How to Make Hand-Dipped Chocolates
It's easy to make your own candy by covering dried and fresh fruits, nuts, and other centers in melted chocolate. To achieve the optimum gloss on your chocolates, you will need to temper your chocolate.
- "Tempering" the chocolate by heating, cooling, and re-warming evenly disperses the cocoa butter in the chocolate and ensures that it won't get white streaks when cooled. If you're not so particular about the sheen of your chocolates, you can just melt the chocolate and go.
- Dried fruits, maraschino cherries (with stems attached), fresh strawberries and other fruits can be dipped into the melted chocolate.
- You can also melt chocolate in a double boiler or set it over a bowl of hot water. Remember to monitor temperature at all times, and be careful not to let any water get into the chocolate, or it will stiffen.
- You can use any grade of chocolate for dipping, but buying the best chocolate you can afford will improve the taste of the finished confections.
- Create chocolate dipped masterpieces with these recipes: Chocolate Dipped Fruit, Chocolate Dipped Brandy Snaps and Chocolate-Dipped Matzos.
- Buy about a pound of chocolate. This will ensure that you have enough to cover a variety of centers.
- Chop the chocolate coarsely (or use chocolate chips). Reserve 1/4 cup and place the rest in a microwave-safe bowl.
- Set the bowl, uncovered, inside your microwave oven. Set power to Medium and microwave for 11/2 minutes.
- Stir the chocolate with a rubber spatula, then heat again for another minute. Stir and repeat until chocolate is melted and reaches 118 to 122 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Make sure the spatula is completely dry when you stir. (Moisture can cause the chocolate to stiffen.)
- Stir in the reserved chopped chocolate, one tbsp. at a time, until the chocolate is cooled to 79 to 80 degrees F.
- Now raise the temperature to between 85 and 90 degrees F, either by placing the bowl over a bowl of warm water or by microwaving it on Low for a few seconds. Do not let the chocolate rise over 92 degrees. Now the chocolate is tempered.
- Spear centers with a fork or toothpick and dip into chocolate, tapping excess into bowl. Make sure that the centers are completely dry, or the chocolate won't adhere and may stiffen.
- Place each coated chocolate on sheet of wax paper. Cover fork marks with more chocolate if necessary, or add more chocolate to swirl on top.
- Stir and check temperature of chocolate. If it has fallen below 85 degrees F., reheat slowly in microwave until optimum temperature is again reached.
- Let confections sit until chocolate has set.
- Store chocolates in covered container at room temperature.
Chocolate scorches easily. Do not overheat the chocolate or use too high a temperature to melt it.