Steph's Blog

How to churn butter in a jar

Yup, that’s right. All you need is some cream and a jar. Being a chocolatier, cream and butter are like old friends to me. I use them both in many of my recipes, and sometimes, there’s a little leftover cream after a spell in the kitchen. I find it very hard to throw anything with even a smidge of potential away – so this is the perfect solution. Make butter!

If you can, use double cream as this will yield the most butter (double cream has a higher fat content than say, whipping or single).

Pour your leftover cream into a jar, filling it about two-thirds full. I used around 150ml double cream, which was what was left in the fridge and didn’t have much life left on it.

Screw the lid on tight.

Shake.

Shake as if your life depended on it.

This is going to be a pretty good workout, as you’ll be shaking for about 10-15 minutes. First, you’ll make whipped cream, then you’ll feel when the butter begins to separate, as there will be a gentle thud in the jar with each movement. You should have what looks exactly like a blob of yellow butter sitting in milk. Shake a bit longer to help all the fat molecules bind together, then pour out the liquid into another container. Save it – this is buttermilk and can be used for many different recipes – bread, soup, pancakes…

Put your butter onto a board and press out the remaining buttermilk using a wooden spoon. You really want the butter to be as dry as possible – any remaining buttermilk will make the butter spoil as quickly as cream. You can also rinse your butter to get rid of any last remaining drops of buttermilk – knead it under cold running water. Now is the time to add any flavourings, if you wish. Dry the butter by gently dabbing with a paper towel and knead in sea salt, dried herbs, garlic powder or whatever takes your fancy. Shape it and wrap it in greaseproof paper, and marvel at what you have just made before popping it into the fridge. Ta-da! Homechurned butter!

homemade butter

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Valentine’s Collection

Ah, chocolate. My first true love. Chocolate is the perfect gift to celebrate love, and happens to be a great way to show yourself some TLC too. I test this theory every day, and so far, it still holds. I’d better keep checking though…

We have a new, limited edition collection specially for Valentine’s Day – a collection of four caramels, each with different personalities to mirror the different faces love shows.

Left to right: Tonka Caramel, Passionfruit Caramel, Sea Salt Caramel, Cardamom Caramel

There’s our old friend, the Passionfruit Caramel, tangy, witty and fruity-sharp as ever. A soft, not-very-sweet caramel, blended with passionfruit puree, nestled within a fruity dark chocolate shell. Our signature Valentine’s chocolate.

The new Tonka Caramel, a soft, slightly salted caramel, infused with tonka beans. Tonka beans come from the same region as Kokopelli – Central and South America – and they have a taste reminiscent of bitter almond and vanilla. They are truly delicious and well complemented by the soft caramel and creamy milk chocolate. This is a playful chocolate, the flavours dancing together.

Another newbie, the Cardamom Caramel, is infused with both green cardamom and a hint of smoky black cardamom. The spice whispers along your tongue while the soft caramel melts alongside the milk chocolate shell. Sultry and seductive.

And finally, another old favourite, a classic: the Sea Salt Caramel. A soft, rich caramel with a hint of sea salt to cut the sweetness. Housed within a cocoa pod-shaped dark chocolate shell – this is a comforting, soothing chocolate to lift your spirits.

The Valentine’s Collection is available to order now. And don’t forget we can hand-write a love note on our pretty headed paper to be included with your order. Just leave the details in the ‘order notes’ box at checkout.

Happy V-day, chocolate lovers!

Thanks once again to the super-talented Macnifique for the lovely photography.

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Edible Cinema – 10th Feb 2014

Happy New Year! 2014 is looking set to be a busy year already – and here’s a date for your diary.

I’ve just come back from an immensely fun planning meeting. It can’t be often that those words are all strung together… We had a private screening of a chocolate-related film, discussing the whats and hows of an Edible Cinema event for next month. I love my job.

