How to Caramelise White Chocolate

The important question of whether white chocolate is really chocolate becomes a little redundant here, as you’ll be so busy eating this by the spoonful you won’t care.
caramelised white chocolate
(In case you are interested in my opinion on this much-discussed subject, I would argue that white chocolate IS chocolate. Cocoa beans are made up of approximately 50% cocoa butter, which is a main ingredient in white chocolate, alongside sugar… so if dark, milk and white chocolate all share cocoa beans as their defining ingredient, I think they can all safely be classed as chocolate.)

You’ll be pleased to hear that making this heavenly caramelised treat is really very easy to do yourself. All you need is some good quality white chocolate, a baking pan, an oven and a spatula.

Pre-heat your oven to 125°C. Place as much chocolate as you want to caramelise on the baking sheet, chopping it into chunks if it’s not already in button-sized pieces, and place in the oven.

Every ten to fifteen minutes, give the chocolate a stir with your spatula, making sure to move it all around to prevent scorching the edges and to ensure even caramelisation. It may be a bit solid and grainy, but coax it with your spatula until it becomes smoother and spreadable. You may find it browning on the bottom more than the top.Caramelising white chocolate

About an hour or maybe 90 minutes later, you should have something gorgeous-looking.

You are causing the delicious Maillard reaction to occur between the milk and the sugar within the chocolate, resulting in caramelisation.

You can take it as dark as you want – the longer you leave it, the more caramelised it will become (up to a point… use your common sense people!). If you like, stir in some fine sea salt to balance the sweetness and accentuate that caramel flavour.

I defy you to resist eating it with just a spoon. However, if you have such ungodly willpower, there are a thousand and one uses for caramelised white chocolate. It is great made into a ganache (by mixing it with cream), which can be used for truffles or to cover a cake. You can use it as a filling for sandwich biscuits or cookies, incorporate it into a buttercream, drizzle it on ice cream or poached fruit, ice buns or eclairs with it, make it into a caramel sauce… the options are almost endless.

I think I’m going to use mine to make cornflake crispies. Nothing like a bit of sweet caramel and crunch.


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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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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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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!
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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Matzah toffee

So it’s Easter Sunday, and while most people are eating their Easter eggs, I have been nibbling (okay, okay, devouring) my matzah toffee. A layer of matzah covered in a layer of toffee covered in a layer of chocolate. I’d been planning to make this for weeks, ever since I found a recipe for it. A simple, quick and delicious recipe. It’s crunchy and sweet and a little bit salty all at once. During Passover, we eat lots of matzah, which is essentially a plain dry cracker that replaces all the usual foods containing wheat or other grains (and then some). This recipe jazzes up the matzah with yummy butter, sugar and chocolate. That’s my kind of treat.

I used David Lebovitz’s recipe, which is simple and quick. I felt pangs of guilt for using chocolate chips rather than good quality chocolate, and for just melting the chocolate and spreading it, rather than tempering it. But David said it was okay (and if it’s good enough for David Lebovitz, the accomplished pastry chef living in Paris, it’s good enough for me), so I went with it and it was delicious. In fact, this would even be tempting any time of year. Crunch crunch crunch.

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Easter 2013

Springtime is here! I can see it in the daffodils and sense it in the (slightly) warmer weather. Hoorah! And with spring, comes Easter, just two weeks away now. I am really excited to present Kokopelli’s ridiculously adorable Easter Collection, available at our online shop.

Our signature box contains four handpainted chocolate hens, two cast in solid dark chocolate, two in milk. Meticulously painting each one is a labour of love! These sweet little chickens are surrounded by eight chocolate eggs. Four have dark chocolate shells, filled with a zesty lemon-infused caramel and brushed with golden lustre dust. Four have milk chocolate shells and contain a smooth malted milk chocolate ganache, handpainted with lilac cocoa butter to highlight the design on the egg. Cute, right?

We will be at The Chocolate Festival again in London next weekend (22nd-24th March), where we will be selling all manner of chocolatey goodness, including these lovely chickens and eggs, Easter eggs, chocolate lollipops, as well as our year-round chocolates, and other sweet delights too. If you’re around London do pop down and say hello! It’s a fantastic event, with demonstrations, talks, beautiful things to look at and eat, and some of the country’s top chocolatiers all in one place. For a whole weekend. Come!

Huge thanks to the highly talented Talia of Macnifique for the gorgeous photos. Check out her out – not only is she a talented photographer, she is also a wonderful pastry chef!

Happy Easter!

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Love is in the air ♥

The day of love and affection is almost upon us, so what better time to present Kokopelli’s 2013 Valentine’s Collection? Three new flavours have been created specially for this amorous day, and one of our old favourites thrown in for good measure.

