My love of chocolate runs deep - it is something I always longed to make for special occasions at Soirette when I had a storefront, but never had the time to. Little morsels of hand-dipped chocolates are sometimes just the pick-me-up you need. Its delicate snap of an outer shell is just the introduction to what follows: a surprise of a soft, smooth ganache centre, sometimes infused with herbs or spices, other times with nuts or pure fruit purées. The most classic chocolates are sometimes the most satisfying, as it brings you back to a simple place of joy. These rosemary and cardamom chocolates are one of my all-time favourites. I am obsessed with cardamom - it is a spice with a fragrant aroma that I enjoyed in many Indian sweets as a kid growing up in Malaysia. Pairing it with the fresh pine-scented and woodsy notes of rosemary, it is a sweet symphony of flavours in a bite. Using couverture chocolate lends the irreplaceable melt-in-your-mouth texture that we all know and love. We are lucky to be able to get our hands on some wonderful brands at local culinary stores. I hope you enjoy making these chocolates as much as I did.
Rosemary Cardamom Hand-Dipped Chocolates
Yield: 49 chocolates
Tall wide container, similar to a jar, about 1 litre in capacity
Small offset spatula
Spray a 7” square pan (or an 8”, just fold up some foil to create a barrier to make the area a little smaller so that the ganache has a decent height when poured in, around ½ inch) with non-stick cooking spray. Line the sides and bottom of the pan with plastic wrap, with enough overhang. Be sure to smooth out as many wrinkles as you can.
For the couverture chocolates, hand chop them into small pieces so they melt faster for a smoother result.
140g 58% dark chocolate, couverture
140g 29% (minimum) - 34% white chocolate, couverture
128g heavy cream
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
4 cardamom pods, roasted, hulled and seeds crushed into a powder
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 pinch kosher salt
100g 58% dark chocolate, couverture, melted
600g 58% dark chocolate, couverture, tempered
Making the ganache
In a small saucepan, combine heavy cream, chopped rosemary and the cardamom powder, and heat gently, until small bubbles appear on the rim of the cream. Take it off the heat, and cover the pot, leaving the herb and spice to infuse in the warm cream, for about an hour.
In the meantime, scale out the chocolates and place it in the tall jar.
Once the steep is over, bring the cream back to a gentle boil, add the salt.
Strain it over the chocolate. Let it sit for about a minute or two.
Use the immersion blender and blend until smooth, being careful not to lift the base of the blender too high so as to not add any unwanted air bubbles into the ganache.
At this point, the ganache mixture would be cool enough (around 35C) to add the butter. Blend well until it is completely smooth and emulsified.
Pour the ganache into the prepared pan, and spread it out evenly using a small offset spatula, gently knocking the pan on the countertop to release any trapped air bubbles. Place the ganache in the freezer for ½ hour. Once it is firm, remove it from the freezer.
Adding the foot
Adding a chocolate foot to the ganache ensures that the bottom of the ganache square is protected by chocolate and exposure to air, as this is the surface that will be resting on the dipping fork later.
Remove the ganache from the pan by lifting the overhang of the plastic wrap. Gently flip the slab over onto a baking sheet lined with a clean sheet of parchment paper. Peel the plastic off and discard.
Heat the chocolate for the foot over a double boiler until completely melted, but not hot, and be careful to avoid any water contact from the double boiler.
Spread a thin layer of chocolate using a small offset spatula. Place in the freezer for a couple of hours to set.
Preparing the ganache squares
Remove the ganache layer, and flip it onto a cutting board lined with parchment, foot side facing down. Using a sharp chef’s knife, trim all four edges to get a straight edged slab. Measure out and score 1” intervals on all four sides.
Match the notches with your knife and cut the pieces into squares.
Lay them out on a clean piece of parchment and allow to sit overnight at room temperature to dry.
Dipping the ganache squares
Prepare a fresh baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Have your tempered chocolate in a stainless steel bowl, and a small saucepan with 1” of hot water to aid in maintaining a temperature of 30C - 32C for the tempered chocolate, in case the chocolate cools too much. Avoid heating above this temperature, as the chocolate will then be out of temper, which will result in a streaky finish and lose it’s shine and snap.
Dip the squares one at a time. Place each square onto the middle of the fork, and completely submerge it into the center of the tempered chocolate before pulling it back out. Gently tap the handle of the fork against the bowl to help the excess chocolate flow off the square, creating a nice, thin coating/shell. Transfer the dipped chocolate onto the clean sheet of parchment paper to set. Use the small offset spatula to gingerly nudge the chocolate off the fork if necessary.
While the chocolate is still fluid, tap a little edible gold dust on the top for some dazzle.
Store in an airtight container lined with parchment, in a cool dry place for about a week, if they last that long.