Mint Julep Chocolates
For most people, Valentine’s Day brings one thing to mind: chocolate. Okay, LOVE is important too, but chocolate is up there in the number 2 spot. Anyway, About 2 years ago when I was unemployed and eager to keep myself busy with new hobbies, I started making my own chocolates. An easy (yet messy) process once you nail down the tempering technique, I had a lot of fun coming up with interesting new fillings (curry salted cashew, lavender caramel) and loved how cute they looked packaged in little white candy boxes. Its been awhile since I last took on this project, but since I still have all the supplies I figured, in the spirit of love and chocolate, I would give it another go! Of course, if you’re not feeling confident or adventurous enough to take on filled chocolates, you can always make solid ones using fun mold shapes and cute packaging, and most likely still win the hearts of your friends, lovers and coworkers when you share the confectionery love!
Scroll down to the photos below for some step-by-step visual aids!
You will Need:
- Chocolate discs for melting
- Candy thermometer
- Double boiler or a large heatproof mixing bowl and small saucepan of water
- Chocolate molds (make sure the shape has enough depth for filling)
- Metal bench scraper
- Mint Julep Ganache (recipe below)
- Piping bag fitted with a narrow tip
Mint Julep Ganache
- 6 ounces good semisweet chocolate chips
- 6 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1/4 cup chopped mint
- 4 tsp bourbon
Heat cream and mint in a small saucepan until you reach a slow boil. Pour through a strainer, making sure to squeeze out all the cream-discard mint. Pour cream and chocolate chips into a double boiler and heat until smooth. Stir in the bourbon and let cool in the fridge. You can make this a day ahead, just bring the ganache back to room temperature before using it. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a narrow tip.
To make the chocolates
Bring a pot of water to a slow boil. If not using a double boiler, place chocolate discs in a heatproof bowl over the boiling water, retaining at least 1/3 the amount of chocolate for the cooling process. Keep water simmering or turn off heat – making sure no steam moisture gets in the chocolate. If the heat is too high the chocolate will scorch. Stir slowly and constantly until chocolate is smooth and reaches 110 degrees on thermometer. Immediately remove from heat and dry the bottom of bowl. Using the reserved chocolate discs, add them to the melted chocolate slowly while stirring until the temperature lowers to 90 degrees. This process – called seeding – is what gives your chocolate a smooth, glossy finish.
Fill molds with chocolate then immediately pour it back out leaving a layer coating the molds. Use a metal scraper to wipe excess of the top of the molds. Allow to set in the freezer for a few minutes. Pipe in a small amount of ganache into each shell, being sure not to fill too close to the top or they won’t seal properly. Fill again with melted chocolate. Use the scraper to clean off excess from the molds leaving the chocolates smooth on top. Allow to set in the freezer again, and then pop your candies carefully out of the molds.
Store in a sealed container or wrapped in candy foils, in a cool and dry place. Do not keep in the fridge or the chocolates will bloom – developing a chalky white finish on top, which is still edible but not pretty!
Enjoy your chocolates and Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!