Festivee bonanza startsssss ❤ I wish my laptop had those cute little christmas emojis, haha. I feel extremely happy writing this, and so excited. I love Christmas, even though India isn’t very big on Christmas. The entire feeling of this time of the year is so warm and happy. This is the first Christmas on the blog and I wanted to make it special, which is why, I’m gonna be sharing festive recipes throughout this month until before Christmas, Yay! Are you excited? I definitely am! 😀
First up on the Festive Bonanza is this sinfully delicious Dark Chocolate Kisses filled with mulled wine cranberry compote. This one literally screams festive! To be completely honest, this wasn’t a planned recipe at all. What I initially had in mind was completely different, more summery and definitely not festive. It was more of an experimentation that I wanted to do inspired by my favourite chef, Grant Achatz. For all of you who haven’t heard of him, please go check him out. This man is amazing! I can talk about how he changed my perspective towards food for hours, but that’s another story. Anyway, coming back to the point, this was more of an instinctive recipe. I had planned to pair the mulled wine compote with white chocolate but fortunately, unfortunately, my white chocolate wasn’t stored properly and that didn’t work out. Therefore, I settled on dark chocolate. Three things great about dark chocolate:
- It tastes divine. I love dark chocolate. Like I can munch on 70% dark chocolate all day! (This is the only chocolate I like by the way.)
- Tempering dark chocolate is much easier and smoother than white chocolate.
- Red wine, cranberries and dark chocolate are a match made in heaven.
That makes everybody happy, right? I always thought tempering chocolate is too hectic and difficult, until recently. Well, anything involving thermometer doesn’t seem easy, does it? Trust me when I say this, it’s super easy. You need to be a bit careful and you’re good to go! Tempering is basically fluctuating the chocolate temperature to align the chocolate’s crystals to make it smooth, silky and glossy. If you’re using silicon chocolate mould, you might even skip the tempering stage if you think it’s too much work. Although, I wouldn’t recommend that. Tempering gives your chocolate a beautiful shine and that amazing cracking snap. But if you aren’t too concerned about shine or sharpness, you’re most welcome to do with just melted chocolate. I usually temper chocolate without a candy thermometer, so you don’t have to worry in case you don’t have one. I have mentioned both the processes, with or without a thermometer.
Too much chocolate, let’s talk a little that delicious Mulled Wine Cranberry Compote. It smells just as good as it tastes! It’s so wintery and warm, tastes SO good with just about anything. I made an extra batch of it to use it later 😛 You MUST make some right away! Trust me, you are gonna be thanking me later. You’re welcome. 🙂
Important tips to keep in mind:
- Make sure your bowls and chocolate moulds are completely clean and free from water. Wipe your chocolate moulds properly to give the chocolate an extra shine.
- If you’re attempting to make chocolates for the first time, I would recommend using a silicon chocolate mould since it’s easy to de-mould, even if your chocolate isn’t properly tempered. However, it makes scraping off the extra chocolate a bit difficult because it is not sturdy. Hold the chocolate mould properly and firmly. Although a plastic mould is easier to handle, de-moulding can be a task if your chocolate isn’t properly tempered.
- You always have a pot of simmering water on hand.
- I like to mix two different dark chocolate compounds, 50% and 70% cocoa solids. It doesn’t make the chocolate too bitter yet has a subtle dark chocolate taste.
- Making chocolates is a lot of fun and very simple! 😀 It’s really not that tricky. I just like explaining a lot.
Nothing shows love better than homemade chocolates. They make for beautiful Christmas gifts for your loved ones. So share the love, and happy chocolate making! ❤
MAKES: About a dozen chocolates
For tempering dark chocolate
- 400 gms good quality dark cooking chocolate, 60% min. cocoa solids (I use Cocoa Craft and Morde)
For mulled wine cranberry compote
- 100 ml cranberry juice
- 35 ml orange juice
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 13 gms coconut palm sugar (you can use dark brown sugar)
- 1/8 tsp freshly grated ginger
- pinch cinnamon powder
- pinch nutmeg powder
- 60 ml red wine (any fruity kind would do)
- 56 gms dried cranberries
- Chocolate mould
- Palette Knife
Make the compote first:
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together cranberry juice, orange juice, cornstarch and brown sugar. Simmer over medium heat until it reduces by one-third. It will take about 5-8 minutes.
- Add the ginger, spices, red wine and dried cranberries. Let the sauce cook for about 10-12 minutes until it begins to thicken, stirring occasionally. The cranberries will look rehydrated. Mash them slightly using a potato masher. Cook until the desired consistency. Make sure it’s not very runny. Let it cool.
Tempering chocolate- seeding process (With thermometer):
- Put 2/3 rd chocolate in a clean deep bowl and melt over a double boiler. Do not stir until the chocolate is 2/3 melted. Keep checking the temperature while the chocolate is melting. Do not touch the thermometer to the base of the bowl as it might give you misleading readings. Quickly take if off the heat source as soon as the temperature reaches 48 C. (Make sure the bowl is completely dry and clean. A drop of water and you will end up with seized chocolate.)
- Wipe the bottom of the bowl with a towel. Add the remaining 1/3 chocolate to the melted chocolate, stirring gently. This will help the chocolate cool and lower the temperature. Keep stirring gently until the temperature drops to 28 C.
- Put the bowl back on the simmering water until the temperature rises to 32 C. Remove from water and wipe the bowl again. Your tempered chocolate is ready!
Tempering chocolate- seeding process (Without thermometer):
- Put 2/3 rd chocolate in a clean deep bowl and melt over a double boiler. Do not stir until the chocolate is 2/3 melted. Stir gently once the chocolate has melted. Bring the spatula near your lower lip and dab a small amount on the area below your lower lip. It should sting a little, not too much though. Take it off the heat source and wipe the bottom of the bowl with a towel. (Make sure the bowl is completely dry and clean. A drop of water and you will end up with seized chocolate.)
- Add the remaining 1/3 chocolate to the melted chocolate, stirring gently. This will help the chocolate cool and lower the temperature. Lift the spatula up to your lower lip and dab a small amount. It should feel cooler than your body temperature. If the chocolate is warmer than your body temperature or makes no difference, it needs to cool further.
- Put the bowl back on the simmering water for 5-10 seconds, until it’s just warm enough. Remove from water and wipe the bowl again. Your tempered chocolate is ready!
- Making the first outer layer: Pour the tempered chocolate quickly into a chocolate mould and swirl it around to coat the mould properly. Invert the mould on a baking paper and let it rest for a minute until all the extra chocolate has drained. Hold the mould properly and using a serrated knife, scrape off the extra chocolate on the mould to give a clean shape. Refrigerate for 5 mins.
- The filling: Fill the chocolate mould 2/3 with the mulled wine cranberry compote. Refrigerate for another 5-7 mins.
- Making the last layer: Since the chocolate might have gone out of temper, place it over simmering water to warm for 10-15 seconds. If you’re using a thermometer, the temperature should be at 32 C. Fill the chocolate moulds completely and even it out with a spoon if you have to. Let it rest for 2 minutes. Gently scrape off the extra chocolate. Refrigerate for at least an hour or two. De-mould the chocolates and refrigerate until use.
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