Edible Cinema? ‘What’s that?’, I imagine you’re wondering. Well, it will be a feast for the senses, a 4D interactive experience watching an adorable French film with carefully selected treats to accompany the twists and turns of the story.

The film
Romantics Anonymous, a captivating French comedy about chocolate factory employee Angélique and her boss Jean-René who are anxiety-ridden would-be lovers.

When?
Monday 10th February 2014, starting 8pm (yup, just before Valentine’s Day – apropos, non?).

Where?
JW3 Cinema, Finchley Road, London NW3.

How much?
£15 (standard)
£7.50 (concession)

How do I book?
Book your tickets here – places are filling up already so best be quick!

See you there!

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Christmas specials 2013

It’s come round so quickly – that festive time of year again. And with it comes some seasonal limited edition chocolates from Kokopelli’s. This year I fancied giving those classic, favourite flavours a bit of a makeover.

And so… drum roll please… I present you with the clementine pate de fruit.

It’s a French-style fruit jelly (vegetarian of course!), made with tangy clementine puree, enrobed in a fruity Madagascan dark chocolate, and decorated with a dot of orange cocoa butter to finish. As you bite into it, the chocolate cracks between your teeth and the soft jelly yields to your tongue. It’s rather delightful, even if I say so myself.

Next up, we have the nutmeg caramel.

nutmeg caramel cut sm

This is a slightly salted soft caramel, infused with freshly grated nutmeg. It is nestled in a dark milk chocolate shell (yup, that’s a milk chocolate with a very high cocoa content, giving you that chocolate hit and milky creaminess all in one delicious mouthful), swirled with pink cocoa butter and a touch of gold lustre. Christmas all wrapped up in a delicate little dome.

These limited edition wintry beauts will feature in our mixed selection box over the holiday period. We will also be at The Chocolate Festival again this year – Friday 13th December through to Sunday 15th December. It’s on the Southbank Centre Square – please do drop by to say hello and support us in the freezing weather!

Happy holidays!

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Pumpkin spice chocolates

I think this chocolate contains the velvetiest ganache I ever made, thanks to the addition of pumpkin. It is positively silky.

A milk chocolate shell burnished with gold contains a caramelised pumpkin ganache, lightly spiced with a sprinkling of nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger. Pumpkin is a subtle flavour, but it lends an autumnal character and the aforementioned silkiness. So soft and pillowy. Mm-mm.

Crunchy leaves of green, gold and auburn, a crisp freshness in the air, scarves and woolly socks, and of course pumpkins – autumn is here!

This seasonal delight is available in our mixed selection box for a short time only until stocks run out. Enjoy!

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Lucky cats, matcha and passion

I’ve been busy working away in the kitchen this summer, scheming, devising and developing a clutch of new products. I am proud to introduce you to them:

Lucky Fortune Cats
These came to me in a dream. No, really. And then I woke up and decided that I needed to make them a reality. They are so much fun I just couldn’t resist!
cats
These lucky cats are painted by hand, and cast in smooth dark or white chocolate. Hidden inside each cat is a fortune printed on edible paper for you to discover. Available here in dark and here in white.

Matcha Bar

Matcha, or powdered green tea leaves, has been drunk in Japan for almost 1000 years and was originally created by Buddhist monks. It is known as the rarest and finest of all the Japanese green teas and is full of antioxidants. We have carefully blended a premium grade matcha from Kyoto with creamy white chocolate to produce a 50g matcha chocolate bar – bright green in colour but entirely natural, from the matcha. The fresh earthiness of the matcha cuts through the sweetness of the white chocolate, giving you a refreshing treat. Available from our shop here.

Passionfruit Caramels
Some of you may know that I have a penchant for that heavenly marriage of passionfruit and caramel. The tangy and the sweet all loved up in one delicious morsel. Now available is a new incarnation of this pairing in the form of a soft caramel. It is slightly chewy, but melts away on your tongue. The fresh passionfruit puree gives it a slight tang and exotic flavour, balanced by the rich butteriness. I can never get enough of these and I’m always left wanting just another taste. Available here. Let us know if there are other caramel flavours we should try – leave a comment below and we’ll send you a sample if we try your idea. Mango? Cinnamon? Raspberry? Cardamom? Ginger?

