As I had quickly blogged last night, now you'll see and hear about the chocolate workshop I made for my older grandchildren. Last week, when I asked my daughter what to bring for Shabbat, she replied that I should get some treats-sweets for the kids. That's not my specialty at all, as most people may know. For me personally, fruits, nuts and dried fruit would be the perfect treat, but I know that younger generation. They would not appreciate that food genre at all. So, I asked my daughter for a more specific suggestion, and she said "chocolate." Now, that wasn't helpful enough for me. They have chocolate in the house all the time, and there isn't much in cute children's parve (non-dairy) to get as a treat.
So as I was trying to figure out what to do, I noticed something new at the entrance to Rami Levy on display with the silicone cupcake and muffin pans, silicone pans/molds with tiny shapes for making chocolates. I picked up two of different types of shapes and then in the supermarket I got some 60% chocolate bars (parve of course,) and in my local grocery store I bought colored sprinkles and white chocolate chips. I figured that the kids could first put the sprinkles or white chocolate chips in the molds and then pour the melted chocolate over it, and the resulting chocolates would have fillings and toppings and whatever.
To keep the kitchen table from getting dirty full of chocolate, my daughter covered it with clear plastic, which could be easily gathered and dumped afterwards.
There are two basic ways to melt the chocolate, and you're best with a plain bittersweet which will give a little contrast to the "trimmings," whether sprinkles, fruit or nuts.
- We made a double-boiler of sorts by putting two metal jar lids in a pan of boiling water and then on top of them a heat resistant bowl which had the chocolate to melt. I added a bit of oil to make it easier to pour and guarantee that it would easily fill the molds. As you stir, you'll get the feel for it.
- Melt in a microwave on a very low short setting, stopping periodically to stir and add the oil. My daughter felt that we'd have more control by using the stove, which we did.
The kids aged 13 down to 5 1/2 all had great fun. They took turns waiting until a batch was ready and the mold emptied. They even asked to melt some white chocolate chips to make a black/white chocolate. To speed up the hardening, we placed the molds in the freezer. When each batch hardened, we took out the fancy chocolates by turning over the molds and pushing the pretty candies onto a plate covered with "baking paper." Then each child put his/hers into a container and in the fridge.
For a more taste-sophisticated Home "Chocolate Workshop" you can add mint extract or liquor to the chocolate or even a bit of strong concentrated orange juice or coffee. And of course, instead of the sprinkles and white chips, you can use fruit, nuts and/or seeds.
Here are some photos from our workshop:
If you try it, please tell me how it turns out, thanks.