Tuesday, December 11, 2007

O Little Chocolate House

One tradition I have maintained since childhood is that of making chocolate houses at Christmas. I used to make these with my mother. We would go to the candy store at every major holiday and purchase about ten pounds of dark chocolate and five pounds of white. I still have most of the molds for Christmas Easter, and St. Valentine’s Day. One year, my freshman year of high school, I made 66 chocolate houses and sold them around the neighborhood. My mother was then pregnant with my little brother and the smell of all those houses in the dining room would follow her wherever she went.

Now my own children are old enough to help with the chocolate making. Sure, they make a mess, and the ones made as gifts are made solely by me, but it is a fun family activity that one day they will each become skillful at.

To make the house pictured above, you will need:
1 pound of dark chocolate melting bisques (from a candy store – not the kind you find in the grocery store)
1 house mold
a double boiler
confectioners’ sugar for “snow” icing
almond extract (vanilla will make the icing turn yellow)
large multi-colored candy non-pareils
cake icing bag and tip

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. You put enough water in the bottom pot so that the top pot is sitting in the hot water. Let the water come to a simmer but not a full boil. You do not want the water to get into the chocolate. Put the chocolate in the top pot and slowly mix with a spoon until the chocolate is smooth with no lumps.

Remove the pot to a trivet. Using a large spoon, fill the parts of the house with chocolate. Gently tap the mold to make sure the chocolate is flat on top. Refrigerate until the chocolate is totally solid. Gently remove the pieces from the mold. You can turn the mold upside down and gently tap it until they come out.

If a piece breaks, you can “glue” it together with the hot chocolate from the pot. Now stand up one piece of the house. Use a knife to apply hot chocolate to a seam and hold together to the next part of the house until they are “glued” together. Continue until all the pieces are melded together. You may have enough chocolate leftover for a mold of lollipops, or you can dip some pretzels or nuts to use up whatever is sticking to the pot. If you try to eat it all you will get a tummy-ache. (I know from experience.)

Mix a tablespoon or so of water and a capful of almond extract into a bowl of confectioners’ sugar. When it is the right consistency, put the icing into the cake icing bag with icing tip. Cover the “seams”, especially at the top of the roof, and wherever else you want “snow”, with icing. You can also “glue” candy canes and other candies on with the icing. Line the top of the house with non-pareil “Christmas lights”.

This makes a perfect housegift to bring to a Christmas party or to any chocolate-loving friend!

I also make lovely chocolate-covered cherries - but I ate them all before I could take a picture.

3 comments:

Leticia said...

"I ate them all before I could take a picture!" Thanks for the honesty, I would have done the same thing! The house made it, though, and it's adorable.

Loren Christie said...

This is a beautiful house, Elizabeth, a true piece of culinary art. I am not being cynical, did you see the picture of my store-bought gingerbread haunted house? I'm baking-disabled. William Sonoma (store)has some great molds- one of an entire train. Have you ever been there?

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

No, I have never been to Sonoma. Baking is by trial and error with me. Half the time I have a disaster. I have to allow myself extra time in case I have to bake something else to replace something that is unpresentable/unpalatable!