Tuesday, December 16, 2014

White Chocolate Sleigh
Also doubles as an edible dessert dish. So cute!

I wanted to give you this how to video because I love this sleigh, it makes a wonderful gift, and sometimes it's better to watch a recipe rather than read one.
This is the sleigh that is on the cover of my Fall and Winter cookbook.
I hope you'll love it as much as I do.

More videos? Check out my youtube channel under Sonia Nance.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Chocolate Cookie Reindeer

Just in time for Santa's sleigh. Chocolate Cookie Reindeer.
Check out my new video.

This and many other adorable holiday recipes are in my Fall and Winter cookbook.
See more info at www.chocolatesbyimagination.com

More videos? Check out my youtube channel under Sonia Nance.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Halloween Chocolates Fun

Today I had an order to make so thought I have some fun with my chocolates. The 3-D Jack-O-Lanterns are the order. I saw those cute marshmallow pumpkins on Pinterest. Cute and easy.

This orange chocolate box is a great gift and candy corn is my favorite.
The best advice I can give you about being successful when molding confection is be picky. Pick molds that have exceptional definition. This will help greatly when your painting them.
And use good quality chocolate coatings. They are not all the same. Remember someone is going to eat this.
Merckens chocolate coatings are a good choice. 

These recipes are in my book Chocolates by Imagination Fall and Winter.
Next week I'll start to post some fun holiday recipes.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Halloween Chocloates

Halloween and Fall chocolates are soo cute.
It's time to start making chocolates again.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Yeay! My first published chocolate cookbook is finally finished. Chocolates by Imagination Spring and Summer. Tate Publishing has been working hard to prepare this title for print. The official release date is July 2014, but I can order books now! 
Off to marketing and distribution. 

Please check out my facebook page and share this great news with your friends.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Valentine Chocolate Suckers

I posted a few melt and pour Valentine suckers. I hope they give you some lovely ideas.

This is a classic white chocolate sucker. I simply added a few white candy pearls.
Taking a few minutes to paint these chocolate balloon hearts pays off in big cuteness.
So many styles to choose from. I have a hard time picking just one.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Valentine Mini Cupcakes

Super cute chocolate cupcakes. The bottom of these cupcakes are mini peanut butter cups. The tops are molded white chocolate coatings. Yes, I put the tiny hearts on with tweezers, but it was worth it.

See my website for supplies and my cookbook Chocolates by Imagination Spring and Summer, which has a more detailed recipe for the chocolate Mini Cupcakes. www.chocolatesbyimagination.com

Chocolate Coatings Melted

Here is a rare peak at my work station. I like to call it my painters pallet. Obviously, this is for Valentine's Day chocolates. Red and Pink. I keep my chocolate coatings on a warming try while I work, sometimes all day. It's much better than reheating the coatings constantly. With Easter and Spring coming, this pallet will transform to pastels.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Valentine's Day Chocolate Strawberries

20 Minutes to decadent Valentine indulgence!

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
Valentine's Day just screams Chocolate Dipped Strawberries.
I hope you have fresh strawberries at your local produce market.  

Follow the simple recipe below and surprise your Valentine with homemade chocolate strawberries like the professionals make. The most important tip I can share with you is....these are not make a-head treats. If you want excellent dipped strawberries, they must be made within an hour before you serve them. Nevertheless, not to worry, I will get you set up, and the last minute dipping will go quickly. 

1. Decide a day or three in advance what flavor chocolate you will be using (I recommend good quality chocolate coatings)  and if you are going to drizzle or sprinkle. Buy what you'll need.
2. Purchase your strawberries as fresh as possible. The day before is good.
3. The day of, rinse and dry your strawberries several hours before dipping. Set  them aside in a cool place covered with a clean dish cloth. 
4. Put your chocolate(s) in the melting bowl(s). Have your sprinkles, chocolate, wax paper and serving plate together and ready to use.

Show Time 
Allow thirty minutes just in case.
Milk chocolate coatings
Melt chocolate coatings. Remember melt not heat. One pound of coatings in the microwave at 50% power, that is critical, for 30 second increments, stirring often.
Dip your clean, dry strawberries into the coatings as seen in the photo. Let the extra coatings drip back into the cup. (That tip alone will help you make professional looking dipped strawberries). Place the dipped strawberry on a cookie sheet that has been lined with wax or parchment paper. Add sprinkles at this point if you like. Set in the frig for 10 minutes. Remove from frig. This a perfect time to drizzle the strawberries with a different flavor of chocolate coatings.

Now is a good time to eat one, for quality control of course!

Set the dipped strawberries on a beautiful serving plate and prepare to dazzle your Valentine.

Note: Once the dipped strawberries have come out of the frig, never put them back in, really never, unless you want mush.  So only make the amount you need as you need them.  

I will be posting many Valentine's Day chocolate ideas, so check back soon. 

All my best, Sonia

See my website for supplies and my cookbook chocolates by Imagination Spring and Summer, which has a more detailed recipe for the chocolate covered strawberries. www.chocolatesbyimagination.com

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Chocolate Heart Box

Chocolate Heart Box Recipe

Chocolate heart box
I love this chocolate heart box so much I wanted to share it with  you again. 
I filled the box with dark, milk, white, red and pink molded chocolate bite size solids. The base is dark chocolate and the lid is pink chocolate. They are so simple you can make one for everybody. 

