Courtesy of the very generous Kieran & Jake at The Chocolution and the lovely Julia, veteran UK food blogger and founder of the UKFBA, I recently received a beautiful Mayan Magic Chocolate-Making Kit in the post.
A slightly rainy bank holiday Monday seemed the ideal day to hide inside from the weather and get to work! I had already decided to divide the ingredients and create two distinct chocolates – fresh Coriander Chocolate Penguins and Honey & Walnut Squares. I had gathered and dried the walnuts myself, when visiting a friend in France a while back. The walnut oil was purchased on the same trip from a small-scale, high-quality producer selling at the local market.
As advised in the simple and straightforward instructions, I prepared my extra ingredients first.
Using a bain-marie, I melted just over half the butters provided – a combination of cacao butter and coconut butter.
The powder mix contains Ecuadorian raw cacao, Peruvian carrob powder and lucuma fruit powder. Some of these had solidified into a loose lump, which I broke into chunks before stirring the powder into the melted butters. It took quite some effort to break the small lumps down fully and achieve a smooth consistency.
The kit provides a pot of agave nectar as a natural sweetener. A few teaspoons of this went into the mix next.
Finally, I stirred in the chopped coriander leaves.
I carefully spooned the finished coriander chocolate into a penguin ice-cube mould, popped the tray into the fridge to set and got to work on my second batch.
Using less than half the butters provided, I added in some walnut oil to make up the volume and (hopefully) add an extra kick of walnut flavour.
This time I scraped the solid powder into smaller slivers before adding all the powders into the melted butters and oil and stirring in.
Instead of agave nectar, I used honey to sweeten the second batch.
For some of the honey and walnut chocolates, I placed pieces of walnut into the ice-cube mould and spooned the chocolate over them. For the rest, I stirred in some walnuts into the remaining chocolate and spooned these into empty moulds. The second ice-cube tray joined the first in the fridge to set.
After an impatient couple of hours, I removed the chocolates from their moulds, hoping they wouldn’t fall into pieces or melt at my touch.
So how were they? I was impatient to finally try my creations! Although my Coriander Chocolate Penguins lacked a glossy surface, they tasted wonderful! The fresh coriander came through loud and clear and the agave nectar gave just the right amount of sweetness against the dark cocoa.
The Honey & Walnut Squares also worked well. They had a much smoother surface than the penguins. I don’t know if this is down to breaking the powders down more before mixing them into the butters or simply because the penguin mould is rubber whereas the square one is made from plastic. The honey worked well as a sweetener, though I’d perhaps use a more strongly flavoured variety next time. The walnut crunch was lovely against the smoothess of the chocolate.
All in all, I’m thrilled to bits with my first ever, home-made chocolates! The Mayan Magic Chocolate-Making Kit can be ordered online and I think it would make a wonderful gift for chocolate-loving friends!
Oh and thanks to Pete for taking some of the photographs for me, when my hands (and mouth) were full!