Updated: Aug 21, 2021
Rocky Road Confectionery
One of my favourite stories about rocky road is of the way it was created. This all time favourite Australian treat is a good way to use up any nuts and candies you have leftover from the festive seasons. There has been two version on how Rocky Road has come about but the ones that Australian stick by are apparently created by a European confectionary merchant that had to travel far to Ballarat in Australia to sell his goods, a place known for its gold mine and wealthy miners. Unfortunately during his travel, all his confectionery have come to spoil. To cut his losses and hard travel, he decided to mix the melted chocolates and candies with what locally grown nuts he can find during his journey and package them to sell as Rocky Road that we know of today.
What is Coverture Chocolate?
Chocolate is chocolate right? Well, technically yes if it is made from cacao bean. When it comes in the context of pastry, chocolate refers to a product that uses the whole of the cacao bean and its natural fat, which is cocoa butter. This chocolates are categorise as Coverture Chocolate. Cocoa Butter alone contain 6 very complex crystal forms and out of these 6 forms of crystals, only two of these crystals are considered acceptable in chocolate making that can give you the shine, snap and melt in your mouth qualities. These two forms are the Form V and Form VI crystals, although Form VI Crystals are not able to exist unless Form V comes into existence first and slowly transform into Form IV over a period of time. So, this really narrow downs to only the Form V (Beta V) crystals that you need to create in Coverture Chocolate in order to achieve the mentioned qualities. The only way to create this Beta V crystal is to prepare the chocolate through a process call "Tempering".
Unlike Coverture Chocolate, compound chocolate is an entirely whole new element of chocolate making for a mass factory production of cheap chocolate that is considered affordable for consumers. Although, affordability comes with a price and that is not the price tag we are talking about, it is the price of compromising the quality of the product itself. To make it cost effective, compound chocolate replaces the good quality cacao beans that are usually grounded to a powder then to a paste to create melted chocolate with the by product cocoa powder and uses hydrogenated oil in replacement of Cocoa Butter to make the chocolate. This makes the product a lot more affordable but the hydrogenated fat in the product itself can post a health risk.
What is hydrogenated Fat?
In most compound chocolate, the most common hydrogenated fat used in replacement of cocoa butter are palm kernel oil. Hydrogenation of fat is the process where hydrogen atoms are added to the polyunsaturated fatty acids to make it solid at room temperature. Because of the way that the fat is created, it makes it difficult for the human body to digest this fat hence can cause a spike in cholesterol level in your body.
Because the fat used in compound chocolate has be chemically altered, this allows the chocolate to be melted over heat and will set at room temperature without the process of tempering.
To make it easy to understand, chocolate tempering refers to melting down of the Coverture Chocolate - usually above 45°C- to get rid of all the crystals that are present in the cocoa butter at the start either in the microwave or over a bain marie. Once the chocolate has been melted to the mentioned temperature, it is then rapidly cooled down with the motion of stirring (agitation) to a set of required temperature to bring the Form V crystals to existence.
The set of temperature for each chocolate at its tempered state are:
28°C-29°C for White Chocolate
30°C - 31°C for Milk Chocolate
31°C - 32°C for Dark Chocolate
How to Temper Chocolate
There are several ways you can temper chocolate, but in this post, we will be doing a method called the "Microwave Method". Place the Coverture chocolate into a microwave bowl and heat at 20 seconds interval, then stir the chocolate and heat it again for 20 seconds. Continue to do this until 50% of the chocolates are melted. Once you achieved the half melted and half solid chocolates in the bowl, stir the mixture of chocolates until all the rest of the chocolate has been melted without inducing any additional heat while maintaining the temperature of the chocolate constantly between 29°C to 31°C. Be mindful to not let the chocolate go above 31°C for the milk chocolate. If while you are stirring and the chocolate cools to below 29°C and there are still some bits of chocolate that are not melted, heat the chocolate slightly again with the help of a heat gun or a hair dryer set on warm air on low blast (you don't want your chocolate go flying everywhere in the kitchen).
Once all the chocolate has melted and sits at 30°Cto 31°C, test the chocolate by dipping a plastic scraper into the chocolate and allow it to set at room temperature. If the ambient of your kitchen sits around 14°C to 20°C with a 50% relative humidity, the chocolate on the scraper should set in within 2 minutes. It will take longer for the chocolate to set if your kitchen is particularly warm. However, I would not recommend that you attempt tempering the chocolate on a summer day when it is hot and humid as the process of tempering chocolate can become challenging.
Once the chocolate has set on the scraper and looks shiny and reflects from the light, your chocolate is tempered and ready to go.
To maintain the chocolate so that it does not set before you add the rest of the ingredients, gently heat the chocolate occasionally and maintain the milk coverture chocolate at 30°C- 31°C without going over.
Note: If you overheated your chocolate during the tempering process, simply add a small handful of additional chocolate callets/buttons in to the bowl and mix through and continue with the tempering process above.
Equipment: 200mm x 200mm deep square baking tin, Thermometer, hair dryer or heat gun
160 g Strawberry Marshmallow - cut in to cm cubes
160 g Vanilla fudge
100 g Cashew nuts
360 g Milk Coverture Chocolate -tempered
Line a square deep baking tin with parchment paper. Combine all the ingredients together and spread it over the prepared tin. Allow to set then remove from the tin and cut in to desired sizes.