I have, over the past months, reviewed several lovely chocolate cookery books. This is, however, a little different. This is all about making your own chocolates rather than using chocolate in, say, a cake or tart. Making Fine Chocolates will take you through the process of transforming a bar of high-quality chocolate into flavour-infused chocolates, truffles and other gorgeous sweets.
Andrew Garrison Shotts is the former corporate pastry chef at Guittard Chocolate and owner of Garrison Confections. He has been recognised as a “Top Ten Artisanal Chocolatier” by the American newspaper, USA Today. I think we can assume that this young man is an expert.
I know to my cost that chocolate is an iffy substance to work with. It is quite forgiving as an ingredient in most desserts but hand-made chocolates demand a bit more thought and technical know-how. This being said, it’s not rocket science. If you can follow a recipe and have a thermometer then you’ll have no problems.
Making Fine Chocolates has an exceptional Techniques chapter. Read this before you even consider embarking on making chocolates. Perfecting tempering will mark your efforts as professional. You’ll want to make chocolates that look as good as expensive shop-bought ones. They need to be glossy, have a smooth and non-grainy texture and mouth-feel on melting. Handmade chocolates are not just melted and shaped bars of chocolate. You’ll find the tempering step well worth the effort.
Let’s get on to the fun part… the chocolates! Chocolate Truffles are the easiest to make and Andrew offers us a great selection of exotic ones. Banana Caramel, Peanut Butter Sizzle and Sesame are just a few of them.
Moulded Chocolates are the ones that you will want to perfect. You can buy the plastic moulds in most good cookware shops. Making Fine Chocolates gives all the advice you will need and also lots of helpful step-by-step pictures. The chocolates you’ll make will be inspiring and a bit more up-market than those you find in most commercial boxes.
Andrew Garrison Shotts has penned a lovely book that will be essential to anyone who wants to present something special at the end of a meal or as a gift. There are very few people who would not be impressed by unique and delicious chocolates made by your own fair hands. There are only a few books about making chocolates and this is one of the best.
Making Fine Chocolates – Flavour-infused Chocolates, Truffles and Confections
Author: Andrew Garrison Shotts
Published by: Apple Press
ISBN 13: 978-1-84543-194-5
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018