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Do I like chocolate? I LOVE CHOCOLATE!

I am good at eating chocolate no doubt about that, but I am definitely still a novice when comes to tempering chocolate. The first time that I able to temper chocolate successfully was making this huge white chocolate mousse and raspberry gateau for a 18th birthday. I don’t think I will be in a rush to become a full time cake decorator just yet, but the experience has definitely conjured up a new appreciation of chocolate tempering and I wanted to learn more.

When Sara and Amanda invited all Australian food bloggers to join in this fun idea of The Sweet Swap, it was the perfect opportunity for me to play more with chocolate and I also always wanted to make my own chocolate truffles. No, not the ones that you roll in your hands; but those glossy, shiny chocolate blocks that filled with different flavours which normally found behind the glass cabinet in a chocolate shop taunting you.

After two fail attempts, when finally seeing those glossy chocolate truffles popping out of the silicon mould and looking almost like the ones at the shop – a squeal, a fist pump and happy dance in the kitchen were inevitable.

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These truffles are dark chocolate filled with salted caramel and also popping candy hidden inside. Yes, it is ATFT logo on top of the truffles! For those who asked, the seal is made by Wax Seal Shop. I was planning to use it to make stationery for my blog, but hey, it works on chocolate just as fine!

As part of The Sweet Swap, these little chocolate truffles were sent to Anna, Daisy and Dimitra. It was the designer gene in me that I even spent quite some time to design the packaging. Sadly, I can see chocolate truffles didn’t travel well in the post as some of the logo imprints on top were broken into pieces. Ah well, will have to redesign my packaging next time to be more snug fit so the truffles don’t have too much space to bump and move around.

I am also very lucky to receive homemade Toffeefay from Rhonda, pistachio, coconut and walnut nougat from Amanda and Espresso fudge from Alex. Thank you so much! And thanks once again to Sara and Amanda for this great fun concept also for a good cause. For those who missed out, hope you will be able to join in the fun next year if not sooner.

For those who feel like a challenge and want to face the chocolate demon, here is the recipe.

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Salted Caramel & Popping Candy Dark Chocolate Truffles

Makes 60 truffles

800g dark chocolate
250g milk chocolate
salted caramel (recipe can be found in Have You Eaten? cookbook)

Popping candy tiles
20g cocoa butter (or chocolate) coated popping candy
200g milk chocolate

1. The popping candy tiles can be made a day earlier. Melt milk chocolate in microwave at 30 seconds bursts, take it out and give it a stir at every 30 secs interval until all chocolate is melted. Leave it to cool to room temperature. Line a baking tray with baking paper then spread popping candy on top without too much gaps, once chocolate is cool enough, pour on top to cover all popping candy, spread evenly with a palette knife if necessary. Place the tray in refrigerator for 5 minutes to let it set. Take it out and cut the chocolate into 1cm x 1cm tiles. Store the tiles in air tight seal container until ready to be used.

2. Choose a silicon mould of your preference, wash it with dish soap and then wipe completely dry. I use a 15-hole square chocolate silicon mould

3. Place 350g dark and 125g milk chocolate in a heat proof bowl, then melt the chocolate over a double boiler, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the simmering water, stir occasionally. Using a sugar thermometer, read the temperature of the melting chocolate until it reaches about 40C, with a few small lumps of chocolate in the bowl still hasn’t been melted. Take the bowl off the heat, as the temperature will keep rising and quickly add an extra 50 grams of dark chocolate in the mixture and keep stirring until all melted.

4. Leave the chocolate aside and give it a stir occasionally, we want the temperature drops to 27C, takes about 15 to 20 minutes. Alternatively, if you have granite or marble bench top, and want to speed up the process, pour half the melted chocolate on the bench, spread it to a thick later using a palette life then scrape it back into the bowl and mix with the rest, the temperature will drop much quicker and repeat until it reaches 27C.

5. Place the bowl back over the double boiler (with heat off if the water is still steamy), give it a stir and bring the chocolate temperature back up to around 32C, usually take it off the heat when it reaches around 30C. It is important not to let the temperature rises over 32C. Now your chocolate is tempered and ready to be used.

6. Place the mould on a flat edgeless baking tray, or a wire rack over a sheet of baking paper, pour the chocolate into the mould, then spread it evenly with a palette knife, making sure all the holes are filled. Give the tray a few taps on the bench to get rid of air pockets. Transfer the mould to a clean tray and place it in the refrigerator for 3 minutes. Meantime, just scrape the dripped chocolate on the tray or on baking paper back into the bowl of tempered chocolate.

7. Remove the mould from the refrigerator, and tip the mould upside down to pour the chocolate back into the bowl, shake off any excess. Now all holes should filled with chocolate shells.

8. Fill a piping bag with salted caramel, pipe caramel into each hole without filling to the top, leaving about 5mm. Place one tile of popping candy in each hole, press it down until all the gaps are filled with salted caramel. Finally, pour another layer of the tempered chocolate over the mould, spread evenly with palette knife and scrape off the excess. Place the mould back in the refrigerator for 5 minutes.

9. Wear plastic gloves if possible so that you don’t leave any finger prints on the chocolate. Take the chocolate mould out of the refrigerator and pop the chocolate truffles out of the mould.

10. Repeat step 2 to 9, until all chocolate used. When re-melting the chocolate at Step 3, you can top up the chocolate by adding only 200g of dark chocolate and 50g of milk chocolate, so long is enough chocolate to make another batch without too much excess.

11. Package.