Friday, February 15, 2008

Love Rocks

in more ways than one!! This week was particularly trying for me. Juggling a packed work schedule crammed with meetings and deadlines, Valentines’ Day glimmered like the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. I wanted to surprise my husband, A with something really special. So I thought of making something rather than buying a gift off the shelf. And what could be better than a gaily wrapped package of home made chocolates … the food of the gods! Having decided what to make, then came the trickier part - how to make it. I always thought that making chocolates was a rather complicated affair (and I was very nearly proved right).

A hurried net search, amidst budget workings and annual planning sessions, yielded a seemingly simple recipe for chocolate truffles. I must say that Nupur’s blog is an absolute treasure trove of deliciously simple sounding recipes beautifully illustrated with the most amazing photographs. Her tea tinged truffles looked easy enough for a novice like me to brave an attempt. So finally on Sunday evening, while A was away at an arts festival, I rolled up my sleeves and got down to serious business. Hacking the cooking chocolate slabs into chips was one tough job, let me tell you (I still have the blisters to prove it). Next came the flavouring – I chose coffee. So far, so good. And then, was the clincher – carefully measuring the cream in just the right proportion. And here is where I messed up! Converting weights and measures has never been my strong suit and the ratio of chocolate : cream that I used went dismally wrong. After that it was downhill all the way! The chocolate simply refused to harden enough to set and get moulded into shapes. As the days rolled by, I used to rush home every night and make a beeline for the refrigerator to check if the chocolate had set. And every night was a study in disappointment :(

Finally, my colleague E suggested that I use the good ol’ double boiler method to melt chocolate and said that it should not take more than 10 minutes to set. Oh joy! That sounded too good to be true (given the fact that it was already 13th Feb by then and I just had that one night to work on my surprise). I dashed home early that evening and followed E’s melting instructions to the T. I then added my own touches by mixing in rice crispies and cashew bits to make a fresh batch of chocolate rocks. And lo and behold, after around 20 minutes in the deep freeze, they moulded beautifully. Arranging them in a decorative gift box and presenting it to A that night … well all I can say is that Love certainly Rocks!

Chocolate Cashew Rocks
(makes 16 pieces)


Cooking chocolate (milk) – 160 gms
Cashew pieces – 50 gms
Rice crispies – 3-4 tsp


1. Chop chocolate into fine pieces and place in a heavy heat proof bowl
2. Chop cashews into small bits
3. Pour about 2-3 inches of water in a pot and place over heat till the water boils
4. Take off from fire and hold the chocolate bowl over the hot water pot
5. Whisk briskly till the chocolate is fully melted
6. Stir in the cashew pieces and rice crispies
7. Leave the chocolate mixture in the freezer till set (approx 20 mins)
8. Take spoonfuls of the set chocolate mixture and mould into desired shapes
9. Store the chocolate rocks in the refrigerator wrapped in foil to preserve the shape

My tips:

1. While whisking the chocolate, take the bowl down from the hot water pot periodically to avoid overheating and / or possible burning

2. Be careful not to let the condensation from the hot water touch the bottom of the chocolate bowl, else the chocolate will
seize and not set properly

3. You can also melt the chocolate in the microwave. Do so in short bursts of 5-8 seconds at a time, stirring after each interval

4. You may choose to add in any other chopped nuts / dried fruits of your choice to make chocolate rocks in a variety of flavours

5. You may also choose to use a medley of chocolate chips in varying proportion – milk, semi sweet, bitter – depending on the degree of sweetness you enjoy

6. For those of you living in Mumbai, check out Arif’s at Crawford Market for their range of cooking chocolate. Arif’s is your quintessential one-stop shop for anything to do with chocolate making and baking stuff at very reasonable prices. The Morde brand of cooking chocolate is the most popular. Make sure you buy the pure chocolate slabs, and not the compound

Psssst – I still have the earlier chocolate mess languishing in my freezer. Any thoughts on how to salvage it would be much appreciated

1 comment:

zeek said...

Ok, first off, I'm hoping that chocolatey mess is not STILL in your freezer!

In case you have a newer batch of the stuff, you could either make it into a ganache (basically a mix of melted chocolate and heavy cream). You could use the ganache as a frosting, or melt it further and use it as a sauce that can be used in a fondue.

Hope this helps