Friday, July 11, 2014

Sidebar - Chocolate Cups

We were perhaps a bit overzealous when we wrote our most recent book, Baltimore Chef's Table, and handed in far too many words. Unfortunately, this meant some of them needed to be cut, among them several recipes and sidebars. We're posting some of those sidebars here on Minxeats. Think of them as supplemental material. This recipe sidebar originally followed the recipe for Peanut Butter cups provided by the former pastry chef at Fleet Street Kitchen and Ten Ten, Bettina Perry.

The more adventurous among us might scoff at the idea of using pre-made chocolate cups for a fancy dessert, especially since making them at home is no big deal. Ok, it does take a lot of steps and some patience, but the result is pretty satisfying.

You might think that you can just use melted grocery-store chocolate chips, but it’s best to use good-quality chocolate. If you can find pre-tempered chocolate, you’re more than halfway there, otherwise it’s a good idea to temper the chocolate yourself. Tempering makes the chocolate less-susceptible to melting all over your hands, and it gives it a pretty, shiny appearance. Tempered chocolate also shrinks a bit when it cools, which makes it slip out of molds easier.

To temper chocolate and make your own chocolate cups, you need only one ingredient: chocolate. But there are also a few tools you should have on hand as well.

1 lb of good-quality dark chocolate, in block form
double boiler
silicone spatula
candy thermometer
cupcake liners, preferably silicone, but foil is ok too

1. Chop your chocolate into chunks.

2. Place 2/3 of the chopped chocolate into the top of a double boiler set over simmering water.

3. Stir the chocolate gently as it melts, using a silicone spatula.

4. Using a candy thermometer, continue to heat chocolate until it reaches 115°-120°F. When it reaches the correct temperature, remove the bowl from the double boiler.

5. Add the remaining unmelted chocolate and stir gently. Continue to monitor the temperature. When the chocolate has cooled to just below 84°F, scoop out any unmelted chocolate chunks (putting them aside for another use, or simply stuffing them into your mouth).

6. Place the bowl back on the double boiler and heat gently, stirring, until the temperature of the chocolate is back up to 89°F. At that point, remove bowl from double boiler.

7. Keep the bowl of chocolate warm while using, somewhere between 85-88°F. An electric heating pad set to low, placed under the bowl, works well. Make sure you stir the chocolate often so that the temperature remains uniform.

8. Paint a thin layer of chocolate inside of each cupcake liner. Refrigerate for ten minutes. Repeat painting and refrigerating.

9. Gently pop the cups out of the liners.

10. Fill and eat!

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