Saturday evening I attended the Chocolate Workshop at the Central Market in Fort Worth. Gwin Grogan Grimes, owner of Artisan Bakery Company and cookbook author taught us all about working with chocolate. Then for several hours we rotated through stations making all sorts of delectable treats (and a giant mess.) Here is a peak at the treats we made in class:
Enrobing: (pictured left) the fancy professional name for "I just dipped something in chocolate." In all seriousness, I will never again just melt chocolate chips willy-nilly in the microwave and then dip things in them. The proper chocolate (meaning the right amount of cacao) and the right tempering technique make all the difference. In class we enrobed pretzels, strawberries and dried fruit. We even practiced making those fancy tuxedo strawberries... although I could clearly use more practice!
Nutty Bark: this was the easiest of the tasks - basically you take your favorite nuts and dried fruits and make a little pile and then pour on properly tempered chocolate. When your done you can break them apart for some nutty bark.
Hand -Rolled Truffles: If you have ever wondered why hand rolled truffles are expensive make a batch and then you will know why. They are time intensive. First a simple ganache needs to be made and refrigerated - once it is firm you can start rolling it out into small balls, which have to dry out before you coat them. Once they are dry you hand dip each one into chocolate and then let sit. The chocolate actually seals the ganache and keeps it moist so you have to make sure it is completely covered. Once this chocolate sets - you coat it again and add a topping. I coated my milk chocolate truffles with milk chocolate and then coated them in powered sugar, the dark chocolate truffles are coated in dark chocolate and then coated in coco powder. (I really felt staying simple was in my best interest.)
With a little holiday packaging these treats would be a perfect addition to a pretty Valentine's note.