This was my first attempt at actually making a filled chocolate, and I had mixed success. After agonizing and fretting over what sort of center I was going to make and how I was going to create and decorate the truffle, I finally settled on a gingerbread-flavored ganache, enrobed (hand-dipped) and decorated simply with a bit of candied ginger.
The ganache is milk chocolate with molasses, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and clove. I tempered the milk chocolate then added the flavorings and spread the filling in an 8×8 pan to set up overnight. I cut the filling into 1-inch squares for enrobing.
I had some success hand-tempering, but was nervous about having to maintain the temper by hand while trying to dip, so my expensive hobby got a little more expensive with the purchase of a simple home-tempering machine. Well, seemingly simple. I’m happy with the purchase, though. I used a dipping fork to dunk the ganache centers into Amano Ocumare 70%.
It took some practice to get all of the excess chocolate off of the centers. I found that a combination of tapping and using a second fork was helpful.
The trick to hand-dipping is to get the finished chocolates onto the surface without making a mess or creating a “foot” (pool of chocolate under the center) or a “tail” (trailing off the back). I tried a bunch of different methods and began to get the hang of it.
Note the messy smears of chocolate at the top of the photo below – that was my first attempt. As I set chocolates on the pan liner, I added the candied ginger.
As the chocolates dried, it was clear from the dull appearance and bloom that formed that I had a tempering problem. The chocolate was still pretty firm so it wasn’t a complete failure. A lot of the chocolates went to my co-workers, who were kind enough to ignore that they didn’t look pretty. They tasted great (bloom doesn’t affect taste) and several people came back for more.
I contacted Chocovision support for help with my tempering issue, and of course it was primarily user error. Chocovision support was fantastic – Chef Joe talked with me by phone and gave me very specific instructions for the Amano chocolate. Higher melting temperature, seed the chocolate, and use the “difficult temper” button. The Amano is a little finicky due to the high cocoa butter content, but that’s what makes it have such a great texture.