Valentines Day is the perfect opportunity for me to experiment with new recipes for homemade chocolates. If I gave my husband pretty much any other type of homemade gift, he’d turn his nose up at it. Homemade chocolates are something entirely different though. My husband would eat chocolate for every meal if he could.
The chocolates are easy to make and you don’t need any fancy equipment. A chocolate mould is a must, but other than that, you can use what you already have in your kitchen. Moulds, wrappers, boxes and bags are easy enough to buy. I like to use independent shops, Iced Jems is one of my favourites but there are lots around.
200g of shop brand milk or dark chocolate, depending on preference.
100g Royal icing sugar
Pink food colouring
I’ve melted a lot of chocolate over the last few years and have found that shop brand is best. Branded chocolate doesn’t seem to melt well at all and ends up lumpy. You can either melt it in the microwave or in a bowl over a pan with a small amount of simmering water. If you’re microwaving, following the manufacturers guidelines on the packet for timings. I prefer to melt in a bowl over a pan as I find it’s too easy to burn chocolate in the microwave.
Put your chocolate mould on a baking tray so that it’s easy to pick up and move. Once the chocolate is melted, spoon enough into each mould to fill it about a third. When you’ve done that, use either a teaspoon or a pastry brush if you have one, to spread the chocolate up the sides of the mould so that they’re covered with a thin layer of chocolate. Make sure there are no gaps so that the filling can’t escape. You need to do this quite quickly as the chocolate will start to set.
Once the moulds are covered, put them in the fridge to set. It doesn’t take long, about 10 minutes should do it. While the chocolate is setting you can prepare the filling. Mix the icing sugar with water, a bit at a time until it’s got a smooth shiney finish. The consistency depends on your taste. If you like runny chocolate fillings, add more water. If you put too much water in, just add a bit more icing sugar.
Once you’ve got the consistency you want, add a teaspoon of strawberry flavouring and a tiny bit of pink food colouring. Mix until you’ve got a nice pink colour. Food colour spreads a lot so put a tiny amount in to start off with. You can always add more if the colour isn’t pink enough.
When you’re happy with the colour and flavour, get the mould from the fridge. If you’ve got a icing bag and are happy using it, spoon the filling into that with a medium sized nozzle. If you don’t have a bag, you could use a freezer bag and cut the very end of 1 corner off. Failing that, a tea spoon is fine. Pour / spoon the filling into the chocolate covered mould, aiming for the centre. Fill about two thirds full. Make sure the top of the filling is below the top of the mould.
Once that’s done, put the tray back in the fridge to let the filling set a bit. By now your chocolate will have started to set so melt it again. Once that’s done, get the mould tray. This part can be quite messy but at least it’s fun cleaning up as you can eat anything that spills! Using a spoon, pour melted chocolate over each mould until it’s full. I find tapping the tray on the work top evens it out so the chocolate covers everything. You’re aiming for as flat a top as you can get, but it will taste just as nice bumpy.
Once that’s done, stick the tray back in the fridge for 20 minutes or so to let everything set. Just enough time to clean out the bowl and make sure none of the melted chocolate goes to waste. Once the chocolate is set, take them carefully out of the moulds. Obviously at this stage you should try one or two to make sure they taste ok.
You can go as fancy or as plain as you want when it comes to packaging them. I usually buy wrappers and clear bags or small boxes. If you don’t have either, use some tin foil or a freezer bag. They’ll taste great however they’re wrapped. Homemade chocolates make a lovely gift, not just for Valentines.