Sunday, March 25, 2018

Making Chocolate Easter Candy

Lent is here so if you need to make enough chocolates for more than just one child, it's not too soon to start making and putting away candy for your children or grandchildren.  

It's easy to just buy what you need and there is not doubt that there is a large selection of all sorts of chocolates to be purchased.  I have a candy maker, Pollak Candy, in Etna, Pennsylvania who has been the source of my candy wants for many years.  They have the best blend of chocolate and my second love the nougat filled easter eggs that are wrapped in foil.  Their page can be found on Facebook.

In the end the only reason to make your own is for the personal satisfaction and to save the expense of high pricing.  If you are just starting out I suggest making the simple pieces such as the crosses and wafer bunnies, chicks and hens.  As you get more experience you can move up to the larger solid standing bunnies and baskets.

In our house, my husband was the candy maker.  We had 7 children and it was just more economical to make his own chocolate and he always made his candy from the purest chocolate he could find.  It is important to get good chocolate or you wont achieve the flavor that you are looking for.  If you price the solid pieces of chocolate available, you will find that in the long run, this is the most economical way to go for Easter Candy.

My husband always started out with a 20# block of Peter's Ultra Chocolate which he bought from Stover & Co., Inc.  I did some searching on the Internet and you can purchase that 10 pound block of chocolate for under $40. 

Since he had been doing this for years, he had all kinds of molds to make the candy but the most popular one with our children were the crosses.  I again went looking for you on the Internet and there are very affordable molds on sale and it's not too soon to purchase them.  I also know that The Party Store has a nice variety of molds.

OK, you have your molds and you have your chocolate.  Let's get started.  I have a large doubled handled cheese block cutter and I use that to separate the chocolate into smaller pieces and to shave it down.  It was originally a pizza cutter from a pizza shop where my girls were employed.  I'm sure you can find one in any of the restaurant supply stores.  The chocolate bar is solid so you will at least need a very heavy butcher knife to shave it down.

My husband used all kinds of methods to melt the chocolate.  He started out using a heating tray to keep foods warm at the table and corning ware dishes.  One thing you don't want to do is melt more chocolate than you are going to use at one time because it sets again if you don't have enough molds to hold all that you have melted down.

The best method my husband found for melting the chocolate is using the microwave at 50%.  You have to watch your chocolate while it is melting because you don't want to cook it all the way down.  Once it is almost all the way melted you use a whisk to get the mixture smooth.

Pour your chocolate into your molds making sure to not create any air pockets.  On the smaller molds we would use ice tea spoons to dip out the melted chocolate and fill each section on the mold.  Once you have your molds filled set them aside for a few minutes or you can put them into the refrigerator long enough to set up.

After they are set you can pop them out of the mold and wrap each piece in saran wrap.  You can purchase candy bags at the local party store if you prefer.  Start early to make your candy depending on how many pieces you need for your family.  The candy will keep in the refrigerator but be sure to hide it because we once lost half our candy to the candy monsters in our house who couldn't wait for Easter