February 10, 2018

Grand Marnier Marzipan Cherry Chocolates

Grand Marnier Marzipan Cherry Chocolates

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By Published: 2018-02-10
Nothing says love as sweetly and sincerely as a luscious bit of elegantly presented chocolate.  So I decided to try my hand at handcrafting some chocolates for Valentine's Day to gift to my heart of hearts.  And let me add, before you get discouraged by the word 'handcraft', this little luscious bonbon is pretty darn easy to make at home!

Before deciding what kind of bonbon to make I had a rummage through my food hoard.  Amongst other treasures I discovered a load of marzipan that I bought on sale, some leftover cherries from making the decadent Eight Treasures Rice Pudding and lots and lots of chocolate.  (I have to hide my hoard of chocolate so that my  family won't make fun of how much I have squirreled away.)  Add in a dollop of citrus scented liquor and I had the makings for very fancy handcrafted bonbons,  the very sexy Grand Marnier Marzipan Cherry Chocolates, a surprisingly easy to make chocolate and marzipan treat with a luscious surprise cherry heart that tastes amazing and looks seriously out of this world!  A special 'from the heart' treat for a special Valentine!

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I have to admit I didn't think it was going to that easy.  But from the thought of it to the completion it took me only under an hour to make.  And wowzer these bonbons turned out way better looking than I thought they would, almost professional looking, if I say so myself!

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The seed of the idea was the marzipan which I had happened upon at rock bottom sale prices.  I bought the whole lot and have been desperate to try it out.  Marzipan is an age old confection, a thick paste made of sugar and almond meal that it used to mold into candies and as layer fillings or icing for cakes.  I just love almonds in general and so the light almond, slightly citrusy scent of the marzipan is an absolute treat for me.  It's also very easy to work with, just knead it until it turns pliable and then shape it as you will.  It has the extra bonus of keeping the wetness of the cherry away from the chocolate.

I added a dollop of Grand Marnier, a citrus scented liquor, to the marzipan to jazz it up, adding  powdered sugar until the paste absorbed the extra liquid.  You could also easily tint the marzipan with a tiny bit of food coloring.

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I love maraschino cherries!  In this bonbon they are the secret sexy heart, a lovely blush red and so juicy as you bite in...  Do be sure to dry them out as much as you can before wrapping in the marzipan so as to prevent any leakage.

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Divide marzipan into around 10-11g pieces and then pat each piece into a round, using a bit of powdered sugar if the paste become sticky.  Pop on the cherry and gather the paste all around.

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Roll into a ball and you've got a marzipan covered cherry!  Roll in a bit of powdered sugar to help keep it from being sticky.  An alternative finish for these marzipan covered cherries is to roll them in white granulated sugar as a finishing, letting them dry for a few hours before packaging.

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Now for the only slightly more tricky bit.  The coating chocolate needs to be tempered.  If not tempered the chocolate will not stay hard and glossy and instead will melt on your fingers the moment you hold it.  For a more detailed explanation about how to temper different kinds of chocolate see our post on How to Temper Chocolate.  Once chocolate is tempered dip the balls in and out.

We used 70% dark chocolate but you can use whatever you like.  Be aware that different chocolate types have different tempering temperatures.

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The final magical bonbon touch is up to you.  Decorate with whatever you think will make your chocolate bonbons to die for, a sprinkle of chopped pistachios, a candy heart, a touch of gold leaf, a curl of crystallized citrus peel (see our recipe for luscious candied lemon peels here), a drizzle of white chocolate, etc.  For non sticky decoration items be sure to sprinkle on immediately as the chocolate will set quite quickly.


And that's it.  Easy peasy and a bit of Valentine love magic.  A swirl and a twirl and you will have magicked these lovely, luscious bonbons into existence.  Happy Valentines!

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Grand Marnier Marzipan Cherry Chocolates Recipe
(makes 24 bonbons) Prep time:    Cook time: 

candy thermometer

Ingredients:
8.8 oz marzipan 250g
2 tsp Grand Marnier liquor
24 maraschino cherries
2-3 tbsp powdered sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
7 oz 70% dark chocolate 200g
2 tbsp pistachios, finely chopped

Directions:
Put marzipan and liquor in bowl and knead together.  Add 2-3 tbsp of sugar, one tablespoon at a time until the marzipan is no longer sticky.  Roll marzipan into a long log shape and divide into 24 equal portions.

Pour the cherries into a strainer to drain juices.  Use kitchen paper to dry the cherries as much as possible, the dryer the better.  On a dry working surface shake out some of the 1/4 cup of powdered sugar to one side.  Take each portion of marzipan and flatten to a 1 1/2" circle.  Dust with powdered sugar if the marzipan gets sticky.  Place cherry in center and mold the marzipan around cherry to form a perfect sphere.  Dust with powdered sugar and place to the side.  Repeat for all other cherries.

Temper the chocolate: Chop chocolate into small pieces.  Add two thirds of chocolate into a bain marie, or double boiler, and stir until melted and the temperature reaches 115-120°F (46-49°C), being careful to not get even a drop of water in the chocolate.  Immediately remove from heat and add in the remaining one third of chocolate.  Stir until the temperature reaches 88-90°F (31-32°C).  At this point the chocolate is in temper so use immediately by dropping each marzipan ball in chocolate until completely covered.  Lift out with a fork and slide onto a sheet of parchment paper or a silicone sheet.  Sprinkle with chopped pistachios.  Repeat with all other marzipan balls, trying to work quickly.

If too much time passes the chocolate will cool down and fall out of temper.  Place your chocolate filled pan over the hot water left in your double boiler pan (no need to turn heat on) and let residual heat gently heat chocolate back up to the 88-90°F (31-32°C).  Continue with chocolate coating.  Properly tempered chocolate should set up in about 5 mins.  Place into a pretty bonbon box and you're all set for Valentines! 



More Valentine Treats at The Hong Kong Cookery:


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