Valentine’s Day Chocolates from Every Anime Ever
As a wee lass, Valentines Day meant nothing more to me than an occasion for buying boxes of Valentines from the grocery store to give to my classmates and hoping I would get a lot of candy during the class Valentine exchange we did every year in Elementary school.
I remember hand writing out Valentines to my friends, hand making special ones for my family, and crunching through box after box of those candy hearts- my grandma kept my sister and I well-stocked through the month of February. To this day, I associate February with doilies, glitter, lopsided hearts and a distinct wish to have beautiful handwriting so my Valentines didn’t look so not as beautiful as they could be with calligraphy on them.
And then I started watching anime, and I realized that girls in Japan give chocolates to BOYS on Valentine’s day!
That was in sixth grade. My life wasn’t changed forever, but I definitely remember being surprised and excited by this development in my understanding of the holiday. I first ran into this phenomenon with Card Captor Sakura, and then again with Fruits Basket. (Oh for my adolescent, beginner-anime days).
These days I don’t deal much with chocolate- I find that it sticks to everything and is challenging to get just right. I’ll admit, tempering chocolate is hard for me. Plus, it’s so easy to just buy chocolates. But my goal with this blog is to try out new techniques and improve as a baker, so what better time to bite the bullet and try again?
I decided to make a chocolate truffle with a strawberry filling. The recipe is beyond simple, the tricky part is mostly in getting the chocolate tempered correctly. I hope you can try it out!
The Ingredients for Strawberry Chocolate Truffles
Find the original recipe here.
1/2 pint of Strawberries, hulled and sliced in half.
1 bar (4 0z) white chocolate
Enough milk/ semi-sweet chocolate to fill chocolate molds. I used about 3 bar’s worth of chocolate for 15 truffles total.
I got 15 truffles out of this, but there was enough filling left over to make more. The amount of truffles you get is really dependent on how much chocolate you get for the outside of the truffles.
You will also need a silicone/ plastic truffle mold and a candy thermometer. I got both the mold and the thermometer here and here. Unless you are a pro at tempering chocolate, I really do think you need the candy thermometer to get the best results.
Start off by prepping your strawberries and throwing them in a small saucepan over med-high heat. Stir constantly and mash with your stirring implement, but don’t let them burn! You want them to soften up. For me, this took about five minutes.
Then, break up your bar of white chocolate and toss into the hot berry mash.
Stir it through until the chocolate is melted. Then, remove from heat. You can strain through a sieve to get out the lumps, or leave it as is, whatever kind of texture you prefer. I strained mine.
Then set aside in the fridge/ freezer to cool down.
Filling done! Now onto the chocolate!
So here’s the thing with making yummy chocolates. If you melt chocolate down at too high a temperature, it breaks down some of the chemical bonds in chocolate and so, when it cools down, the chocolate doesn’t set hard at all. It sets up, but it isn’t shiny, it isn’t hard, and will warp out of shape easily. When chocolate is like this, it’s out of temper.
We have to make sure our chocolate stays in temper, so that the resulting truffles will be shiny, will hold its shape, and will crunch satisfyingly in the mouth.
You can either melt the chocolate very, very slowly over very gradual heat. OR you can melt it all the way quickly and add some unmelted chocolate to get it back in temper. I chose the later option.
Step one: Set out your mold and prepare a piece of parchment paper. Set aside. Melt chocolate using the double boiler method. Set aside a chunk of chocolate and place the rest of the chocolate in a bowl. Place that bowl over a pot of boiling water, making sure the bottom of your chocolate bowl doesn’t touch the water.
Step two: Stir constantly until chocolate is completely melted. Remove from heat, and pop in your candy thermometer.
Instantly, mine read 141.8 degrees F. Stir your chocolate gently until it cools down to 97 degrees F.
Step 4: Throw in reserved chocolate chunk after it reaches 97 degrees F (any higher and you’ll just melt your reserved chocolate, which is not what we want to do). Stir around until your thermometer reads 91 (in my case, 90) degrees F.
Step 5: Remove the chocolate. Your chocolate is now ready to pour into your molds! Fill the molds you want to use completely with chocolate. Tap molds gently on table to smooth chocolate into all the crevices.
Step 6: Wait a minute, and then tip the chocolate back out onto the parchment paper.
Smooth off the top with the back of a knife or an offset spatula to clean up the mold. Allow to set until hard, a few minutes.
Step 7: Prepare your strawberry filling. I placed mine in a plastic baggie and snipped the tip off. This mixture will be runny, so beware! Once chocolate shells are set, drip in the filling. Do NOT fill completely to the top! In face, err on having too little in the mold. If you overfill with filling, you will not be able to cover up the back with chocolate and make it smooth. I definitely overfilled mine here.
Step 8: Pour your remaining chocolate (I had to re-melt mine, over the double boiler and very gently, using the thermometer to make sure it did not get above 97 degrees F.) into a plastic baggie and snip the tip off. Cover tops of chocolates with a layer of chocolate.
At this point, if you didn’t overfill your molds with filling, scrape off the tops to make them flat and even. I eventually did this, but had some filling escaping out the back. Set these chocolates in the fridge for 10 minutes to harden completely. When they are solid, just flip over the mold and pop them out!
They look so cute, and they are soooo tasty! If you love chocolate covered strawbs, you will love this chocolate.
I eventually made some more in different shapes.
This recipe turned out really well! I mastered tempering chocolate, and made myself a whole bunch of delicious treats which I honestly ate this morning for breakfast. No regrets.
Package these bad boys up in a cute box, and give them to the boy you like! Or give them to yourself. Or a friend! Or Gintama.
As always, like if you enjoyed this post! Follow me if you want to see more anime-themed treats. Comment with suggestions of what to make next or with any questions you have! Enjoy 🙂
#CardCaptorSakura #StrawberryChocolateTruffles #Japan #Gintama #Manga #FruitsBasket #ValentinesDay #Anime #strawberries #Chocolate