A touch under a year ago I met a very wonderful frenchman. I feel quite confident that he's too wrapped up in physics equations and 2-D materials (... I don't know either, folks... don't feel bad if you're lost already) to read BAKECETERA, so I'm open to romantic gushing as I please. Our meeting very closely coincided with his birthday. Since things were new, and I didn't want to scare anyone away too quickly by over-zealous cake making, I made a homemade version of one of my favourite childhood treats - the chocolate turtle. It was fun because the turtles are quick and easy to snack on, a huge bonus at a crowded house party, and because I learned that chocolate turtles are really a North America treat... or at least they're new to French people! It was not fun to learn that this frenchie is allergic to nuts. Sigh. I tried?
In any case, I've been dreaming about this sweet potato caramel lately and thought it would be the perfect centrepiece for a chocolate treat! These little chocolate hearts are nut-free this time, but still packed with the delicious sweet potato caramel. (The caramel recipe is a gem!) It's a bit laborious to cook down a kilo (1.36 kilos, to be exact) of sweet potatoes, so luckily the next step of chocolate making is really simple... the two procedures kinda of cancel each other out in the end!
Zee frenchman and I are venturing off to Portugal this week. We're starting off in Alejento, driving down to Faro, and then finishing off the week in Lisbon. I am over the moon excited, and I'm currently noshing on these chocolates as I plan out any remaining details! (PS: if you've been to any of these places, recommendations are totally welcomed!!!)
Sweet potato caramel hearts - what you need:
- 1 batch of this sweet potato caramel recipe
- 1-2 tablespoons of maple syrup
- 200 grams of dark chocolate
+ materials: a chocolate mould and a paint brush (do NOT use a paint brush that has already been used to paint with! Grab a new one!!)
SWEET POTATO CARAMEL HEARTS - WHAT YOU do:
Make the sweet potato caramel. I followed the recipe exactly.
(It takes some time, but it's easy! and after you have delicious caramel and sweet potato mash... it's a win-win situation.)
While the finished sweet potato caramel is still in the saucepan, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, as desired, for extra sweetness. Stir well. The caramel should still be hot at this point, so the maple syrup melts right in.
Allow the caramel to cool and prepare the melted chocolate for the chocolate moulds.
Melt 100 grams of the chocolate - either in the microwave or over a double boiler. Using a paint brush, apply a strong layer of chocolate to the bottom and sides of the chocolate mould. Allow the chocolate to set in the fridge for around 5 to 10 minutes.
Put the sweet potato caramel in a pastry bag. If you don't have a pastry bag, just use a spoon at this step.
Remove the chocolate from the fridge. The sides and bottom should have hardened up.
Pipe (or spoon) approximately a teaspoon of caramel into each chocolate mould.
Melt the remaining 100 grams chocolate (using the same bowl).
Using two spoons, cover the caramel with the melted chocolate and smooth out the tops.
Allow the chocolates to set in the fridge until they are completely hardened. I left mine overnight in the fridge, but 3-4 hours should be sufficient.
For more a clear, step-by-step procedure, check out these vegan peanut butter chocolate truffles!
I used a heart mould because I'm preparing myself for a romantic holiday, but any sort of chocolate mould is fine here! This made 18 chocolates with the heart mould.
The caramel is sweet and earthy. The dark chocolate combination is perfect for a fairly healthy snack and sugar boost. I love the creamy texture of the caramel in contrast to the thick crunch of the chocolate as you bite into these chocolates!
Baking soundtrack - tunes to inspire your inner baker:
I'm seeing them in Paris next month... so naturally I've been playing their new album "Another Eternity" nonstop in preparation.