I decided this summer to take an online Domestika course in chocolate flavouring and texturing. During the course I'm supposed to learn to make 3 different architectural textures: marble, terrazzo and granite. For now, all the work is with white chocolate, and I've so far made two attempts. The first exercise was in trying out different ingredients to flavour the chocolate and learning to temper it. Tempered chocolate is hard, smooth, glossy, and snaps when broken. Untempered chocolate has a grainy texture, melts in the hand and doesn't snap when broken, as well as looking less glossy - think of chocolate which you've left in the car and found later, melted and reset but not quite right.
Tempering has been a bit of a challenge. The first time I failed outright. I knew I had failed before even mixing in the flavours though. I was using a seeding method, where solid chocolate, with the correct crystalline structure, is mixed into a batch of completely melted chocolate. This cools down the melted batch and reintroduces the structure while melting the seed chocolate. I melted the chocolate to the correct temperature and then started introducing the seed chocolate to cool it off, before discovering that I hadn't left enough chocolate to use as seed. I wasn't able to cool the melted batch down enough through seeding so knew that when it cooled on its own it wouldn't be tempered. I decided to go ahead anyway and flavour it, figuring that carrying out with some of the testing even if part had failed.
My next attempt went better, but I am not certain that I quite got it right. I'm not sure though, and white chocolate is harder to tell about - for me anyway. I think it came out pretty well though.
I've now tried a number of different flavours, some of which have worked better than others, and others have worked best in combination with another flavour.
Amchoor, or mango powder
Kaffir lime leaves
The best one, by general consensus, is, surprisingly, black sesame. Grapefruit was a little bitter and the black pepper was too sharp, but combined they were great and evened each other out. Rose petal was very delicate. Mint and orange were predictably good. Overall, I am quite happy with some of my flavouring. The colours weren't as strong as I would have liked though, so I need to work on that. Watch this space for future attempts!