Something to Add to Your Valentine’s Gifts
Of course you should be shopping at Handmade Artists for your Valentine’s Day gifts, that goes without saying. But there’s nothing wrong with adding something you made with your own two hands too.
Chocolate! The mainstay of the holiday. And even if you’re not a fan of Valentine’s Day… who’s not a fan of chocolate?
You can get excellent chocolate at various supply sites, but even craft and party stores have some stuff that tastes really good and melts well. Just head to the chocolate-making section, pick up some great colors (and pay attention to flavors!) and get some molds. If you’re going for lollipop molds, be sure to get sticks, and don’t forget some cute boxes or plastic treat bags to keep them edible.
Believe it or not, making chocolate treats that are great looking and delicious can be really easy. Example? These lollipops I made last year.
They’re a simple dark chocolate with sea salt.
How’d it happen? Melting chocolate is easy; you can do it in the microwave, but it’s a lot less finicky over a double boiler. Just follow two rules: do not overheat the chocolate, and do not get water in the chocolate. Water+chocolate=unusable crystals. Ask me how I know.
When the chocolate is completely melted and smooth, spoon it into the mold, being sure not to overfill. While they’re still melted, place the sticks and roll them back and forth in place to ensure the end is completely covered by chocolate. Once it hardens, this will keep the pops from breaking right off the sticks. Then tap the mold to release any air bubbles. For these, I sprinkled sea salt over them, then popped them into the fridge to harden.
Delicious, impressive, and so easy!
Want to try something even more impressive? How about filled chocolates. You’ll need a mold with deep enough impressions, chocolate, filling of some sort (I’m personally partial to peanut butter and nutella), and a small clean paintbrush, preferably one dedicated to the kitchen only.
I filled these with nutella.
Again, melt the chocolate, then spoon just a small amount into each mold. With the paintbrush, brush the molten chocolate up the sides of each mold impression until they’re opaquely covered with no thin spots. Fridge until solid. Spoon a small amount of filling into each, being sure to keep it lower than the top edge of the impression, then spoon more molten chocolate over the top of each. Again, tap to release air bubbles and create a flat, even surface, then refrigerate until hardened.
With the same technique, these chocolate hearts were filled with peanut butter.
When it comes to removing the chocolates from the molds, be gentle. Don’t turn the mold over until it’s over a paper towel or plate, as some will be nice and loose and immediately fall out. With others, you’ll need to press gently on the center of each impression to release the chocolates. If they’re being really contrary and sticking, they’re not yet done and need more time in the fridge.
Imagine… a handmade gift you buy is absolutely terrific. A handmade gift you buy plus chocolates you make yourself is a win!
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