Choosing molds: Since this has been my business for twenty five years, I have many molds to choose from (collecting molds is half the fun). I offer this one on my website. www.chocolatesbyimagination.com. However, you can find very nice molds at your local candy supply store. Choose a heart box mold. Be sure to get the top and bottom of the mold. And an additional mold with small bite size hearts. This heart box measures approximately five inches in diameter.

Chocolate Coatings: I use chocolate coatings because they do not need tempering. Choose your Valentine's favorite flavor. 

For two boxes you will need: 
1 1/2 pounds dark chocolate coatings
1 pound pink chocolate coatings
1/4 pound red chocolate coatings
1/4 pound white chocolate coatings
1/4 pound milk chocolate coatings

If the heart box mold you picked has the top and bottom of the box on the same mold use scissors to cut the mold in half. You want the top and bottom separate from one another. Be very careful not to cut the heart box itself. Place the dark chocolate coatings in a large microwave safe bowl. Microwave on 50% power for 40 seconds. Stir. Repeat until the coatings are melted. Place the pink chocolate coatings in a large microwave safe bowl and melt as you did the dark coatings. Using a spoon, fill the bottom of the box with dark coatings being careful not to overfill. Tap the mold on the table to remove the air bubbles. Cool in the refrigerator for 25 minutes. Meanwhile, using a spoon, fill the top of the heart box with pink coatings being careful not to overfill it. Tap the mold on the table to remove the air bubbles and cool in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

To remove the box from the mold place your hand on top of the molded coatings, turn the mold upside down and the chocolate should fall out. If not, gently twist the mold side to side and try again. 

Place the red, white and milk chocolate coatings into separate small microwave safe bowls. Microwave on 50% power for 20 seconds. Stir. Repeat until melted. Spoon the red coatings into the bite size hearts being careful not to overfill them. Tap on the table to remove the air bubbles and cool in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Repeat with the white and milk coatings until you have the desired number of hearts.

Fill the heart box with assorted bite size hearts, place the lid on the box and wrap in cellophane to secure the lid. Place in a four inch cello bag and decorate with Valentine's ribbon.

It really is that simple. Now for the secret...I have only seen this technique fail for one reason, the chocolate coatings were not melted properly. Patients when melting the coatings will be highly beneficial. Here are a few things to keep in mind that will help you to be successful with all your molding and dipping.

  • Chocolate coatings do not like to be hot. You will be melting them, not cooking them.
  • You should aways be able to handle the bowls after melting. They should not be hot.
  • Keep all chocolate coatings away from steam and water.
  • Stir, stir, stir. This helps to cool down the coatings and keeps them from blooming.
If you have any questions just comment on this post and I will reply back.
All my best, Sonia

Friday, January 10, 2014

Left over Christmas chocolate, what to do? Part Three

After inquiring about this Christmas chocolate dilemma, my good friend Sharon and a few others recommended the following.
For people with control (that's not me). Keep the chocolates in a hiding place in the refrigerator or freezer and take one out at a time to enjoy.
For people without control (me). Take them to work or class and put them in the break room for everyone to share. Find a church or school that may need some treats. They should be unopened.
Share them with a friend or neighbor that maybe was not as blessed as you by the chocolate fairy.

Just so you know, I very much appreciate all the input I received on this subject, but I do not recommend putting chocolate in the frig or freezer, ever! Chocolates are tropical treats that like to be cool not cold. If you do chill your chocolates I still love you, just remember when they come out to room temperature they are going to sweat and be a little sticky. They may even bloom (turn streaky white).

Let me know how it works out,
Enjoy, Sonia

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

My Happiest Place on earth
I know people say the happiest place on earth is Disneyland. I have been to Disneyland countless times and yes, it's pretty great. But my happiest place on earth is.... Williams and Sonoma. As a self proclaimed Domestic Diva this shouldn't be a shock to any of you. I know you love it too! Today I went over to pick up their newest heart shaped cookie cutter. I can't wait to make it for Valentine's Day.
What is your happiest place on earth?

Enjoy, Sonia

Friday, January 3, 2014

Left over Christms chocolate, what to do? Part One

Truffles, solids and marshmallow covered chocolates.
Like you, I had so many wonderful chocolate gifts this holiday season. Now, after denying myself nothing for a month, I need to shed a few pounds. Nevertheless, what am I going to do with all this chocolate? No way am I throwing it out! Check out a few of these ideas to save the chocolates. If you like these ideas pin it on pintrest, maybe together we can save some innocent cocoa. If you have an idea, please share.

1. Use them instead of chocolate chips for cookies, pancakes, oatmeal and muffins. Remembering your chocolates will stay fresh a few months, leave them in the original wrappers, put them in a airtight container and store them in a cool dark cupboard or pantry. When its time for baking, cut your leftover chocolates into small chunks. Cooling them in the frig for 15 minutes will harden the chunks and make it easier to stir them into your mix.

Cut up truffles and chocolate dipped marshmallow pieces.

2. Mix and match. Don't be too concerned about separating the different flavors or variety's, mixing them up will be very decadent.
3. Keep your solids for dipping Strawberries. I hate to remind you but, Valentine's Day is only five weeks away. I will be posting a foolproof recipe for Chocolate Dipped Valentine Strawberries soon. Melting your extra Christmas chocolates for dipping works great.  

We'll get to that soon.
Enjoy, Sonia