Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Home made Valentine's Chocolates!

Valentine's day is tomorrow!  Do you need a last minute idea for a valentine's gift?  Why not some home made chocolates?  They're quick and easy to make and gives a personalized touch to each piece of chocolate.  So I don't normally make or give out Valentine's gifts but I was watching an anime a couple of months ago (Fruits Basket) and there was an episode about Valentine's Day and White Day and I was determined to make my own chocolates to hand out for Valentines to hand out to my friends.  

So for those who don't know here's a quick recap from the wiki page on White Day.  In Japan Valentine's is typically observed by females to present chocolates and gifts to males to show their affection - in my case friendship.  Handmade chocolates are usually preferred because it shows sincerity    and emotion put into the home made item.  On White Day, March 15th, the reverse happens where the recipient of the gift returns a gift that is typically something white.  It's silly, but I also secretly hope for something in return on White day ^_^.  I blame it on me watching so much Japanese anime although I live in America.   

So here's how I made the Valentine's day chocolates.
  • 2-3 different colored candy melts (candy waffers)
  • Chocolate Waffers of your choice (I used dark chocolates)
  • Peanut Butter Filling and/or nuts for fillings
    • Note: I don't have step by step instructions for this but check out the link.  They have to chill for 1 hour so be sure to do this step first.
    • Requires: Butter, Pb, powdered sugar
  • Zip lock bags
  • 1-2 candy trays
Big thanks for my friend A for the chocolates in bulk and showing me the PB Filling recipe.

For the roses I wanted to have different colors on top so I melted the colored candy melts into a corner of a zip lock bag.  Cut the corner and then fill the bottom layer of each well.   

Check the bottom to check for air bubbles.  Tap the tray onto the counter to lift out any air bubbles and even out the layer.

Once that's complete pop them into the fridge to harden.  It should be ready in 10-15 minutes.

While they top layer is hardening, you can get your double boiler started.  Get a pot and fill it up with some water.  On top, put a metal or oven safe glass bowl.  Make sure you use oven mitts while handling the bowl because it can get hot!  Once the water on the bottom starts to boil it will heat up the chocolates and slowly melt it.  You want to do this so that you don't burn the chocolates on direct heat.  I also learned that they burn through zip lock if you heat them in the microwave...

Once your chocolates are melted your tray in the fridge should be ready for the next step.  Roll out a teaspoon ball of the peanut butter mixture and squish it down into the well.  You want to makes sure that the PB ball doesn't touch the edges.  

I found that you don't want to place more than 1 row's worth of PB balls because they like to flatten themselves out over time.  For this I used two spoons to fill the wells with chocolate.  I eyeballed it because it really depends on how big of a PB ball you placed in.  You can glob it in and then tap it.  Make sure you hold 2 ends and keep the tray flat while you're tapping it.

Here's the after picture once I tapped it a few times against the counter.  Tapping the tray on the hard surface allows for the melty chocolate to sink down and around the PB ball or nuts you have in your center.  It's like magic!

Air bubbles should rise so make sure you poke them and tap some more to allow the bottoms to smooth out.  Once your'e satisfied that all the air bubbles are out pop them into the fridge for 15 minutes.  If you have more than 1 tray, which I recommend, you can start working on that one while the 1st tray sets.

Pop them out of the trays onto a baking sheet once they're done hardening and you're good to start on your next batch!  If you're really in a time crunch try using only chocolate and putting nuts in the center instead of the PB filling.  However, a nice discovery I made by accident is that you can melt the PB mixture straight into the chocolate for a PB/chocolaty taste which is amazing.  Pair that up with some chopped nuts in the center and it's almost like a homemade baby ruth or pay days (minus the caramel of course).   

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! 

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