Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Like Water For Chocolate

Oh, now I get it.

I'm not the world's best cook. It may even be stretching the point to use the word 'cook'. However, this is my last week of maternity leave, and dammit, I've been attempting to 'parent'.

I had a half-remembered childhood memory of edible Easter nests made with shredded wheat and chocolate. It seemed like a good idea at the time. After all, how hard can it be to;

a) crumble shredded wheat in bowl,

b) melt chocolate,

c) mix shredded wheat and chocolate to form nests.

What a great mother-daughter project! Instant happy childhood memories!

I even sort of remembered that you should melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Not having one to hand though, I decided to wing it. While Anna steadily ate her way through square after square of Cadbury's chocolate I set about boiling some water. I floated a dish in a pan (so far so good!) and put the chocolate inside. Genius! Except when I tried to stir the chocolate the dish tipped ever so slightly and the smallest amount of water mixed with the chocolate where it turned in to instant crap. Of course, I didn't realise what had happened and thought, hmm, it's taking an awfully long time for this chocolate to melt. Maybe I'll just turn the heat up a bit. After five more minutes of chocolate death I did what all self-respecting chefs do, which is swear profusely (sorry Anna) and dash upstairs to google 'my chocolate won't melt *sob* and all I'm trying to do is create memories for my child and the only thing she's taking away from this is a sugar high and the words jesus fucking christ how the fuck can chocolate not melt when it's 110 fucking degrees'. That search amazingly turns up all manner of articles.

Apparently even the slightest hint of water will make your chocolate wither and die. Like water for chocolate. *Oh*. Who knew chocolate was so temperamental? I did find a few 'post chocolate-death rescue ideas' on google but they mostly involved controlled temperatures, vegetable shortening (WTF?) and cookery skills, and as I was making these nests for a class of 3 year olds I decided a fresh attempt with new chocolate rather than possibly killing them all with random cupboard items was best. "Well Mrs B. I'm sorry the chocolate nests turned out a little strange, but I tried to rescue my buggered chocolate with vegetable shortening, but as I didn't have any of that I just used miniature carrots instead...."

Alarmed by the nuclear mushroom cloud above my head, LK fled to the shops for more chocolate. I had a cup of tea and prepared for round two. Which worked.

More effortless perfection from the kitchen of AliBlahBlah.....


Sugarplum's Mom said...

Oh that is so frustrating! I made cake balls at Christmas time and tried to use butter to temper my chocolate for dipping.. butter doesn't work. Must use Crisco. Or candy melts from the craft store which are already tempered. Try that next time.

I also had two batches of fudge seize up on me two weeks ago.. I think the cream/sugar mixture was too hot when I tried to melt the chocolate into it.

I'm glad your second attempt worked out -those are too cute!

Jane said...

They look amazing. Glad it worked out in the end, but I share your frustration.

Daffodilly said...

We made them with rice krispies...yummy! Well done on perservering....especially with a newbon & a toddler..

Little Britainer said...

*oh*. I had no idea about the chocolate and water thing either. That explains a lot.

They looked gorgeous - though I have to say, I think I like the sound of rice crispies nests better...

seadragon said...

Hilarious story, but wonderful that they turned out so CUTE in the end!

Ali said...

Hehehe. I remember the first time that chocolate seized on me. They look lovely. Well done.

Hyphen Mama said...

I had NO IDEA what that saying meant! Now I know.

At Christmas time I had to melt chocolate for something and had no double boiler. I used a large pyrex measuring cup and tried put it in boiling pan of water, that didn't work after what seemed like ages, so then I tried tiny-tiny-tiny bits at a time in the microwav and added TINY bits of milk. It worked, luckily, because I had no idea you could melt chocolate wrongly. Heat + chocolate = melted chocolate. Who knew it could go bad?

Your nests are lovely, by the way.

Anonymous said...

But, they turned out sooo cute!

With it being Spring Break and all here, I may have to don some apron strings and give those nests a go.

Anonymous said...

easiest choc. melting: put choc chips in pyrex in microwave, stir every 45 secs.

susane said...

Indeed, this realization is a true wonder, thank you for this article anyway.

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