Saturday 27 August 2011

Daring Baker August 2011 Challenge: Chocolate Candies

The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies! This was a special challenge for the Daring Bakers because the good folks at offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!

This month’s challenge was fun. We were instructed to make two sorts of sweets/chocolates/candies of our own choosing. The only requirement was that one of them had to incorporate chocolate to make a truffle or bonbon, either in the outer shell or in the filling. The other sweet/candy was up to us.

I decided to incorporate chocolate into both my sweets, but using different varieties and in different forms. My first chocolate comprised of using white chocolate to form the outer shell of a filled bonbon. The filling of the bonbon was sweetened black bean paste that I snapped up a few weeks ago from an oriental supermarket. I’ve had red bean paste in Chinese pastries before and loved it, but I’d never seen the black bean variety. It comes in a can and was jet black in colour. It was rich and thick, with a slightly granular texture from the beans, yet sweet with a hint of rosewater that gave it a very delicate flavour. It resulted in a wonderful smooth sweet centre to the crisp white chocolate shell and I loved the black and white colour contrast too.

I used a silicone chocolate mould which helped create the shape and smooth glossy exterior to the chocolates. Plus, it meant they popped out easily when set.

My second sweetie was a thin dark chocolate disc topped with a whole pecan, some dried cranberries and slivers of crystallised ginger. I used a very bitter 85% dark chocolate which gave a wonderful rich chocolate flavour, delicious against the sweet tangy cranberries and the spicy ginger. The nut on top added another texture contrast and worked well with all the other flavours. They were so easy and quick to put together and looked quite stylish. I’ve seen similar things selling for extortionate amounts in shops, so it’s good to know I can produce similar results at home. They’d be great to serve to guests after dinner.

I really enjoyed the freedom we were given with this challenge and it was perfect for me this month as I have been so busy that I wouldn’t have been able to manage anything too time consuming. I love both the chocolates, both very different but equally delicious.

Click to see what tasty chocolate creations the other Daring Bakers made this month.

White Chocolate & Black Bean Truffles
100g white chocolate
10 tsp sweetened black bean paste (from oriental supermarkets)

Melt 80g of the white chocolate and use a small pastry brush to coat the base and sides of small chocolate moulds. Make sure they are generously coated.
Place in the fridge for 5 minutes to chill and set.
Spoon a little of the black bean paste into the centre of the moulds, leaving a tiny gap at the top to allow you to seal them with extra chocolate.
Melt the remaining white chocolate and use to seal/cover the filling to create a white chocolate base to your chocolates.
Place back in the fridge for 10-15 minutes before turning out.
Store in the fridge until ready to serve.

Pecan, Cranberry & Ginger Dark Chocolate Discs
50g dark bitter chocolate (I used 85%)
10 pecan nuts
3 chunks of crystallised ginger, shredded
20g dried cranberries

Draw small circle onto a sheet of paper. Place the paper on a baking tray and cover with clingfilm, so the circles show through underneath.
Melt the dark chocolate and spoon a little into the centre of each of the circles. Use the back of a teaspoon to spread the chocolate into the circle shapes.
While the chocolate is still soft, scatter over your choice of dried fruit and nuts.
Place in the fridge to set for 10 minutes.
Once set, carefully peel the chocolate discs off the clingfilm and store in the fridge until ready to serve.


Chele said...

What a treat and such a great challenge too! Like you I really like the white and black pairing of your truffles and the black bean is a filling I've not come across before so now I am totally intrigued. Love your little chocolate 'freckles' too (that's what we call them back home!)

Katie said...

The whole pecans in your chocolate bark look so elegant. I love the idea of using bean paste as a filling in truffles. I've never had that before!

Heather said...

Those look amazing!

Simones Kitchen said...

That looks fantastic! I've always planned on making my own candies at some point, well in fact I followed a course for it too years ago but I never done it at home!

Anonymous said...

They really do look like the stuff you buy in Hotel Chocolat! You should go into business!

Laura said...

Oooohhhhh myyyy!!!

Caroline said...

I love the contrast of the white chocolate and dark filling - very attractive. I've never heard of that bean paste before, but it sounds interesting!

I've made something similar to your second sweet before and it's amazing how something so simple can look so effective (and how much shops charge for them!!).

Please Do Not Feed The Animals. said...

These both look very high-end! So impressed. The bean paste ones sound so grown up and the contrast between the black and white is amazing. I don't know but there is something so decadent about the inside being so black and oozy and inviting.
I had to laugh when you mentioned that you felt the challenge was good because it wasn't too time consuming - I chickened out as I felt exactly the opposite. Just feeling a bit rushed this month, I think.

Johanna GGG said...

they both look amazing - though i prefer eatin dark chocolate, I always find that white chocolate looks so smooth and elegant

The Caked Crusader said...

Wow - everything look so professional!

Cyrus Summy said...

Mm, it looks like you'd win that challenge. Those chocolates look fantastic, and they probably taste awesome. Your skills in chocolate making is certainly impressive.