Help: Chocolate Types, Melting Chocolate, Tempering Chocolate, Royal Icing
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- 2 large egg whites
- 2½ cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- ½ cup water
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 8 ounces white chocolate, chopped into small pieces
- 1 cup walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped
- 12 ounces milk chocolate or, semi-sweet chocolate
- 1 tablespoon shortening (optional, not used if tempering chocolate)
- Royal Icing decoration (optional)
- In a large bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form. Set aside. Tip: Use a stand mixer; a hand mixer is not likely to have enough power for the heavy texture of the candy.
- In a medium-size heavy-bottomed pan, combine sugar, corn syrup, water, and salt. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Stir gently to avoid splashing the mixture onto the sides of the pan. When the mixture begins to simmer, cover the pan tightly with a lid for 3 to 4 minutes to allow condensation to form and run down the inside of the pan to help wash away stray sugar crystals.
- Remove the lid and clip a candy thermometer to the inside of the pan, increase the heat to medium high and bring to a boil, without stirring, until the syrup reaches a temperature of 260 degrees F, a hard ball stage. While the syrup is cooking, wash away any sugar crystals that form on the sides of the pan by wiping upwards with a damp pastry brush so the sugar crystals don’t fall back into the syrup.
- Meanwhile, as the temperature of the syrup reaches about 240 degrees F, continue beating the egg whites on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Stop the mixer, remove the whisk attachment and attach the paddle.
- When the sugar mixture reaches 260 degrees F, Immediately remove pan from the heat and remove the candy thermometer. Tip: Lower the heat when the temperature reaches about 250 degrees to slow the cooking because at this point it will quickly reach 260 degrees. In addition, remove the pan from the heat just before the syrup reaches 260 degrees to prevent it from going over 260 degrees.
- Immediately start pouring the hot sugar mixture, in a thin steady stream, into the beaten egg whites, while beating with the electric mixer at medium speed. This will cause the egg whites to double in volume. Be careful, the sugar is extremely hot and will burn your skin if you touch it.
- Slowly add the vanilla. Increase the speed to high and continue beating at high speed until the candy changes from a smooth shiny texture to a rough dull texture. This can take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes.
- As soon as the texture changes to the rough dull texture, slow the electric mixer to a medium speed and add the white chocolate pieces, stirring until chocolate is melted and mixed in. Add the nuts, and stir until mixed. Tip: the candy will be stiff and difficult to stir. If necessary, turn the mixture out onto a pastry board or marble board and knead with your hands to mix the nuts into the candy.
- Shape candy into egg shapes, about 2” in diameter. Place eggs on baking pan, cover and refrigerate until well chilled, 1 to 2 hours.
If you don’t want to go through the steps of tempering the chocolate, the following directions are for melting chocolate (not tempering.)
- Line a large baking sheet or jelly roll pan with parchment paper or wax paper.
- In top of a double boiler over hot water, melt chocolate and shortening; stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to combine. Set aside to cool. Tip: Create a double boiler by filling a saucepan with 2 inches of water and bringing it to a simmer. Turn the heat off and place a glass bowl, stainless steel bowl, or ceramic bowl on top of the hot water; the upper pan should not touch the water.
- Place the cooled bowl of chocolate over a pan of hot water to keep the chocolate a liquid consistency for dipping.
- Place one egg at a time in the chocolate, gently turn it over with a fork or candy dipping fork. Use the fork to lift the egg out of the chocolate and tap the fork on the rim of the bowl to allow excess chocolate to drip back into the pan, and then draw the underside of the fork over the rim of the pan to remove any drips of chocolate. Gently place the chocolate coated egg on the baking pan, pushing the egg off the fork with another fork. Let eggs sit until the chocolate is dry and firm. Tip: refrigerate chocolate coated eggs about 30 minutes for the chocolate to become firm. However, if the chocolate has been tempered the balls do not need to be refrigerated as the chocolate should set quickly.
- Decorate as desired with Royal Icing (optional.)
- Store in an airtight container so they won’t dry out. Candies dipped with tempered chocolate can generally be stored in a cool place or at room temperature. Candies dipped with melted (untempered chocolate) should generally be stored in the refrigerator.