Our special Valentine’s Collection contains flavour combinations inspired by human relationships. The flavours correspond to a wide range of emotions and quirks – there’s sweet and tangy passionfruit caramel, smoky and inviting black cardamom, fiery cayenne pepper, comforting roasted hazelnut, sour cherry and sweet almond. All combined with smooth, meltingly delicious Valrhona couverture.

From left to right:
Passionfruit Caramel
Brought back by popular demand, this liquid caramel is sweet and tangy, infused with fresh passionfruits, within a fruity dark shell.

Morello Cherry with Amaretto
Inside this cocoa pod shell hides a soft centre made from morello cherries, with a touch of Amaretto to enhance the flavour.

Roasted Hazelnut
A classic favourite, this white chocolate shell is filled with roasted hazelnuts and milk chocolate, complemented by a touch of sea salt.

Smoky Black Cardamom and Cayenne Pepper
Smooth milk chocolate ganache infused with smoky, earthy black cardamom and a hint of cayenne pepper to tickle your throat, enrobed in dark chocolate and decorated with spiky red lines. My personal favourite because it’s a little unusual.

Each Valentine’s box comes with a beautiful, thick menu card to help you choose which chocolate to eat first.

We also have brand new notepaper on which we can include a handwritten message to your sweetheart (complimentary, of course!). Isn’t it lovely? There’s nothing like fresh, crisp headed notepaper. Yes, clearly I’m one of those that gets excited about stationery.

If you don’t want your Valentine’s chocolates to be sent straightaway, you can place your order now and specify in the order notes section at checkout when you would like them sent. It’s the perfect gift to impress your loved one, or an even better treat for yourself.

Kokopelli’s Valentine’s Collection is available to order at our online shop here.

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Holidays are coming…

The holiday season is almost upon us – I can feel the first excitement and chill of it in the air. Lots of preparations are happening behind the scenes at Kokopelli’s. We have beautiful new boxes, new menus on the way, new seasonal chocolates, and lots of website development work going on – online shopping is now closer than ever!

I’m also excited to announce that Kokopelli’s will have a stall at The Chocolate Festival next weekend – from Friday 7th – Sunday 9th December. It’s at the Southbank Centre and it would be great if you popped by to say hello. It’s a really fantastic event showcasing the country’s top chocolatiers.

So without further ado, I introduce to you our winter specials:

Chai spiced caramels
A soft caramel delicately spiced with cinnamon, cloves, ginger, cardamom and fennel. Housed within a milk chocolate shell decorated with festive purple glitter and a touch of gold lustre.

Quince gems
Dark chocolate gem-shaped shell, striped with quince-coloured cocoa butter. Filled with a milk chocolate ganache, blended with quince puree, my favourite winter fruit with a wonderful perfume.

Pictures of our new boxes, menus and market stall banner to follow…

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Vegan Caramel

It’s Chocolate Week, folks! The very best week of the whole year – you don’t need any excuse to be totally indulgent. Last night I whipped up a pot of rich, dark, silky ganache and demolished it with great glee after dinner. There are also loads of fantastic events going on – find out more about what’s going on in your local area here.

And to celebrate we have a new caramel with a twist… it’s dairy-free. Yes, that’s right – a chewy, buttery, melty rich caramel without the usual cream or butter made from cow’s milk. Instead we have lovely coconut to replace it. It also contains vegan sugar (some sugar is filtered through charred animal bones – not the one used here). This caramel is similar to the sea salt mou that was a big hit earlier in the year, except it’s vegan! Each caramel is enrobed in a rich, dark Peruvian chocolate and decorated with a little wave. Get in touch to try them for yourself (online shopping coming soon – I promise!).

I’m not a vegan myself – I’m only an almost-vegetarian (I eat a little fish now and again) – but I admire those who are. This caramel was made for you fabulous people!

Many thanks to Lagusta’s Luscious for the inspiration and tips on making vegan caramel.

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I am thrilled you let you lovely chocaholics know that over the next couple of weeks, Kokopelli’s will be switching to using Valrhona couverture. Couverture is a high quality type of chocolate used by chocolatiers and pâtissiers (it means ‘coating’ in French), containing extra cocoa butter, making it perfect for moulding and dipping. This is a significant improvement on the chocolate we have been using until now and it’s a move I have wanted to make for a long time. Finally, the time is right and I am so excited and priviliged to start working with such world-class chocolate.

Valrhona is a French chocolate maker, founded in 1922 by a pastry chef from the Rhône Valley. They make some of the very best chocolate in the world, sourcing the finest beans from around the globe to make a range of different chocolates, each one with it’s own unique and captivating flavour and aroma characteristics.

Instead of showing you a bag of Valrhona fèves, or chocolate buttons, I thought I’d show you the majesty of what can be made from Valrhona chocolate. Behold the Chocolate and Salt Caramel tart, which I made on a Valrhona masterclass I was fortunate enough to attend earlier in the year. Yes – WOW, right? I can assure you it tasted even better than it looks. And that it didn’t last very long.

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