How about Making your Own Chocolate Advent Calendar?

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Chocolate Advent Calendar Part Deux

A couple of days ago we posted some quick ideas to grab chocolate Advent calendars for the upcoming holiday.  Today, we thought for those of you that are a bit more industrious, we would throw out a few Advent calendar ideas that allow you to make your own chocolate novelties and even make your own Advent calendar.

But first things first.  In order to create those delectable chocolate treats, here is a quick tip on tempering chocolate at home.  This technique requires no special tools or equipment–just a microwave-safe bowl, a spatula and your microwave.

Microwave Chocolate Tempering

Chocolate must be carefully tempered (or pre-crystallized to achieve the luster, proper melting properties, and stability of quality chocolates).   The technique is quite easy if practiced with care and patience.

 Here is a quick method to achieve a beautiful temper to your chocolate without specialized equipment.   Chocolate may be melted in the microwave. The cooking time will vary with the kind of microwave and the amount of chocolate.

  1. Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe plastic container. Chocolate should be broken up; it will melt faster and more evenly in small pieces.
  2. Microwave on high for one minute.  Stir.
  3. Use rubber spatula to coax remaining soft pieces to melt. Continue to stir and if necessary, continue microwaving in 5-10 second increments until melting is complete.
  4. Chocolate should appear smooth, shiny and free of bubbles, grainy consistency or lumps. The melted chocolate is in temper and ready to be used!

 Hints

 Heat SLOWLY!  Do not overheat.  Even though it seems as if the chocolate is melting too slowly, 5 seconds will make a significant difference!

  • White chocolate will melt slower than milk chocolate
  • Dark chocolate the slowest
  • Use high quality chocolate for all cooking projects—the better the ingredient, the better the results.

Now See it in Action

And now for the expert!  Jacques Torres, a.k.a Mr. Chocolate, is inarguably one of the greatest chocolate artists in the world.  So get it straight from the master!  Here he is, demonstrating the how-tos of microwave chocolate tempering.

So Now some Advent Calendar Ideas

Now that you have mastered the art of chocolate tempering and molding, you are ready to roll.  Here are several adorable advent calendars to get you started.  The internet is loaded with incredible ideas…you are only limited by your own time and imagination.  So get going!

    • Here’s a site loaded with fill-it-yourself ideas.  Affordable and fun!

 http://www.kurtadler.com/products_en_5_140_0_0_0-Advent-Calendar.php

    • And if you are really ambitious, here is a do-it-yourself felt Advent calendar that included patterns and clear instruction.  Wouldn’t it be a fun weekend project for you and your family?

 http://allsorts.typepad.com/allsorts/2007/11/advent-calendar.html

photo courtesy of allsorts.com 

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