Mrs Simkins’ Chocolate Hearts
Chocolate and a cup of tea is a perfect combination. With Valentine’s Day coming up, you might like to make one of these gorgeous chocolate treats for your own loved one – don’t forget to make them a pot of their favourite Clipper tea to go with it!
If you have more than one heart shaped cutter, you can make more than one heart at a time. Try to avoid very small cutters as realistically they are fiddly to work with. Make sure the cutter is in good condition – if it is slightly twisted, melted chocolate can ooze out. You can use dark, milk or white chocolate and choose the toppings your Valentine loves.
- Per heart: about 25g (¼ 100g bar) chocolate: preferably 70% cocoa solids if dark, 34% if milk, 30% if white
- Plus one or more of the following:
- Dried sour cherries
- Chopped dried apricots
- Whole or broken shelled nuts: almond, macadamia, pistachio, pecan, walnut or chopped nuts
- Crispy rice cereal
- Chopped crystallized ginger,
- Crystallised violets or crystallised rose petals
- Pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
- Smarties: regular size and mini ones both work well
You will need a heart shaped cutter, 7 ½ cm (nearly 3in) at its widest point and greaseproof paper or baking parchment
Brush the inside of the cutter with flavourless oil such as rapeseed or sunflower
Position the cutter onto the greaseproof paper on top of a flat plate or board: so that you can move it easily to a safe place until it sets.
Break up the chocolate and put it into a heatproof bowl. Melt the chocolate in the microwave on High, in 30 second bursts: usually, it will take between a minute and a half and two minutes altogether.
(Alternatively, melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of barely simmering water: choose a bowl that will fit comfortably in the top of the saucepan but without the bottom touching the hot water.)
Once the chocolate has melted, pour it very carefully into the heart cutter, use a flexible scraper to help you. You may need to push the chocolate gently into the corners.
Leave it for a couple of minutes and scatter your chosen bits and pieces over the top. The chocolate needs to be tacky otherwise everything will fall off when you pick it up after it has set. If you are using chopped nuts or crispy rice push them down slightly into the chocolate.
Leave it in a cool, dry place to set completely: this will take an hour or two. Once it has set you can peel away the backing paper and gently push it out of the mould using a palette knife or the tip of a dinner knife. If you are not presenting it to your loved one straight away, wrap in foil and store in an airtight tin.