Friday, February 21, 2014

Chocolate Box 101

So, I finally finished my chocolate box. It was sort of a gigantic project to accomplish in only a few class periods. But, it was definitely an incredible learning experience. I was literally covered in chocolate at the end of each day. I would even find chocolate flecks on my face sometimes. I'm assuming my freckles hid them enough that no one thought I needed to be informed. haha!

Every aspect of the box is edible from the feet of the box to the gold dust I brushed all over the box. To make the actual box I tempered a bunch of dark chocolate, poured some chocolate on a parchment covered sheet pan and spread it out. Then I let it cool and set at room temperature. I repeated this process until it was as thick as I wanted it to be. When the last layer was almost completely set I used a warm knife to cut out the pieces for the box. Once all the pieces were completely set I used tempered chocolate in a piping bag as the "glue" to piece it all together. It was definitely delicate work.

Once the box was completely assembled I brushed the whole thing with an edible gold dust to give it a rustic look. I used chocolate fondant for the ribbon and the polka dots on the top.

I then filled the bottom of the box with chocolate shavings (both dark and white). Then I arranged all of my homemade chocolates inside to display them. For the chocolates we had to include one of each of the following:

Dark chocolate confection
Milk chocolate confection
White chocolate confection
and some kind of jelly (made with pectin or gelatin)

All of these were made completely from scratch as well and I tempered all of the chocolate for each of these confections. Even after all of this chocolate business I still feel like there is so much more to learn about chocolate. I will get there. Eventually.

So, anyway, I am pretty happy that the box didn't a) crumble or break on me b) turned out somewhat professional looking and c) had the antique/rustic look I was going for. Here are some pictures of the entire process:
"glueing" the sides to the base

I used silicon molds for the spherical feet 

Me using the guitar cutter to cut my confections. This contraption uses real guitar strings to cut the chocolates.

Strawberry and chocolate confections waiting to be dipped in chocolate

Left side: Strawberry and chocolate cream filled chocolates. Right side: Dark chocolate sticks with sea salt, craisins and pistachios.

Brushing my box with gold dust

The lid to my box before I secured everything on.

Adding a little detail to hide the seams

The finished product

Filled with my homemade confections. Top left: Mango and cherry jellies, Top: Strawberry and milk chocolate creme filled chocolates, Top right: Dark chocolate sticks, Bottom: White chocolate and raspberry ganache filled chocolates. 

Finally complete

Let's hope I get an A!