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Thursday, September 29, 2011

OMG, this sounds so good! I know what I'm doing this weekend!

How to Make Chocolates

Based in both Paris and Amsterdam, Yvette van Boven works as an illustrator, food stylist and recipe writer. Her first cookbook, Home Made, brings together over 200 from-scratch recipes in one beautifully illustrated collection. Together with her cousin Joris Vermeer, she has a restaurant and catering service in Amsterdam called Aan de Amstel. She is very fond of eating oysters, but today she’ll teach us how to make chocolates. Here’s Yvette.
I grew up in Ireland. I am no stranger to writing cookbooks. I wrote my first one when I was four years old. From then on I continued to indulge my almost morbid passion for collecting recipes and cookbooks, preferably illustrated.

My mother and the women on our street made a lot of things with their own hands, out of necessity or by tradition, and my sister and I did the same. We made soda bread, biscuits, shortbread and stew for our toy restaurant. We made ice creams, yoghurt, butterfly cakes, and ginger ale for our dolls or friends.

My mother made everything herself because there simply wasn’t a lot to buy in the stores at that time. She showed me that by making things yourself, you can adjust the flavor to your own taste. Even now, in our restaurant or at home, we make everything from scratch ourselves. I wouldn’t know how to do otherwise.

As far as desserts are concerned, I would say I have a weak spot for bread and butter pudding. I have a recipe for Panettone and custard pudding in the book that uses Italian Panettone bread instead of a regular loaf. This makes the dessert lighter, so you can eat more of it. It also contains prunes soaked in Amaretto…need I say more?

My recipes represent a starting point to help you on your way, but I hope you will make up your own versions and create fresh memories. Be sure to invite me.

Making Chocolates, the Home Made way

When making chocolates, you need some skill. Melting chocolate is just not that easy and you have to acquire some experience. Stirring too much is bad, since the chocolate will become grainy. Heating it too much is also bad, since it will also become dry and grainy. Under all circumstances, the following applies: If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. And be prepared for some failures. For your first chocolates, stock up on some extra chocolate. Then you can make another batch, no worries! The best temperature for chocolate is 104° F, hence a little warmer than body temperature. Just check with your finger.

For the ganache:
1/2 cup cream
7 oz chocolate (70% cocoa)
2 tablespoons butter
Cinnamon or liqueur for flavoring
Plastic wrap
Wax paper
For the outside chocolate layer:
7 oz chocolate
4 oz melted white or milk chocolate for decoration
Parchment paper to dry the chocolates
Wax paper for the icing

For the filling (ganache) you need twice as much chocolate as cream: 1/2 cup cream and 7 oz chocolate (70% cocoa).

Heat the cream in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. You can add flavoring such as cinnamon, liqueur, or nothing!

Melt 2 tbsp butter in the hot cream.

Finely chop the chocolate and add it to the cream. Turn off the heat and leave to melt.

Stir the mixture carefully into a glossy smooth mass.

Pour the ganache into a tray lined with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least two hours.

Transfer to wax paper.

Cut into equal squares.

Melt 7 oz chocolate over a double boiler.

Using a carving fork, quickly dip the ganache in the chocolate...

And leave the chocolates to dry on parchment paper.

Create an icing bag with waxed paper.

Fill it with 4 oz melted white or milk chocolate.

Decorate and leave to dry, then serve with coffee.

Did you enjoy this recipe? For more sumptuous sweets (and savory meals!), pick up a copy of Yvette Van Boven’s Home Made. Abrams Publishing is offering a 30% discount to Etsy readers who buy directly from their site. Simply enter “etsyhomemade” at  checkout. This coupon code expires on October 11, 2011.

 Have you ever made chocolates? What’s your favorite type of sweet?

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