Tempered Dark Chocolate (for confectionary dipping)
Instructions on how to temper dark chocolate to dip confectionary and make chocolate shapes, etcIt is important to temper your chocolate if you want an even, clear chocolate coat. Chocolate which is used ‘out of temper’ will ‘bloom’ and have a mottled, dull, uneven appearance.
Melting Chocolate method - See NOTES for options (Temperatures for Dark Chocolate only)
Finely chop the dark chocolate and place about a third in a separate bowl and set aside.
Place the remaining two-thirds in a small heat-proof glass bowl (or saucepan if that is the method you are using).
Cautiously melt the chocolate by your chosen method until it reaches a temperature of 48-50 C/118-122 F, stirring continuously with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon.
Immediately remove from the heat when the correct temperature is reached.
The chocolate now needs to be cooled which can take several minutes, whilst 'seeding'.
To ‘seed’ the melted chocolate, add the unmelted chopped chocolate a little at a time, stirring well between each addition to ensure the chocolate is completely melted.
Monitor the temperature very closely as it drops. When it reaches 32 C/89.6 F, it is ready to use.You will now need to work quickly, as the chocolate will only be ‘in temper’ between 31 C (87.8 F) and 32 C (89.6 F).
Use a cocktail stick or chocolate dipping fork carefully poked into the side of the marzipan sweet to hold it. Then dip into the melted chocolate (top down), leaving the base of the marzipan uncovered. This is a fiddly process, but it will get easier with practice.
Place the dipped sweet non-chocolate side down on a sheet of baking paper and carefully remove the fork or cocktail stick immediately (without touching the chocolate with your fingers if possible). Twisting the cocktail stick can help.
Repeat the process working quickly through the batch of marzipan sweets, but be sure to check the chocolate temperature frequently.
If the temperature drops below 31 C (87.8 F), stop dipping and very gently reheat back to the required temper temperature of 32 C/89.6 F (BUT - do not allow the temperature to rise above 33 C/92 F, or you will need to start the whole heating-cooling process again).Ensure the temperature is at 32 C (89.6 F) before continuing to dip the marzipan.
Continue until all your chocolates are coated. If you run out of melted chocolate (or the depth of chocolate in the bowl drops too low to dip effectively) remember to start the whole heating-cooling process again.
Leave the half-coated chocolates to set.
When set, turn the chocolates over to reveal the marzipan underside.
Repeat the melting-cooling process to temper a little more chocolate (use the remaining chocolate in the bowl and some additional chopped chocolate if necessary).
Carefully brush chocolate onto the base of each sweet to cover the marzipan completely.
Leave to set at room temperature.
Once cool, decorate as you wish : I used a tiny dab of melted chocolate to stick on pieces of pistachio or secure dipped roasted ground almond and for the orange marzipan, some edible glitter brushed onto the surface.
* Note: nutritional information is an estimate & may vary according to portion size/ingredient variants.The chocolate quantity is approximate. There is likely to be some chocolate left at the end, but you need enough to get a good depth for dipping chocolates. Any left-over chocolate can be re-tempered and reused.You can melt your chocolate either :
Using a bain marie : setting your bowl above a pan of barely simmering water. You will only need a couple of centimetres depth of water and need to be very careful not to get any water from the pan or steam in the bowl as a tiny drop can cause the chocolate to seize.
In a microwave, at medium and set for no more than 30 second bursts, stirring between each. You need to keep a very close eye on the temperature and reduce the number of seconds at which you heat the chocolate when you get close to temperature.
In a small saucepan directly over a very low heat, stirring continuously and ensuring you remove the pan from the heat immediately the temperature is reached and transfer the melted chocolate to a bowl to prevent further heating.
Find the method that you feel most comfortable with.