Temper temper…

Please excuse the lack of mature comment in this post, my inner child has surfaced again…

Hee hee Celia!  I finally had a go at this.

Dominos anyone?

Notice all those hits on the tempering page of your blog Fig Jam and Lime Cordial today?  That was me.

There is only so much reading about home made chocolate a friend can absorb and not want to have a go too. I have resisted for a long time now and today I realised resistance was futile and I wanted to join the Chocolate Borg.  I think what I ended up with was tempered, the chocolate squares go snap,  the raisin bark bends – but that’s the raisins I think, and the smooth sides are shiny, except where I got finger prints on them…  I’ve got a lot to learn – what fun!

I messed up the temperature

(Celia’s tempering instructions are crystal clear,  but I don’t think I managed to follow them. I thought I’d melt the chocolate in a bain marie, and the temperature soared to over 130 degrees, every lump of chocolate I put in to be the tempering seed bit, melted and disappeared. Ah well, first time, I found a funny little chocolate mould tray that I bought last year, dusted it, and washed it, put some of the melted choc in it, when it got to 88 F, put some sultanas in the rest of it and put those on a tray… )

but the chocolate didn’t scorch or get moisture in it and the chocolate gods forgave me as it was my first time.

Brian says this is much nicer than shop chocolate. He’s well versed in the art of compliments when it comes to sweet things.  I used a mixture, you can’t see it properly in the pic, of light and dark buttons and assorted bits of chocolate from my stash.

Every piece of tempering chocolate I put in melted and they were all dark, so I couldn’t rescue any of the pieces, but it just means more chocolate in the final pieces. Thank you Celia for your ongoing inspiration! I feel strangely happy!

And, I was going to say, if I had one of Inawelshgardens’s lavender bath bombs, my joy would be complete.

The pretext....

Assorted chocolate found lying around...

Note the thermometer...

No idea how you smooth them down...

Nutella tablets and raisin bark

19 thoughts on “Temper temper…

  1. sallybr

    You are brave! I saw that post, and when reading the word “temper” I decided I could not lose my own, and it was best to forget about it.

    But you did it! Great job!

  2. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

    Joanna, you’re a star, thank you for trying these! The raisin bark looks wonderful too – and setting the hazelnut chocolate in moulds is very clever, as it saves all the problems with it cracking when it’s sliced! I’ve never had much luck controlling the temperature with a bain marie – like you found, it always seems to get too hot too soon. Even in the microwave, I melt milk choc at a slightly lower temp than dark. Thanks again, love. :) xx

  3. cityhippyfarmgirl

    Joanna they look superb. My cap well and truly is taken off to you for tempering so well, and the kitchen so tidy! when I have tried it, there is chocolate from floor to ceiling. Now how long will that chocolate last? :-)

  4. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

    Beginner’s luck that’s all. I’ll probably go to the fridge in the morning and they will have turned into frogs :) Come to think of it I have seen some chocolate frogs somewhere…..

  5. Christine

    One really must love the chocolate gods when they smile down at you like this for your first attempt! They look scrumptious and would not last long at all in our house. Tempering is something I’ve never tried…and to have a half empty (half full?) jar of nutella in the pantry is something that just doesn’t happen at all in our house! Well done, they look great! :)

  6. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

    Christmas Chocolate Layer Cake 2009

    Christine, the Nutella was bought for this cake – a birthday/Christmas cake for my Dad last year – one of my more successful efforts in the cake department. Another of Dan Lepard’s awesome creations which he describes as ‘A chocolate layer cake for Christmas with a doubly rich gianduja filling’ so that’s nutella, double cream, chocolate….. you get the idea….

    1. Christine

      oh my, oh my, oh, my…….

      What are you doing to me, showing this first thing in the morning….? I want some! Is this recipe on his website? This cake looks sooo good, Joanna. I couldn’t imagine the filling getting anywhere near the cake..it would all be licked out of the bowl before it got that far! :)

      1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

        It was night time here, sorry :) Here is the link to the recipe. And Dan added a wonderful step by step to the post later. The cake part is what I call a light swiss roll sort of cake but the filling/icing part could be used with any cake of course. It’s very runny to start with and then sets if you can bear to leave it for a day or so……

        I was just reading the cake thread and it seems as if I actually made that particular cake with this chocolate treacle frosting of Dan’s that came from The Guardian Guide to Baking for another cake of his and then mixed it with double cream. That’s because the original recipe makes such a huge amount. But I definitely made the cake as it is written with the gianduja filling too, (I think I made a practice one, being nervous about cakes and then I made the ‘proper one at Christmas’.)

        But I didn’t take a photo of the second one…. wasn’t blogging in those days.

        Joanna’s notes: So I kept the chocolate treacle frosting in the fridge in a tub, and then I think I beat 250 ml of double cream (Heavy cream?) into maybe a half quantity as above. But our favourite Dan Lepard chocolate cake is still this one . We have a weakness for big juicy chocolate cakes in this house, not so keen on elegant low sugar collapsed ones, we like fluffy cake!

  7. Katie

    Oh. My. Could I ever get into this….. But…. How do you not eat it all before you’re done? Oh wait, I know… Make lots and lots!

  8. heidiannie

    You are a brave woman! I am timid and lazy and impatient. I really did just slather some Nutella on top of a chocolate bar and inhaled the combination.
    Maybe when it is cooler and I have more ambition- no – probably not even then! :)
    Good job- they look great!
    You are a woman of many talents!

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Actually, I was avoiding, or procrastinating as my sister would say – having decided that attempting to emulate Celia’s fine chocolate was far more important than the housework, the gardening, my tax, the rest of my life, in fact anything. Truth was I didn ‘t feel like doing much at all, so waiting for melted chocolate to cool down was almost as good as watching paint dry and the perfect excuse not to do anything else at the same time. Bread has a similar function in my life, long periods of contemplation, brief highlights of activity, and the reward of having an oven with a glass door so you can sit and watch it rise…. this is while Brian scurries around achieving in half an hour what it takes me all morning to do..

      It’s just got hot here, I’ve been on the first blackberrying expedition of the late summer, now I have to get the book out and remind myself how to make blackberry jelly. And go for a swim. And that will be it for today.

  9. Christine

    Thankyou SO much for the recipe links, Joanna! And your filling looks just like the original layer cake I’m amazed you can tell them apart. Dee-licious.

    What fun blackberrying! I do love a good forage, lucky you! :)

  10. Dan

    Well done Jo, I am still too scared to try the chocolate thing yet. I really should though, given how terrible U.S. chocolate is. Celia’s instructions are great and I’ve never had a failure following her advice, maybe I should take a leaf out of your book and just do it.

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      I was scared too. And in fact, I don’t think that one go at it, really makes you confident, bit like finding your way somewhere but getting lost several times en route, doesn’t convince you that you will go the right way next time! But, it’s not like it was for anything in particular, so we would probably have eaten it however it turned out!

  11. Choclette

    Don’t know how I missed this one. Joanna, your chocolate is most impressive. I’m still too chicken to try tempering. I promised myself I’d give it a go now whilst I’m on holiday – I want to make truffles, but ……..! I should take inspiration from you.

  12. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

    I saw in the Lakeland catalogue the other day, a hotplatestand warmer thingy, that I thought might possibly do the trick for keeping the chocolate warm… Surely if you are going for truffles, can’t you roll them in something other than tempered chocolate and then it should be easier…

    Have to say that those little rectangles stayed perfect texture wise if kept in the fridge, but the last few were left out one night and then the texture went a bit odd, so I didn’t really get it right… but it was fun anyway :)

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