Friday, December 10, 2010

Grandma's Chocolates

One of my favorite and long-lasting family traditions is my Grandma's homemade chocolates. 52 years ago she found a recipe and started making chocolates with her kids. That has now blossomed into a HUGE chocolate dipping production every year before Christmas. We have 4 generations of dips...errrr uhhh dippers that come together and turn Grandma's house in the Chocolate Factory. Making pounds and pounds of delectable treats to give to neighbors, co-workers, friends, and family.

I want to share the basic fondant (the center of the chocolate) recipe and a few tips to dipping chocolates:

Cream Fondant:
  • 1 cup whipping cream (1/2 pint)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 Tbsp white Karo syrup
  • Dash of salt
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 2/3 square butter
Put cream, milk, Karo syrup, and salt in a heavy 3 quart pan. While stirring constantly, heat until warm to the touch. Add the sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved and bring to a rolling boil.

When the sugar is dissolved, wash down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to prevent the candy from turning to sugar instead of creamy. Don't worry about the water getting into the candy. It may slow the cooking process down a bit, but it won't hurt the candy. The water just boils out.

At this point, turn the stove burner down to medium high, put in the candy thermometer and cook to 236 degrees. Be sure to wash down the sides of the pan several times while cooking.

Slowly, pour onto a cold, buttered marble slab. When just slightly warm to the touch, scoop up all the fondant with a wide spatula and put into the bowl of a heavy duty electric mixer. We use a Kitchen Aid. Beat the fondant on a high setting until the candy loses its gloss and becomes thick.

Add 2/3 square of softened butter into the fondant mixture. Once the fondant mixture turns color or has a different look (it looks creamy), stop the mixer and pour the fondant into a medium plastic container. Attach a lid and freeze until dipping time. This is the basic fondant recipe. Any flavor or color may be added while molding in the butter.

These are some of my favorite flavors we make while using this basic fondant recipe:
  • Wintergreen: Color the fondant green and add wintergreen extract. 
  • Orange: Color the fondant orange and add orange extract
  • Coconut: Add coconut extract to the fondant. Before you start dipping, place a package of coconut on a cookie sheet and spread out the coconut in a thin layer. Toast under the broiler until the coconut is a light brown in color. But be careful! Watch it continuously, because it can burn easily! Dip the chocolates and then roll them in the toasted coconut. It's good to have someone helping you on this; one person dips the chocolate and the other rolls it in the coconut.
  • Rum Balls: Add rum extract to fondant. When you dip the chocolates, roast some almonds, then put them in a food processor. Dip the chocolates and then roll them in the nuts. This is good for beginning chocolate dippers because the nuts cover any mistakes :) To roast the almonds, spread them on a cookie sheet and place them under the broiler, leaving the oven door open and watching every minute. When they start to pop a little and turn a little brown, take them out, turn them over and toast a little longer. It doesn't take long and they burn easily, so watch carefully! When cool, grind them up quite fine, pour them into a flat pan, ready to drop the chocolate into. It's good to have someone helping you on this; one person dips the chocolate and the other rolls it in the nuts.
When ready to dip, roll fondant into small balls. Do not use chocolate that has wax in it (chocolate chips) use dipping chocolate. Melt the chocolate and pour onto a marble slab, counter top, or a plate which is at room temperature. If the chocolate is poured onto something that is cold it will set up too fast. Work the chocolate with your hand until it is neither warm nor cold to the touch. The room should be quite cool so that the chocolate doesn't run off the fondant. Use one hand for the chocolate. With your free hand, get a rolled fondant ball and place it into your other hand covered in chocolate. Gently roll the ball around in the palm of your hand. When completely covered, place on a pan covered with wax paper.

Enjoy! These are the BEST!!!!!


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