Guest Author - Meredith Ball
Valentine’s Day brings the most delicious time of year because of the chocolate! Chocolate can be found everywhere this time of year. These chocolates are beautifully nestled in heart-shaped boxes tied with big red bows and adorned with fake flowers. This Valentine’s Day, aim to feast on chocolate in a more natural way. It is no more difficult and much more satisfying to create your own chocolate candy. In fact, you can create quality family time in the creation of your chocolate candies because making chocolate candies is extremely fun! My mother and I spent hours laughing and tasting several chocolate pops of our own creation and I am sure you will enjoy it too!
It is first important to know what type of chocolate to purchase. We all have heard that dark chocolate is actually healthy for your heart with recommendations to eat a small piece everyday. If you enjoy dark chocolate, you are eating healthy! If you enjoy milk or dark chocolate, try to purchase organic chocolate to ensure that there is no processing or chemicals in your sweet treat. In addition, fair trade chocolate guarantees that the people who made this chocolate for you were compensated enough for their job well done. An excellent chocolate to buy is the Endangered Species Chocolate because it is organic, fair trade, ten percent of profits goes to helping the environment, and it is delicious! A link is included below for easy purchase of this delectable indulgence.
Gather your family together to decide what types of chocolates you would like to make. Would they like the chocolates shaped like hearts or lollipops in different shapes? Once you have decided, head to Michael’s or the local craft or baking store near you to pick up chocolate molds and lollipop sticks.
It is important to know that some chocolate molds still contain bisphenol A, or BPA, a compound used in some plastics. BPA has been shown to possibly lead to some cancers and endocrine system damage. When you are shopping for your molds then be sure to look at the packaging for “BPA free.”
The best part is the melting of the chocolate and pouring it into the molds. You can either use a double boiler to melt the chocolate or place it in a bowl in the microwave being careful to stir it every minute or two until it is thick, creamy, smooth and silky in texture. There is no need to add milk or water or any other ingredient, and do not boil the chocolate. Simply melt the chocolate down into velvety heaven. Since the chocolate will be warm, be sure to pour it into the molds while your children watch at a safe distance. Once the chocolate is poured into the molds, add the lollipop sticks in the slots if you are making pops, wipe any excess chocolate off the edges that might have spilled, and place the molds in the refrigerator to harden. Once the chocolates are hard to your touch, carefully pop them out and eat up! You can place them in a recyclable box with a ribbon to give as a Valentine as well!
If you would like to set dried fruit or other surprises in the bottom of your mold first, and then add the chocolate, feel free to do that. Be as creative as you would like to be. In addition, if you have extra melted chocolate, try dipping strawberries in and placing those on waxed paper to harden. Enjoy this yummy Valentine’s Day gift even more knowing that you created a new family tradition and did so in a healthier way.