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More marvellous chocolate ideas . . . . .

Making hand made chocolates can be one of the most satisfying tasks in the kitchen and yet one of the hardest to write about and describe.

Hardly surprising I suppose when a true chocolatier will have years of apprenticeship and experience behind them, yet we all wonder why we can never get it quite right. The chocolatier will be repeating tasks day after day for years to gain perfection yet we ponder why after a few attempts, over a period of months, it is not all coming together like a professional. We have to accept limitations, accept the fact we do not have the tools and equipment to rival the best Belgian or Swiss chocolatiers.

Having said that producing hand made chocolates can be rewarding, fulfilling and fun . . . as long as we do not expect to be experts overnight. A simple way of starting to learn this art form is mastering the making of what is called a ganache. A ganache in the simplest of terms is one of the soft, creamy, chocolate fillings.

Chocolate Ganache


double cream


  • Boil cream in a thick based pan and remove from the heat, set aside

  • Melt the chocolate and stir in the butter, stirring until the butter has also melted and is fully incorporated

  • Stir in a couple of drops of your favourite flavouring essence such as orange, banana, almond, etc

  • Pour in the cream and stir quickly as the mixture will solidify

  • Remove from the heat and allow to cool

  • Use as required

Shaping with moulds

The ganache can be moulded by hand into rounds, ovals, etc but chocolate moulds are readily available. They are generally made of a clear plastic. If you invest in these, care has to be taken with their maintenance so read the instructions carefully.

Normally they should not be washed, but just wiped out with paper towels. If you are worried about the hygiene factor, wash them carefully in hot water with only the minutest of detergent in the water, rinse them thoroughly, turn them upside down to drip dry and then pat and polish with a soft paper towel or the cloth used for wiping spectacles. These moulds tend to scratch and ruin very easily and will result in dull looking chocolates.

Normally these moulds are used, using a long process that involves coating them with chocolate, cooling, filling, etc. I found that for the layman they are best used as follows:

  • Take a small amount of the ganache and press lightly into the mould to form the shape, taking care not to get any air bubbles

  • If you would like to place a whole nut, chopped nut, etc in the middle, just half fill the mould, lightly press the nut in and add more ganache to finish

  • Using a palate knife, level off and scrape away any extra

  • Carefully turn out buy turning upside and gently tapping

  • Picking them up carefully they may then be dipped and / or coated (see below)

Shaping by hand

If you do not have or do not want to invest in moulds they may also be shaped by hand. Roll into small balls, ovals or turn the ganache out onto a clean bench and shape into a thin rectangle and cut into small squares, rectangles, diamonds, etc or using small pastry cutters cut as required.


One of the easiest ways of covering the chocolates is to roll or lightly press them in cocoa, dessicated coconut, ground almonds, etc


The more adventurous will want to coat them in 'solid' chocolate, for this one will need care and attention. There are dipping utensils that can be picked up quite cheaply for this, that are made of wire, that allow the chocolate to fully envelope the ganache. But with care one can do it with a couple of teaspoons or forks (the forks I found work better).

  • Melt an amount of chocolate

  • Carefully rest the shaped or moulded ganache on a fork (do to try to spear it!) and using the second fork in the other hand guide it to the chocolate and immerse, while keeping it in the fork

  • Remove and place on a sheet of silicon paper, mat or overhead projection sheet. (The latter is widely used by professional chefs, as it is non stick, fairly cheap, readily available and leaves the chocolate with a sheen and may be re-used . . . but I didn't tell you that!)

  • Allow to set and decorate


When your chocolates have hardened, they may then be decorated by:

  • Place a different colour chocolate into a small paper piping bag, cutting a fine nib and piping different lines, shapes, etc onto them. You will have all seen what I mean on the chocolates your loved one has given you over the years!

  • Or a slice of almond, etc maybe be secured on the top just before the chocolate hardens, if the chocolate hardens and you want to finish this way, dip the prong of the fork into the melted chocolate and just dot the top of the finished item and place the nibbed or sliced almond, etc on top.

These are just a few ideas. I am sure before you start or as you are working you will think of many more. Maybe layering the large rectangle of ganache you have just made with a thin layer of marzipan before you cut it and dip them or lightly pressing in a layer of coconut - if you can think of it, it can be done!

Enjoy and bon appetit . . . . .

Chef's terminology:

litres   tsp = teaspoon
millelitres   tbs = tablespoon
kilograms   sq = sufficient quantity (add to taste)
grams   pc = piece, meaning a whole one of

Recipe from professional
Chef Tallyrand

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