27 May 2009

Belated Easter presents

After my escapades in Art You Can Eat last year, I decided to try my hand at these cuties. The concept of modelling chocolate was very novel as well, I have no confidence in working with chocolate, what with failing miserably with both the chocolate eclairs and the baumkuchen.

So this Easter I thought I'd do them for Lou and Falbala. In fact, Falbala specifically asked about it, just to be on the safe side, in case I'd forgotten.


As with New Year, Easter celebrations with the family were not to be and I haven't seen either of them since well before Easter. Which worked out rather well, I'd no time to make the bunnies then.

Now, Kinder eggs are easy to get hold of. But for the modelling chocolate, the recipe called for cocoa butter. I'm aware of it's magical powers, but finding some turned out tricky and the best I could find on the topic of substitutes was groundnut oil, though the article was talking about molecules etc, not how it behaves in cooking.

But a stroke of luck, waiting a few weeks and searching slightly differently cropped up this online chocolatier supplier - Squires Kitchen. So I quickly ordered 100 g of the precious material. It was pricey for sure.

Then I read the recipe - there was no need for the cocoa butter at all! Well, perhaps there is, depending on the type of chocolate, I remember from the patisserie class, though that was mostly on the percentage of cocoa. Never mind.

I did a search for modelling chocolate and most recipes were about chocolate and corn syrup, again something that I've not been able to find in the UK. But the recipe for the bunnies listed glucose and sugar and I also found another one, which had slightly different proportions and only used glucose. I opted for the bunny one, but I halved the amounts. The recipe didn't specify the type of sugar, so I went for caster sugar.

Melted the chocolate in a bain marie, then heated up water, glucose and sugar until the sugar had dissolved, then poured it into the chocolate and stirred. The mixture didn't go as solid as some of the instructions implied, but it did go a bit harder and developed the look and feel of soft toffee. I left it to cool, then put in the fridge. That was yesterday.


Today I took it out and it was pretty solid. Leaving it on the side while we had dinner didn't change that much, but as suggested, kneading softened it up quite nicely, to the point of melting it again, so hot tip is to only do this in a cold kitchen and on a cold surface if available and only use finger tips.

I weighed up pieces of 10 g for each foot, ear and tail. Once I'd shaped each foot and the tail, I put them together in a triangle on top of a wafer, then pushed the Kinder egg in place. With a tooth pick, I carefully shaped the toes, then put the bunnies in the fridge for a bit, while shaping the ears.


Then the ears went in the fridge as well and I put some water in a shallow pan and put a small ramekin in it with a few squares of white chocolate. While it melted, I made a small cone from baking paper and spooned in the melted chocolate. Then quickly drew eyes and teeth - the stuff is well runny when it's melted and even the cold Kinder egg didn't make it go solid. I was so worried that things would just go runny, but luckily they didn't. Into the fridge again, while preparing the same arrangement for dark chocolate, with which I drew the pupils of the eyes.


I made a couple of attempts at gluing the ears with the dark chocolate, but it just was too runny and didn't work at all. I had to wipe it off, then soften the bottom edge of each ear and push gently into the egg.

Hi, hi, blind and bald.

Finally I made four small balls from the modelling chocolate and put over the teeth as well. The bunnies are now in the fridge until Saturday, when I'll give them to Lou and Falbala. I hope they like them. Which is why I won't publish this post until then. I think next time, I'll make smaller and thinner ears and pre-paint the bunny faces.

Update March 2013:
It seems the website where I found the original recipe for modelling chocolate is no more, so here it is for milk chocolate
200 g milk chocolate
2.5 tbsp corn syrup

Break up the chocolate into pieces if necessary and melt either over a bain marie or in the microwave until completely melted.
Take care not to burn the chocolate if melting in the microwave - do it in 10 s steps on maximum power, stirring between each run.
When all the chocolate is melted, add the corn syrup and quickly stir together. It will seize up and look a bit grainy almost immediately. Keep going until the syrup is completely mixed in.
Place in a plastic food/freezer bag, squeeze out as much of the air as possible and tie it tightly, then let rest in the fridge for at least 2 h.
When ready to use it, take out from the fridge, and carefully work it until it becomes pliable and feels like plasticine. If very solid, cut up into smaller pieces first. Also take care to work it using only your fingers, so it doesn't melt and separate.

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