My son recently had a birthday, and his favourite flavour is caramel, so I adapted my mud cake recipe for caramel. It helped that when I was recently on a cruise I returned with a bottle of caramel Baileys, and I could use this for additional flavour. I also made him a few caramel chocolates too – sugar overload!
My chocolate making instructor was right, you can’t use silicone moulds and get good chocolates, you need to bang them on the counter (to get rid of air bubbles), and silicone is too floppy! But even though my chocolates didn’t look professional, they tasted great!
225g chopped butter;
180g chopped white chocolate:
1/2 cup milk:
1/4 cup Baileys caramel liqueur;
1 & 3/4 cup caster sugar;
1 & 1/2 cups sifted plain (gluten free of course) flour;
1/2 cup sifted self raising (gluten free again) flour;
2 eggs, lightly beaten.
180g chopped white chocolate;
1/3 cup thickened cream.
Preheat a fan forced oven to 130 celcius (150 if not fan forced). If using a silicone cake pan, there is no preparation to do, if using metal, grease and line with two layers of baking paper.
Place butter, chocolate, milk, liqueur, sugar and 1/2 cup cold water in a pan over medium heat, cook until melted and smooth, stirring occasionally. Leave aside to cool for about half an hour. This needs to be cool or when you add the flour and eggs they will cook and go clumpy.
When cool, whisky through sifted flours and eggs. When combined, pour into pan and bake in oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Test with a skewer.
Hint – because the large amount of chocolate will be heavy, the SR flour will cause the cake to rise a little, be gentle taking it out or it will fall. A sudden change in temperature or rough handling will cause the cake to fall a little, but even if it does, it doesn’t matter – the pouring ganache will cover up most mistakes!
After 10 minutes, turn out onto a wire rack to cool. If the cake is still hot when you try to pour the ganache over, the ganache will go too runny straight off. The consistency it is, it will pour over and a bit will run off, but if the cake is hot it will just stream off too fast.
Melt ganache ingredients together – you can do this by putting them in a microwave safe container and cooking them in 30 second bursts, checking after each. For the first two, I just like to take the container out and shake it a little to make sure the ingredients are mixing, after the third I will take it out and stir it. If the chocolate melts in the cream, that’s all you need to do. If it needs more, reduce to 15 second bursts, white chocolate “siezes” quickly and you don’t want to curdle the cream either.
Once it is well combined, pour over top and swirl around with a spatula until you get the look you like, this is not a thick ganache so it will not “sit on top” unless you put it in the fridge and set it first.
I can tell you the ingredients for the chocolates, but unless you have learned how to temper chocolate, it will not make a lot of sense. I do plan to do a video one day, but I have to get someone to film it first!
You will need a digital thermometer and a thin scraper (think of something that can scrape pastry scraps off a bench) as well as the moulds.
The best way to describe the tempering process is as follows:
These were milk chocolate outers (different chocolates have different temperature requirements), so you take a quantity of milk chocolate (for twelve chocolates you will need to start with 200g, plus have some extra either in buttons or chopped into small pieces to have nearby to use during the tempering process). Either melt the chocolate in a microwave in 30 second bursts or in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water (as explained before, don’t let the bottom of the bowl touch the water). Keep stirring the chocolate while checking the temperature. For milk chocolate you need it to come up to 40-45 degrees celcius. Once it is in this range, take off the heat. Now, you need to bring the temperature down to between 30-31 degrees celcius. You can do this initially by adding small amounts of additional milk chocolate and stirring until it melts (this is why you either need buttons or small pieces). Keep checking with the thermometer. If you don’t want to add any more chocolate, you can place the bowl over an icepack for a few seconds, stirring, then take it off (and put it on a different part of the bench, the icepack will have made that spot cold). If you take it down too far, blow some hot air from a hairdyer into it, stirring all the while, but if you are careful when bringing the temperature down, you shouldn’t need to do this. Once the chocolate is in the pouring range (30-31) quickly slather it into the mould, you don’t want to waste time or it will cool and start to thicken.
Once the moulds are well covered, try to tap the air bubbles out. With a hard mould you can bang the mould on the bench, with silicone it is very difficult, you can try, but it won’t work all that well. When the chocolate has thickened a little, turn the mould upside down over the bowl and let the excess run out (this is really fun with silicone as it goes floppy and you get it everywhere), you need the moulds to be hollow so you can fill them. When the excess has dribbled out, turn the mould over and, using your scraper, scrape the excess off the mould, you don’t want chocolate all over the mould or your finished product won’t be neat. Put in the fridge for a few minutes to firm up. Keep the remaining chocolate, as you will use this for the bases.
Fill with your preferred filling – this should be at room temperature. If it is too hot, your chocolate will melt. You can either pipe the filling in, or if you have a tiny measure (like a mustard spoon) you can use that. Whatever is easiest for you. Put back in the fridge for a few minutes while you prepare the chocolate for the bases.
You don’t need to go through the whole tempering process again, as the chocolate has already been tempered, but it has probably thickened up a lot by now, so using the microwave with care again, heat the chocolate in small bursts, stirring each time until it is 30-31 degrees again. Depending on how much you have left, you may need to add more from your additional supply. Once the chocolate is at the correct temperature, pour over the mould until your chocolates are well covered, and then scrape off the additional chocolate. Leave them in the fridge to set again. Once they are hard all over, you can demould the chocolates. I bought the little papers in the baking aisle of my local supermarket, but you might be able to find papers at any confectioner’s suppliers store.
I have included the recipe for the filling below. You will have spare filling (this makes a lot of filling), you can either store this in the fridge (it will keep for a couple of weeks once cooked) or use it as a pouring caramel sauce over a dessert. It is a liquid caramel, not a fudgy one (I am going to try chewy caramel chocolates another time).
Salted caramel filling:
175g caster sugar;
4 tbs water;
200ml pouring cream;
175g milk chocolate in small pieces;
125g white chocolate in small pieces;
1 tsp of salt.
Place chocolate in a large heatproof bowl.
Heat sugar and water in a saucepan until golden brown, the browner the richer the caramel taste, but be careful not to burn it or it will be bitter. Stir frequently, but take care as caramel can cause severe burns if you cause it to splash up on your skin. Add salt when it is at the colour you want. Add cream, stirring to ensure the cream doesn’t curdle. When well mixed, pour over chocolate and stir until all chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
This can be stored in an airtight container (I prefer glass jars) in the fridge. If you are using it straight away, allow it to cool to room temperature first. If you have previously stored this (I tend to make several fillings at once, then store them, then use them later on) take it out of the fridge several hours before you need it, or else heat it in the microwave on defrost until it is at the correct temperature.