All these new products are now available on our online shop. I’m always open to new ideas so let me know if there is something else you’d like us to try! Thanks once again to the talented Macnifique for the gorgeous photos.

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All you need is LOVE: a special wedding cake

As a chocolatier, I often receive surprising phone calls, emails and unusual requests.

allpaintEarlier this summer, I was asked if I could make some elaborate wedding cake decorations from chocolate. The client wanted the words “All you need is love” and “Love is all you need”, along with 25 brightly coloured chocolate flowers. I was given a detailed specification as to the exact size of each word and general style of lettering. The cake was for a wedding party in Italy this summer.

What a daunting, but exciting challenge! It was one I readily accepted.

I taught myself how to make detailed decorations from chocolate, how to paint on chocolate, and techniques for making a wide variety of chocolate flowers.
allyouneedislove2sm
I enjoyed the project so much, getting creative, colouring, shaping, painting and coaxing the chocolate into lovely forms. Being a chocolate artist was immensely satisfying. I was thrilled when the happy couple sent me pictures of the finished cake.4smIsn’t it just fabulous?! As you can see, it also contains some marzipan creations made by another food artist (the animals and world landmarks), but these could be made from chocolate too.

I sent over a preview picture of the work to John, the client, as soon as I had completed all the pieces. I received the loveliest email soon after.

quote
I am utterly speechless – like them!? I LOVE THEM!! You have done a magnificent job. I am over the moon with how they look! I could not concentrate at work after seeing them, they are so beautiful. Thank you so much for all your hard work. I could not be happier with the result!!”

John

Do get in touch if you’d like to discuss bespoke chocolate decorations for your special cake.

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New Product: Chocolate Gingers

New product alert!

A love of ginger runs in my family. It went straight down the line, from my ginger-loving grandpa, to my ginger-loving dad, to ginger-loving me. It is thus with great pleasure that I bring you Kokopelli’s latest product: Chocolate Gingers. These truffle-like chocolate covered ginger jewels are doubly gingery. A hunk of juicy candied ginger is dipped by hand into rich and silky dark chocolate, then given a light dusting of ginger-spiced cocoa powder.

Biting into one of these is immensely satisfying – the crack of the chocolate shell gives way to the soft, sweet ginger, followed by a burst of ginger fire.

This is a sweet and warming treat to please the ginger lovers in your life, newly available for sale at Kokopelli’s online shop.

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Bloom

I’m often asked about chocolate bloom. What is it? Is it harmful? What causes it? So here’s a post dedicated to answering your bloom-related questions. Most people think it’s unsightly (and on fresh chocolates it rings alarm bells), but I think it can be a beautiful and intriguing sight. Doesn’t it look like something you’d expect in a petri dish? bloom
However, it’s not something you want to see on your chocolate!

What is bloom?
Bloom is what happens when chocolate is exposed to heat fluctuations or moisture. It’s that crumbly white appearance you sometimes see on the surface of chocolate. Some people mistake it for mould, but it’s perfectly harmless. There are two kinds of bloom.

Sugar bloom occurs when chocolate is exposed to humidity or moisture. The sugar within the chocolate dissolves on contact with tiny water droplets in the air. When the water on the surface of the chocolate evaporates, small sugar crystals are left on the surface of the chocolate, giving a dusty appearance. This is why chocolate should not be stored in the fridge!

Fat bloom can happen for a number of reasons (including if the chocolate is untempered or incorrectly tempered), but commonly occurs if chocolate is stored in fluctuating temperatures. When chocolate is left in a warm place and starts to melt, the cocoa butter (the fat) within the chocolate separates from the rest of the ingredients, rising to the surface. Once it has cooled again and re-set, this gives the chocolate a mottled appearance. The picture above is of melted, untempered chocolate that has developed some serious bloom!

