Hi there one and all!
Today I’ve stepped away from the bentos to show you something else Japanese inspired.
In Japan Valentine’s day is celebrated a little differently.
On Valentine’s day women give out chocolates to their friends, co-workers and maybe even give out something special for the one they really have their eye on.
There is another event, White day, for men to reciprocate exactly one month later.
A little time to consider those feelings eh?
For that extra special person on Valentine’s day, honmei choko, or favourite chocolate, is given.
It could be the best chocolates you can buy, chocolates with a secret confession inside or it could be chocolates made at home with love!
In light of the coming Valentine’s day, I decided to try my hand at some special home-made honmei choko this year!
Sure you could just buy some at Thorntons or the like but these come straight from the heart, well, not literally as that would be pretty unhygienic but you get my drift!
Now for these you will need some chocolate moulds.
They don’t have to be specially brought, they can be fancy ice cube trays or silicon moulds, just make sure they’re non stick.
For some of mine I have actually used moulds where the chocolates were sold in them, then popped out, eaten and now reused!
Apart from some fancy shapes like love hearts, there isn’t much special equipment needed for these.
You will need a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of water for melting your chocolate, determined hands that won’t nibble all the chocolate and tid bits in sight and 12-24 hours to let them set.
When they’re all done you can decorate them, and the box you’re giving to your beloved to your hearts content!
For mine I used Glacé cherries, flaked almonds and oats to compliment the chocolate I chose.
Do go ahead and choose your own favourite chocolate and fillings though make sure they are dry ingredients as wet ones won’t work well!
Pepper’s Valentine’s Day Home Made Japanese Honmei Choko Chocolates
Makes approx 20, depending on size & shape
250g your favourite chocolate, I used Galaxy.
1 tub Glacé Cherries
1 package flaked almonds
1 teaspoon of porridge oats
Red sugar crystals to decorate
Place a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of water, without the water touching the bowl, and place on a medium heat.
Break the chocolate into equal sized pieces and place into the bowl.
Stir the chocolate constantly until it in evenly melted and pliable.
Take it off of the heat and set aside.
Take your clean chocolate moulds and make sure they are completely dry in every nook and cranny.
To make a chocolate with a cherry inside, choose a deeper mould and spoon a small amount of chocolate into the bottom of the mould.
Press the cherry in about halfway then cover with more spoons of chocolate.
To make a chocolate with a flaked almond on top place an attractive almond piece in the bottom of the mould then spoon in chocolate.
Do the same but first place flaked almonds in a bag and crush them with a rolling pin for a speckled top.
To make an oat chocolate, spoon a small amount of chocolate into the mould, just to cover, then stir in a small amount of oats until covered the chocolate.
Spoon the oats into the mould and smooth off the top.
Once your designs are created, make sure the mould is completely full and smooth each off on top.
Tap your moulds gently but firmly on a flat surface until air bubbles rise to the surface, then pop.
Keep doing this until there are no more bubbles surfacing. You may get small “holes” in the bottoms of your chocolates, don’t worry!
Place the chocolates in a cool place, not your fridge or freezer though, to set.
It will depend on the size and shape of your mould but should be completely dry within 12-24 hours.
Once your chocolates are dry, Un-mould them.
Have a flat container of warm water ready in case some don’t budge.
Place them in for 15 seconds, then remove and try again.
Keep doing this if they still don’t budge, increasing time as you see fit.
Don’t use a knife or similar objects to pry them out as they might mark, break or scratch the chocolates.
Using a sharp knife, carefully cut around any excess chocolate that may appear around the edges of your chocolate shapes.
I placed my chocolates in paper cases on a bed of flaked almonds and red sugar crystals but decorate your box and chocolates as you choose!
Serve to the man or woman you love with a bashful smile and a twinkle in your eye!