05 May 2009

Video: Learn How to Make Homemade Candy Bars

From Denny: Learn how to make your own candy bars in your own kitchen? Sign me up on that program, NOW! :) Definitely my kind of video... CHOW.com Food Editor Aida Mollenkamp shows us how easy it is to make candy bars!

"Aida Mollenkamp from Chow.com shows Maggie Rodriguez and Harry Smith how to make delicious chocolate bars at home."



From CBS The Early Show:

To get started, you need to know a few terms.

Tempering is a method of melting and cooling chocolate to stabilize its crystal structure. Tempering makes chocolate shiny, and makes it have a good snap when you break it. Most baking recipes don't require tempering, but it's essential when enrobing chocolate confections.

To enrobe is simply to dip or coat candies in chocolate.

Another term: seed. It's one of the most common methods of tempering chocolate, requiring the fewest tools and easiest to master. Seeding is the method recommended for home cooks. To do it, melt two-thirds to three-quarters of the total weight of chocolate you're working with, and once it's reached 118 degrees Fahrenheit (for milk chocolate), add in the remaining chocolate, which is also referred to as the seed.

The bloom is the gray mottling that sometimes appears on the surface of chocolate; it's a result of extremes in heat or humidity. Chocolate stored in a fridge is subject to too much humidity, which causes the sugars to crystallize. If your chocolate is too warm, it will melt slightly and the fats will separate out. While not aesthetically pleasing, the chocolate is still usable and edible. The only risk is that chocolate with sugar bloom may seize, since it's been exposed to moisture.

Couverture is chocolate with a higher percentage of cocoa butter (at least 32 percent). It's used to enrobe candy because it forms a very thin coating when properly tempered.

RECIPES

Tempering Chocolate

METHOD:


To temper chocolate, fill a large bowl with 2 inches of cold water, add 3 to 4 ice cubes, and set aside.
Bring a saucepan filled with 1 to 2 inches of water to a simmer over high heat; once simmering, turn off heat. Place 18 ounces of the chocolate in a dry heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over the saucepan and stir until chocolate is completely melted and reaches 118°F. (Make sure chocolate does not come in contact with water or exceed 120°F. If either happens, start over, as the chocolate is no longer usable.)

Remove the bowl from the saucepan. Add remaining 6 ounces chocolate and stir until all chocolate is melted and cools to 80°F. To speed the cooling process, after all chocolate has melted place the bowl over the reserved cold-water bath.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups


INGREDIENTS:

For the filling:

1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs

3/4 cup powdered sugar

3/4 cup natural crunchy peanut butter (no added sugar)


For the chocolate coating:

1 pound milk chocolate couverture, such as El Rey 41 percent milk chocolate Discos


METHOD:

For the filling:


In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar, and peanut butter. Mix on medium speed until filling is well combined, breaks into large chunks, and resembles cookie dough, about 3 minutes.
Divide filling into 24 (2-teaspoon) balls, and then form into round, compact shapes that will fit in the mini muffin pan wells. (Keep in mind that when the filling is in the wells, there should be enough room to cover it with chocolate.) Set aside.

For the chocolate coating:

To temper chocolate, fill a large bowl with 2 inches of cold water, add 3 to 4 ice cubes, and set aside.

Bring a saucepan filled with 1 to 2 inches of water to a simmer over high heat; once simmering, turn off heat. Place 12 ounces of the chocolate in a dry heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over the saucepan and stir until chocolate is completely melted and reaches 118°F. (Make sure the chocolate does not come in contact with water or exceed 120°F. If either happens, start over, as the chocolate is no longer usable.)

Remove the bowl from the saucepan. Add remaining 4 ounces chocolate and stir until all chocolate is melted and cools to 80°F. To speed the cooling process, after all chocolate has melted place the bowl over the reserved cold-water bath.

Return the bowl to the saucepan and stir until chocolate reaches 86°F; immediately remove from heat. Do not remove the thermometer from the bowl; check the temperature periodically to make sure it stays between 85°F and 87°F. (The chocolate must remain in this temperature range or it will not set up properly.) Keep the saucepan over low heat and use it to reheat the chocolate as necessary.

To test if the chocolate is properly tempered, spread a thin layer on parchment and place it in the refrigerator for 3 minutes to set. If the chocolate hardens smooth and without streaks, it is properly tempered. (If it is not properly tempered, you need to repeat the process.)

Using a small pastry brush (or a small, clean paintbrush), liberally spread tempered chocolate inside each cup of the muffin pan. Try to make your coating as even as possible, aiming for about 1/16 inch thick.

Divide filling among chocolate wells. (Don't push too hard or you'll crack the coating.) Spoon chocolate over each filling until completely covered. Scrape across the top of the muffin pan with a palette knife or a flat spatula to remove excess chocolate and even out candy tops.

Place the pan in the freezer for 20 minutes to set up. To remove candies, place a towel or a silicone baking mat on a counter and hit one edge of the muffin pan against the counter. If the candies don't come out easily, freeze them for another 5 minutes and try again. The Peanut Butter Cups will last up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator or up to 2 months in the freezer. Let come to room temperature before serving.

Caramel Filling


INGREDIENTS:

Cooking spray, such as Pam

1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup light corn syrup

4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

METHOD:

Spray a 13-by-9-inch baking pan with cooking spray, then line the pan with a 16-by-13-inch piece of parchment paper, leaving a few inches of overhang on each side. Set aside.

Combine all ingredients except vanilla extract in a heavy-bottomed 4-quart saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer and place over medium-high heat. Stir mixture until sugar completely dissolves, about 2 minutes. Wash down the inside of the pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystallization. Boil mixture, swirling pan occasionally (but not stirring), until syrup is at 248°F, about 8 minutes.

Immediately remove the saucepan from heat, stir in vanilla extract, and pour caramel into prepared baking pan. Using an oiled rubber spatula, spread caramel evenly in the pan. Immediately press 24 cookies, pierced side down, into caramel, leaving space between them to cut them apart later.

Let cool until caramel is no longer warm to the touch and holds a slight indentation when pressed with your finger, about 40 minutes. Place filling in the refrigerator until caramel is firm and can easily be cut through, about 40 minutes.

Remove filling from the baking pan to a cutting board, caramel side down, and, using a sharp knife, cut around each cookie. Peel off parchment paper, place undipped candy bars on a cutting board, caramel side down, and trim away excess caramel. Immediately place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cookie side down, and set in the refrigerator until caramel is hard, at least 10 minutes. (Note: It's best to work in a cool area for this step.) Meanwhile, temper chocolate.

Editor's note: CHOW.com is part of CBS Interactive Group, as is CBSNews.com.





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