How many times do you see an amazing recipe or watch a programme about baking, enthusiastically resolve to do more of it, and then, erm, don’t?
If you're like us – lots. But if something is going to get you measuring out ingredients as if you’re being filmed for a cookery show, surely it’s the idea of recreating awesome classic chocolate treats.
Respected chocolatier William Curley has just released Nostalgia Delights – complete with foreword from chefs Michel and Alain Roux – full of recipes for home versions of our childhood (and adulthood) favourites, ideal for impressive gifts, fun desserts or, of course, making and chowing down yourself before the mixing bowl’s even been washed.
The first method here explains how to temper chocolate – something required for all the recipes if you want a smooth, glossy finish – then you'll recipes for home versions of Crunchies, Hobnobs and Curly Wurlys.
So whether a seasoned baker or not, set aside a Sunday sometime soon and conjure yourself up a Curly Wurly. You won’t regret it.
Nostalgic Delights by William Curley, £25; quartoknows.com
How to temper chocolate
You need is a porringer pot, double-boiler or bain-marie, and a thermometer. You will always need at least this amount of chocolate for dipping and moulding.
Finely chop 500g dark/bittersweet chocolate (65% cocoa solids). Place two thirds into the pot or bain-marie. Do not boil the water, as it may scald the chocolate. Stir regularly until the chocolate has completely melted and reaches 45–50°C (113–122°F) ensuring all the fat and sugars have melted evenly. Be careful when using a bain-marie that none of the water or steam gets into the chocolate.
Gradually add the remaining chocolate – this is the seed. Stir vigorously and continue to stir until all of the chocolate has fully melted and the chocolate cools to 28–29°C (82–84°F) and thickens. Warm back up to 31–32°C (87–89°F). The chocolate is now tempered and ready to use. If the temperature drops below this, simply warm it up again.
To test this manually, dip the end of a palette knife into the chocolate, then leave to set. If the chocolate is smooth and glossy when set (see below), you have successfully tempered your chocolate.
For milk chocolate, follow the same as above and melt to 45–50°C (113–122°F), cool to 26–27°C (79–81°F) and temper at 29–30°C (84–86°F).
Curley Wurly (Curly Wurly)
Ingredients (makes 10):
500g tempered dark chocolate
225g demerara sugar
175g golden syrup
100g sea salt butter
30g liquid glucose
1 vanilla pod, split and scraped
Lightly grease a marble slab (or metal tray) and metal scraper. Put the sugar, syrup, butter, water and glucose in a heavy-based saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the split vanilla pod into the saucepan and drop in the empty pod too. Cook over a low heat until all of the sugar dissolves.
Increase the heat and bring the mixture to the boil. Continue to cook until the temperature reaches 132°C. Carefully remove the vanilla pod, then pour onto the prepared marble slab. As the toffee begins to set on the edges, use the prepared scraper to gradually move the mixture from the outside towards the centre. Continue with this process until it is cool enough to handle.
Divide the toffee into balls weighing 30g each. Take one ball of toffee and divide into three equal parts. Roll each 10g piece into a strand about 35cm in length. When all are evenly rolled out, press the three ends together. Loosely plait the strands together so that gaps remain between each strand. You can manipulate it once it is complete to make sure it is even. Push the ends together to secure. Repeat this process until all the toffee has been used. Use a hot knife to trim both ends of each toffee plait. Leave in a cool, dry area for at least 2 hours to fully set.
Prepare the tempered chocolate. Place the bars on a wire rack and pour the tempered chocolate over each one. Tap well and use 2 palette knives to place each one on a tray lined with silicone (baking) paper. Leave to set for 1–2 hours. These will keep for 2 weeks stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry area.
Ingredients (makes 24):
500g tempered dark chocolate
150g plain (all-purpose) flour
4g bicarbonate of soda
120g rolled oats
150g caster sugar
150g unsalted butter
15g golden syrup
You will need a pattern plastic sheet.
Preheat the oven to 180°C and line two baking trays with baking paper or a non-stick baking mat.
Sieve together the flour and bicarbonate of soda twice into a bowl. Add the oats and sugar and mix well until evenly combined.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat. Add the golden syrup and mix together. Pour this into the dry mixture and mix well. Divide the mix into 24 balls and place them on the prepared baking trays. Gently push down on each ball to flatten them slightly.
Bake for 18–20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
Temper the chocolate, then dip the top of each biscuit in the tempered chocolate. Place chocolate side down on the patterned plastic sheet, push down gently and leave to set for 1–2 hours. Carefully remove from the hobnobs from the plastic. Store in an airtight container and consume within 1 week.
Cinder Toffee (Crunchies)
Ingredients (makes 20–30):
500g tempered dark chocolate
500g tempered milk chocolate
190g caster sugar
50g soft brown sugar
150g liquid glucose
10g bicarbonate of soda, sieved
Line one deep baking tray and another normal tray with baking paper.
Mix both sugars, the glucose, water and honey together in a saucepan and boil to 144˚C. When the temperature is reached, remove immediately from the heat.
Slowly add the sieved bicarbonate of soda, stirring whilst adding – the mix will start to rise to the top of the saucepan. Pour the mixture into the deep tray, then leave to cool and set for about 2 hours in a cool, dry area.
Use a sharp knife to break the cinder toffee into 20–25 chunks.
Temper the dark chocolate. Use a dipping fork to coat half the pieces of cinder toffee in tempered chocolate and carefully place the pieces on the lined tray. Temper the milk chocolate and repeat this process to coat the remaining cinder toffee. Leave to set in a cool, dry area for 1–2 hours. These will keep for 1 month stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry area.
Images: Nostalgic Delights