After I purchased the bunny, my curiosity was piqued. I went on ebay and bought a really cool chocolate egg mold. It has three different egg designs. My favorite is the basket weave. These are half eggs which will be marvelous filled with coconut or peanut butter cream, or some type of ganache.
Tonight I decided to try my hand at tempering chocolate.
When tempered properly, chocolate will solidify with a glossy smooth sheen that is ideal for chocolate easter bunnies and chocolate filled eggs. If chocolate is not tempered correctly it tends to develop a white powdery coating called "bloom". Bloom isn't harmful, it just isn't very attractive.
The task of tempering is a little intimidating- but, the good news is that if you mess it up, you can just start over and no harm is done. So there really is nothing to be afraid of here
Callebaut and Valharona are two types of excellent quality chocolate preferred by expert chocolatiers. Unfortunately, I was not able to find these (I confess I did not look very hard). I selected Dilettante because they are a local operation and their quality is high.
I set to work and followed chef, David Lebovitz',advice for tempering. He makes it sound so darn easy:
(excerpt from: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/archives/2005/08/tempering_choco.html)
1. The first step is melting the chocolate in a clean, dry bowl set over simmering water, to about 115° F.
2. The second step it to let it cool to the low 80°s F. I drop a good-sized chunk of solid (and tempered) chocolate in, which provides insurance by 'seeding' the melted chocolate with good beta crystals. While cooling, stir frequently. Motion equals good crystallization, aka, tempering.
3. The last step is the most important.
It's bringing the chocolate up to the perfect temperature, where it's chock-full of those great beta crystals. This occurs in most dark chocolates between 88° and 91° F. (Check with manufacturer if unsure about your particular chocolate.)
4. Remove what's left of the chunk of 'seed' chocolate, and your chocolate is dip-worthy: you can dip all the chocolates you want and all will be perfectly tempered. Don't let it get above 91° F or you'll have to begin the process all over again. If it drops below the temperatures, rewarm it gently to bring it back up.
My Result: Overall, I found the process really was quite easy. It takes a little while for the chocolate to cool to the 80 degrees and I caught myself a couple of times wanting to move on before the temperature was right. However, I stayed the course and my tempering results were pretty good.
The beautiful thing about working with chocolate as a medium is that tastes so good. I am sure that I am well over my calorie count for today from all of the tasting I have done. These delicious little mishaps are going right back into the double boiler and I will need to apply a little research to solve these chocolate molding issues (hopefully, before Easter next Sunday). I will keep you posted on the progress of that.