Dark chocolate, white chocolate, milk chocolate, ANY chocolate. I’d pretty much do anything under the promise of chocolate. So you can bet that when I heard that Charles Darwin University was offering a chocolate making course I signed up so quickly I probably broke land-speed records.
Before starting this course I was under the impression that making chocolate was a pretty easy feat. You melted it, poured it into a mold and presto! You’ve got chocolates. I really couldn’t have been more wrong. My opinion wasn’t helped by the fact that a few weeks earlier I had been reading Reaper’s Fire by Joanna Wylde and the heroine made chocolates for a living. The fact that chocolate making is hard was not adequately driven home during my reading of this book.
Making chocolates requires hard and constant work.
It’s also almost an exact science. For instance, you temper white chocolate at 28 °C, milk chocolate at 30 °C, and dark chocolate at 32 °C. See. You do learn something new everyday.
There were nine people including myself participating in this class and we were divided into three groups: dark, milk and white. I was in the dark chocolate group, and we made four types of chocolate: hazelnut slices, caramel filled chocolates, truffles and slides.
Unfortunately I was far too excited during the class that I forgot to take photos of the process for you, so you’ll just have to make do with my written description. Additionally, I was only actively involved in making three of the four types of chocolates my group made so I can only report on those three. I can however tell you the fourth type of chocolate was divine! (I also promise to upload the recipes once I get my cook book
To make the caramel chocolates, first we had to make the caramel and remember to regularly stir it to ensure it cooled down enough so we could use it later (side note: I have never made so much caramel in my life! Each team made about 3 containers worth).
We then had to polish the chocolate moulds and begin melting the chocolate buttons. There are two important elements to melting and tempering chocolate: it needs constant movement and under no circumstances can you mix it with water. Not even a drop. Adding water will just making it solidify and ruin it completely.
We then got to colour chocolate, which was pretty cool. We swiped a little colour into our moulds because we would later use the colours to identify what type of chocolate we would be making (and eating!). Yellow was for salted caramel and orange was for plain caramel.
Once the coloured chocolate had set we added a layer of chocolate to the moulds to create the ‘lid’ of the chocolates, let it set, then added the appropriate caramel. Once this had had a chance to solidify we added the ‘backs’ to the chocolates and set them in the fridge. Except for when you are adding the caramel or the ‘backs’ to the chocolates, when the chocolate is setting, you rest the moulds on their sides. I’m still not 100% sure why.
To make the truffles we had to melt chocolate buttons, pureed blood orange and sugar in a saucepan before piping it onto a tray to half set. Once it was almost solid we then rolled it into little balls and again let it set again. We then dipped it into our dark chocolate and, you guessed it, let it set.
The slides were perhaps the easiest chocolates to make. You simply put a big pile of tempered chocolate onto a transfer sheet, evenly spread it out, then put a printed transfer sheet on top. Done.
The printed transfer sheets were just plastic transfer sheets that had pretty patterns on them. Once the chocolate was set, you pull them off to reveal printed chocolate.
Pretty and yummy.
I am currently enrolled in a cake decorating course through Charles Darwin University and cannot wait to tell you all about it and show you all the awesome things I’ll make.
Have you ever made chocolates from scratch? Is this on your bucket list?