This week was my first experience in tempering chocolate (a process I would very much like to never do again). For those who don’t know, tempering chocolate is a way to align the crystals in chocolate so your end product is beautiful, shiny, and doesn’t melt too easily.
Tempering chocolate is a very sensitive process. This past week, we tempered dark chocolate (and when I say “we tempered”, it means “I messed up multiple times”). To do this, you need to first melt your chocolate over a double boiler to 113-122 degrees F, then pour 2/3 of the chocolate out onto a marble slab. Spread the chocolate thinly with a trowel and then scrape it into a pile again – you are looking to cool the chocolate down to around 78-80 degrees F. Then scrape the chocolate back into the bowl (with the remaining 1/3) and mix. Put back over the double boiler and heat to 88-90 degrees F. DO NOT heat the chocolate above 94 degrees, or you will have to start all over again.
Once the chocolate reaches 88-90, put a buffer in your double boiler – in our case, we put a larger bowl over the double boiler with a few kitchen towels in it, then put the bowl of chocolate on top of that. Be sure to stir the chocolate every once in a while so it doesn’t set.
This process is extremely nerve-wracking for a first-timer… after this class (and my 7 attempts at unsuccessfully tempering chocolate because of faulty thermometers), I went directly home and ate a bowl of mashed potatoes and a glass of red wine, just to make myself feel better 🙂
In class, we made Mendients and Trois Freres. The images of these two chocolates are below. You can see that I wasn’t quite successful with my chocolate tempering, because the chocolate is not shiny as it should be.
Dark chocolate with dried apricot, dried cherry, prune, toasted almond, and pumpkin seed.
Dark chocolate with three hazelnuts