It is easy to make impressive and delicious homemade chocolates for family and friends at Easter or anytime. You can purchase Easter chocolate molds at most specialty or discount stores and a wide variety of chocolate at your local supermarket. With a bit of time and patience you will soon be turning out gorgeous homemade chocolates.
Types of Chocolate
Dark chocolate contains cocoa liquor, cocoa butter, sugar and vanilla. It is stronger and richer than milk or white chocolate and is usually the preferred choice for cooking.
Milk chocolate contains the same ingredients as dark chocolate but has added milk solids. It is sweeter, creamier, softer in texture and less intense than dark chocolate.
White chocolate doesn’t contain cocoa solids, only cocoa butter blended with sugar, milk solids and flavourings, such as vanilla. It is rich, creamy and sweeter than milk chocolate.
Eating chocolate – dark, milk and white – can be used for cooking. Dark varieties include bitter, semi-sweet and sweet. Bitter chocolate has up to 80% cocoa liquor and butter with a minimal amount of sugar. Sweet chocolate has a higher proportion of sugar and vanilla to cocoa butter.
Good-quality cooking chocolate can be found in the baking aisle of supermarkets. It is similar in taste to eating chocolate, but a small amount of cocoa butter has been replaced with vegetable fat to make it easier to melt, able to set without tempering. Cheaper than normal eating chocolate.
Compound chocolate is sold in blocks or buttons and can be found in the baking aisle of supermarkets. The cocoa butter has been replaced with vegetable fat or oil, making it easier to melt and to set at room temperature without tempering. It lacks the flavour and texture of other chocolates, but is perfect for kids’ cooking.
Chocolate can be melted in several different ways including on the stove, in the microwave or in the oven.
Stove Top – put chocolate in a clean, dry, heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Make sure no water or steam enters the bowl of chocolate, or it the chocolate could seize. Stir constantly over medium to low heat until the chocolate has melted.
Microwave – put chocolate in a clean, dry, microwave-safe bowl. Cook for 1 minute on medium/high then stir. Cook for another 30 seconds then stir again, continue until chocolate has all melted.
Stove – preheat oven to 160 C. Put chocolate in a clean, dry, heatproof bowl. Turn oven off then place the bowl in the oven for 10 minutes minutes. Remove and stir, then place back in oven if required for several minutes, remove and stir again.