A chocolatier's guide to edible decorations
Feeling festive yet? The head chocolatier at Rococo Chocolates in London's Mayfair gives the FT a masterclass in making chocolate gingerbread men (and women).
Produced and edited by Natalie Whittle. Filmed by James Sandy.
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Christmas is a magical time, particularly for chocoholics. It gives us licence to fill our homes with seasonal sweet treats. One expert in edible decorations is Karen Waller, head chocolatier at Rococo. And to get ready for the festivities, she's agreed to give me a crash course in Christmas chocolate.
So this isn't the kitchen you would normally work in. This is the chocolate school at Rococo. We've got this chocolate machine in the corner whirring away. Would you be able to show us some of your Christmas treats? Maybe something that our viewers might be able to have a go at at home.
Yeah. Definitely. I'm gonna show you a couple of lollipops. So we make Lindt gingerbread boys and girls. So we can have a go at those.
So if you want to pop on an apron. And I'll start by tempering some chocolate. So in tempering chocolate, you're basically controlling the crystals within it. You want them in a certain form that's going to make it shiny and make it snap.
So, basically I'm going to bring down the temperature. My chocolate's at 45 degrees. I'm going to bring it right down, about 27 degrees for white chocolate. And now, I want to bring it back up a little bit. What I want you to do is add a little bit of the hot chocolate. And that's just going to make it more usable.
So you could basically do any lollipop shape you want. We've got the little gingerbread figures. So draw a little silhouette, if that helps you. Draw where you want your lollipop stick to be. Then, you're gonna have a nice length on your stick. So you're not going to end up with a tiny little bit.
This is transfer sheet. This is cocoa butter and colours. You can easily get those on the internet. If you don't want to use those, just greaseproof paper. I'm going to get some milk chocolate.
So how spicy do you like your gingerbread? Do you like it -
Really, really gingery.
So pop in a drop of orange oil. That's what my gran used to do. Adds just little bit of extra flavour and it helps the spices really come out. Obviously, that chocolate's ready to go. So you're gonna have to work fairly quickly, so that it doesn't set. But you've got a few minutes.
Okay, so we're going to pipe on the decoration. This is the important bit. Makes it look like a little gingerbread man. So you don't want to try and pull it instead of dropping it. So we're going to start on the edge. Go around. It's quite a quick movement. Little eyes. Smile. And three little buttons. So just hold the bag at the top so it doesn't all come out. That's it. And that's that. That's much better.
And a little smile.
And a smile.
Not much of a smile.
It's a smile. It's perfect.