As the colder winter months take hold, staying inside where it’s warm and cozy is what most people opt for. While you are busy keeping warm inside, why not learn how to create some new and different recipes with everyone’s all-time favorite ingredient? Chocolate!
If you haven’t worked with our Wilbur Chocolate products before, never fear! We have all the details about working with high-quality, cocoa butter-based chocolate products, as well as some great recipes you can try.
How to temper chocolate: what it is and why it’s necessary
Tempering is an important first step in getting creative with chocolate. It involves the process of careful heating and cooling to make chocolate smooth, glossy, and evenly-colored for dipping or molding. Properly tempering chocolate is vital to the success of your finished product.
Tempering hinders waxy texture or that dull, grayish color that occurs as the cocoa fat separates out. When you have correctly tempered chocolate, it is hardened well after cooling, has a shine, and a crisp snap to it when you bite into it.
The process of tempering consists of three vital variables: temperature, time, and agitation. These three components together help to align the chocolate’s cocoa butter crystals to make it smooth and silky. You will need a double-boiler, and a candy thermometer for stove-top tempering, as well as a bit of patience – learn more about the principles and methods now.
Tempering changes with different types of chocolate
All three different types of chocolate above can be used with the seed tempering method, which is when you add already tempered chocolate to melted, un-tempered chocolate. What occurs is the tempered chocolate will “seed” the proper crystalline structure to the entire batch and it will come into temper. This can save time as you’re working.
With seed tempering, about two-thirds of the chocolate is melted and then removed from the heat source. The other third (which is the already-tempered chocolate) is dropped into the melted chocolate and stirred in slowly until the entire batch is completely melted and begins to cool.
Make sure to be checking the temperature of your chocolate regularly as you go. For more information on the seed tempering method see our printable manual, Tempering Chocolate: Hand Tempering Methods.
Recipes to try that use tempered chocolate
Below are a few different recipes to try using tempered chocolate.
Molding with Wilbur chocolate – First, choose a mold you would like to use for your chocolate.
Using our Wilbur chocolate (choose from those listed above in this article), cool the melted coating to 92-98 degrees F. Make sure the molds you are using are at room temperature and free of any moisture. Then pour the tempered chocolate into the molds. To remove any air bubbles, tap the sides of your molds several times.
After the molds are filled, place them in a cool, dry location (preferably on a cooling type rack) that is about 45-55 degrees F. Once they are set, turn the mold over and tap to release the chocolate.
Chocolate-covered strawberries (or any fruit of your choosing)
8 ounces of semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 pound of large strawberries (or other fruit), about 20, washed and dried
1/3 cup finely chopped peanuts or pistachios (optional)
Place chocolate in a bowl and set over a saucepan of simmering water (double boiler). Stir occasionally until completely melted and then remove from heat.
Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Next, one at a time dip each strawberry or piece of fruit into the chocolate, twirling to coat. (Optional – sprinkle chocolate-covered portion with peanuts or pistachios and place on wax paper.)
Chill the chocolate-dipped strawberries or fruit for at least 15 minutes to set the chocolate.
What’s the difference between mousse, ganache, and pudding?
When using chocolate, you may encounter recipes that call for mousse, ganache, or pudding. How are these things different from one another? For starters, ganache is used as a topping or frosting on other desserts such as ice cream, cupcakes, etc. It can also be used as a filling in decadent dipped chocolates.
Both pudding and mousse are creamy, no-bake desserts that are often served on their own, but can also be used as ingredients. They do have some differences from one another, as well.
Pudding is a semisolid -- creamy and sometimes dense, it can be served warm, chilled, or even at room temperature. Mousse is considered the lighter, fluffier cousin to pudding. It has a lighter texture due to whipping air into the mixture, and it is typically served chilled or frozen.
Pudding uses cornstarch as a thickener, while mousse uses whipped cream and/or whipped eggs. Traditionally, pudding has a thicker consistency because it is cooked, while mousse is not.Mousse is enjoyed as is since it is richer in taste. However, pudding more commonly contains add-ins such as rice, seeds, fruit or nuts.
How to make chocolate mousse
4 large egg yolks
¼ cup sugar
2 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
8 ounces of semisweet baked chocolate, chopped
In a small mixing bowl, beat egg yolks with an electric mixer on high speed for 3 minutes or until thick and a lemon color. Then gradually beat in the sugar.
In a 2-quart saucepan heat 1 cup of the heavy whipping cream over medium heat until hot. Then, gradually stir half of the hot whipping cream into the egg yolk mixture; stir back into hot cream in the saucepan. For 5 minutes, cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens (do not bring to boil). Next, stir in the chocolate until completely melted. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours, stirring occasionally until chilled.
Then beat 1 ½ cups whipping cream in a chilled medium bowl with an electric mixer on high until the cream is stiff. Lastly, fold whipped cream into the chocolate mixture. You can then spoon or pipe the mixture into serving bowls. Make sure to refrigerate until ready to serve.
How to make chocolate ganache
4 ounces of semisweet chocolate
½ cup heavy whipping cream
If you don’t have already chopped chocolate, then chop up the chocolate and add it to a large heat resistant bowl and set aside.
Then pour the heavy whipping cream into bowl (microwave safe) and heat it in the microwave for 45 second to 1 minute. Be sure to watch it so that it does not bubble over.
Remove from microwave and pour the warm heavy whipping cream over the chocolate and let it sit for about 2-3 minutes. Next, start whisking slowly starting in the middle of the bowl, and continue to whisk in one direction until the mixture is very smooth and combined together.
Lastly, allow the mixture to cool for 10-15 minutes before using on a dessert. If you prefer to use this as a chocolate ganache frosting, allow it to cool completely before using.
If you didn’t purchase already chopped chocolate, then use a knife to chop the chocolate into fine flakes and set aside.
Whisk the cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt together in a large mixing bowl (that is heat resistant). Next slowly whisk in the cream, little by little, until you have a nice, smooth mixture.
Then, whisk the egg yolks into the mixture of cream and cornstarch.
Pour the milk into at least a 3-quart saucepan. Mix in the sugar and warm over medium heat, stirring often until all the sugar is dissolved.
Bring to a gentle simmer keeping over medium heat. Look for the surface of the milk to vibrate slightly and for bubbles to appear around the edges of the pot.
Remove from heat and pour most of the hot milk into the bowl of the cream and egg yolk mixture. Whisk until it is all combined, then pour the mixture back into the pot.
Bring this mixture to a full boil over medium-high heat, stirring often. It will look much thicker than previously.
Cook for 2 minutes, constantly and actively whisking.
Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla. Add the chocolate and let it set until melted (approximately 1-2 minutes). Whisk until the chocolate is fully mixed in.
Lastly, transfer the pudding into a storage container and press plastic wrap or wax paper directly onto its surface. Cover with lid and refrigerate.
Whether you’re an amateur baker, chocolatier, or just experimenting with chocolate as a hobby, give these recipes a try and don’t be afraid to practice the tempering process – it can take time to master the process. If at any time you feel frustrated or amiss, just have a bit of chocolate, call Wilbur’s toll free number for assistance, and you will soon quickly remember the smiles and joy chocolate brings to foodies of all ages!