December 2nd, 2015
From Food Gift Love © 2015
By Maggie Battista
Make sure your work area is clean and free of any moisture. (Even a few drops of water splashed into the chocolate unintentionally will ruin the chocolate and may cause it to seize.)
Place a piece of parchment paper on a small plate. Spray the parchment with just a little non-stick spray.
In a double boiler set over medium heat, place a bit of water in the bottom pot - making sure the water doesn’t touch the underside of the top pot. Assemble the double boiler. (If you do not have a double boiler, place a metal or glass bowl on top of a medium pot.)
If you plan to melt without tempering, chop each chocolate bar into small 1/2-inch pieces and place it all in the top part of your double boiler to melt until it reaches a smooth consistency. However, if you plan to temper the chocolate, chop each chocolate bar into small 1/2-inch pieces, separately. Place half the chocolate into the top part of a double boiler to melt until a smooth consistency, then proceed to temper the chocolate (below), by slowly adding the reserved chocolate.
Dip each spoon into the melted chocolate. Let the extra chocolate drip off the spoon. (There will be some extra melted chocolate, so dip several pieces of fruit or chips to coat and place on a separate plate in the fridge to set.)
Place each spoon on the parchment-topped plate and set in the fridge to chill for 1 hour, though tempered chocolate will require less time to chill. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. If the chocolate isn’t tempered, the color of the chocolate will likely become cloudy or white within 2 to 3 days but it’s still edible and will melt into your coffee just the same.
Trim the plastic bags to [3/4] the size of your chocolate dipped spoons. Slip single spoons — or 2 spoons, if you like — into each bag. Tie off and seal the bag with a short piece of ribbon. If you tempered the chocolate, the chocolate spoons will keep at room temperature until gifted.
HOW TO TEMPER CHOCOLATE: Tempering allows you to modify the crystal molecules in the chocolate by raising and lowering the temperature – this challenges the molecules to break apart and reform into a stable, dense network that creates lustrous, firm chocolate.
Place half of the chocolate into the top part of a double boiler fitted with a candy thermometer. Don’t set the thermometer into the pot - prop it up with some masking tape or plan to hold it in place as you go.
Turn the heat to medium and melt the chocolate until it reaches a temperature of 115° F to 120° F, but do not let it go over 120° F. Stir continually to urge the melting along and make sure to test the temperature of the chocolate (not the pot) as you go by ensuring the tip of the thermometer doesn’t rest on the bottom of the pot.
Remove the top pot and set it on a thick towel, trivet or heat pad on a heatproof surface. Add a small handful from the remaining chopped chocolate bar to the melted chocolate. Whisk continually, vigorously, until the temperature decreases to 90° F. Keep adding chocolate, small handful by small handful, until the temperature is reached. And…keep whisking; the more you whisk, the better your temper will be and the shinier your chocolate.
To test your temper, dip a tiny clean and dry spoon in the chocolate. Let the extra chocolate drizzle off the spoon. Set it on a plate in the fridge for 2 to 3 minutes. If it dries quickly and begins to lose its shine, your chocolate is tempered. If it’s streaky or white or soft to the touch, it hasn’t tempered and you’ll need to start over again - which means, you’ll need to reheat and set aside some extra chocolate to bring the temperature down again.
While you’re testing, you may need to sit your bowl back on the double boiler for a few seconds to keep the chocolate at 88° F to 90° F degrees (no higher and no lower) – this temperature range maintains the desired crystallization. But don’t leave in on the double boiler for more than a few seconds because if it spikes much higher, the molecules will lose formation and you’ll have to start all over again.