bowl and place the bowl
on top of the sauce pan. It's important to make sure that water
never directly touches the bottom of the bowl. The chocolate should
slowly begin to melt. Try not to disturb the chocolate during this
process. A few stirs with a rubber spatula near the end of the process
should help mix the melted chocolate.
As the couverture melts, monitor the temperature with your thermometer.
The melting temperature of the chocolate will vary depending on
the manufacturer, but should not exceed 115 degrees. As soon as
the chocolate has melted, remove the bowl from the saucepan. Use
a towel to wipe away moisture from the bottom of the bowl. This
will prevent any water from finding its way into the bowl. Water
will separate the chocolate and can ruin the batch.
Place the bowl on a table and add 1/3 of your remaining chocolate
to the bowl. Stir until the introduced chocolate completely melts.
Take another third and repeat the process. Monitor the temperature
of the chocolate as you mix it. You should notice the temperature
drop to around 100 degrees, and then closer to 90 degrees. Take
the remaining third of chocolate and place it in the bowl.
Using the rubber
spatula, mix the chocolate until all of it is completely melted.
If the chocolate is not fluid enough, place the bowl over the hot
water for a few seconds and stir. Then remove from the heat and
wipe the moisture off the bottom of the bowl.
You're now ready
to use the melted chocolate to create candies (see the sidebar for
some simple procedures). Check the temperature one more time. If
you used dark chocolate, the temperature should be between 85 and
90 degrees. If you used white or milk chocolate it should be around
85 or 86 degrees.
Fruits and Nuts
The process for creating chocolate-covered fruits
and nuts is pretty simple. Cut the fruit into small sections and
put aside. Make sure the fruit is clean and dry (remember, water
will cause the chocolate to separate). Take your cut fruits and
nuts and dip or dunk them in the chocolate. Using a candy fork (or
a regular fork), pull them out and place them on a lined pan. Refrigerate
for 5 to 10 minutes and then remove them from the pan. They're ready
For this procedure, you'll need balloons and a hat
pin. The balloons will help you make cup-shaped chocolate "bowls,"
and you'll use the hat pin to let the air out of the balloon. (Please
be very careful with the hat pin--it would be very dangerous if
it fell into the chocolate.)
you begin the tempering process, you'll need to blow up a number
of small balloons to about the size of coffee cup. Take your blown-up
balloons and dip them halfway into the melted chocolate. Make sure
the "tied" side is up. Swirl the balloon gently around to produce
an even coat. Then lift the balloon slowly to let some of the excess
chocolate drip back into the bowl.
the balloon on a lined cookie sheet. The chocolate should start
to settle and the balloon will stand up on the pan. Repeat the process
for as many cups as you'd like to make. Then place the pan into
the refrigerator for 5 to 8 minutes. When you remove the pan from
the refrigerator, the chocolate surrounding the balloons should
the hat pin to carefully poke a small hole at the top of the balloon,
near the knot. [Click here
to see a Quicktime movie of this procedure (625k) ]
As the balloon deflates, gently pull it away from the chocolate
cups. When you're done, you can fill the cups with fruit (berries
work well) and whipped cream, cold pudding, ice cream, or chocolate
mousse. Be creative, and enjoy!