This is why it is important to store your chocolate in a cool, dry place, and it also demonstrates the importance of tempering! If you’d like to learn how to temper chocolate, find out more about our chocolate-making workshops.

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Happy 1st Birthday Kokopelli’s!

Happy birthday Kokopelli’s Chocolate! My little business has turned one year old today, and I couldn’t be happier. It’s been both a quick year and a long year – having learned more than I could ever have anticipated, worked harder than I thought I could and having achieved more in just twelve months than I even dared dream.

The chocolate-making workshops have really taken off. I never set out to run them, but I just kept being asked if I would. And I kept saying yes! So I now run regular public workshops at The Make Lounge, I often run private ones for hen parties, birthdays, children’s parties, and I’m also booked in to run public workshops at three other organisations later in the year. I even ran a workshop at a primary school (it was one of my favourites, especially receiving a stack of handwritten, illustrated thank you cards in the post afterwards). And the most advertising I’ve done is just having a ‘workshops’ page on the website  – all of these organisations and individuals wanting to learn how to make beautiful, delicious chocolates have approached me. Which is a pretty nice feeling.

I’ve learned how to scale up production (something which I’m still learning, as Kokopelli’s grows and needs to produce in ever larger quantities), which at first was a daunting, seemingly insurmountable prospect, but which I can now take in my stride. Our first Christmas was an especially huge learning curve.

We have exhibited at several market stalls, most notably, The Chocolate Festival on the Southbank Square (at Christmas and at Easter). We’ve taken bespoke corporate orders and donated boxes to charity. We’ve sold to a delightful and top notch chocolate shop. We’ve collaborated with a fantastic local restaurant on an Easter competition and done giveaways with a major chocolate review blog. We’ve had glittering reviews and some really good printed press, as well as food blogger coverage.

Not forgetting all the behind the scenes stuff, including working with our brilliant and dedicated designer on Kokopelli’s logo, packaging, menus and other materials; lots of website development; work on branding; photoshoots; video filming; and market research. I even sewed my own banner.

And the crux of it all – making gorgeous, delectable chocolates. From dreaming up flavour combinations to choosing mould shapes, from recipe testing (and re-testing) to learning how to paint with cocoa butter, from switching to using Valrhona couverture to choosing suppliers for the best ingredients, and beyond, this has been one of the best years of my life. There have been plenty of moments of frustration (when the ganache has split, or I’ve spilled almost half a kilo of hazelnut paste on the floor, or I’ve burnt a caramel, or the summer heat has prevented me from tempering properly… I could go on) – but it’s all been totally worth it. I’ve learned huge amounts and have had an absolute ball getting creative, tasting everything, and noticing how much my palate has changed.

Meeting new people has been another top highlight. Twitter has been at the heart of much of it – something I didn’t expect when I signed up. I’ve met a lot of fantastic people who have become customers and friends in real life (offline friends), many of whom have opened doors or helped me out in some way. I feel part of several different, but often overlapping communities who have been an inspiration and source of hope and support during this year of learning and exploring. I am enormously grateful to many people who have helped me come so far in just twelve months (I won’t list them all here – it seems like something for the back of a book, if I ever write one). It’s also been really satisfying and helpful to meet customers and hear their thoughts and feedback, and to watch their faces morph into smiles as they try my chocolates.

So what’s in the pipeline for this year? I’ve got lots on my ‘planning’ to-do list – including looking at having a permanent presence at a market in London, expanding Kokopelli’s product range and looking into hiring a dedicated workshop space. We’re growing, it’s hugely exciting, and I think it’s well worth watching this space.

I’m celebrating our first birthday by giving away a box of Kokopelli’s Chocolate to one lucky person. All you need to do to be in with a chance to win is leave a comment on this blog post with something you’d like to see from us in our second year. Entries close on Sat 20th April. The best answer will win a lovely box of fresh, handmade chocolates.

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