While you might believe that the best way to say "I love you" is with homemade sweets, that does not necessarily mean you're up to the task of producing something that actually is both sweet and homemade. If you're the type of home baker who would be much more comfortable competing on Nailed It! than say, The Great British Baking Show, made-from-scratch treats don't have to be out of the question for Valentine's Day gifts this year. You can create professional-looking edible goodies without any baking. That's right, you don't even have to turn on the oven. All it takes is melting a little chocolate, and who better to teach you how to do that than Nail It!'s Jacques Torres himself?
With his over 40 years of experience as a pastry chef and chocolatier and the patient and ever-encouraging instructing style we've all seen him use with frazzled Nailed It! contestants, we thought Jacques Torres would be the perfect person to explain exactly how to melt chocolate, so we reached out for his directions. With Torres' method, you'll be able to create chocolate-dipped strawberries, marshmallows, pretzels, or anything else that taste great and have that pleasant shine that comes from proper tempering. Take a look below for six easy steps straight from chef Jacques Torres.
1. Place a saucepan half filled with water over medium heat and cover with heatproof mixing bowl large enough to snugly rest on the rim of the saucepan. The water should not touch the bottom of the mixing bowl. If it does, empty some out.
2. Depending how much chocolate you need to temper, place 2/3 of that amount in the bowl. It's best to use chocolate discs, otherwise, chop up a bar in small uniform pieces.
3. Use a rubber spatula to stir occasionally until the chocolate reaches about 100 degrees.
4. Carefully remove the bowl from the pan. Stir in the remaining chocolate.
5. As the chocolate cools to a temperature of about 83-84 degrees, you will see the chocolate start to crystallize (harden) around the outside edge of the bowl. Use the rubber spatula to stir the crystallized chocolate into the melted chocolate.
6. Being careful not to overheat it, the place bowl of melted chocolate over simmering water until the chocolate reaches the ideal working temperature of 88-90 degrees. If the chocolate is tempered, a knife tip dipped into tempered chocolate will set with a nice shine after 60 seconds in the refrigerator.
Now you are ready to use the tempered chocolate. Have fun!
Though Torres' instructions are super straight-forward, as we've seen on Nailed It, directions from a world-renowned pastry chef still don't always make for perfect results. So, if all else fails, you can always just order some last-minute flowers.