This page last updated: 30 June 2013.
On this page find a few recipes for, perhaps explorations into,
unhealthy things. The entries are in date order, most
recent at the top.
Alcoholic Chocolate Cherries - Experiment Five
30 June 2013
So, success at last, but not exactly cheaply. We purchased
2.5 kg of dry ice from www.chillistick.com.
It is delivered by courier and arrives in a very thick-walled
polystyrene box. You have to use it on the day it arrives as it is
evaporating all the time, so time things carefully: you will need
to be able to spend the entire day on chocolates. Oh, and it
apparently gets down to -80 C so you won't need to leave things in
it for very long. Aside from the dry ice, you will need
soaked cherries (as for experiment
one below), two sacks of couverture chocolate from the
Factory (we used one dark and one light), one of those
insulated picnic hampers that the 30 mm hemispherical chocolate
mould should fit inside, and a helping hand.
Begin by making a mixture of three to one icing sugar and the
liquid from your soaked cherries. 21 tablespoons of sugar
and 7 tablespoons of liquid will allow you to make 24 chocolates
with the 30 mm hemispherical moulds. Take your two 30 mm
hemispherical chocolate moulds: into one put two teaspoons of the
mixture and into the other one teaspoon of the mixture and half a
Put these in the coldest place of your coldest freezer to solidify
a little then, after an hour or two, place the mould with the
cherries in it upside-down on the other mould, neatly
aligned. Put them back in the freezer for half an hour so
that the two halves can bond.
Put some (at least 1/3rd) of your dry ice in the base of the
insulated picnic hamper. Take the pair of moulds out of your
freezer and put them into the hamper too, then put foil on top of
that to keep the coolness in. Replace the lid of the hamper
and wait for one hour.
While you are waiting, take a good quantity of the darker
couverture chocolate and temper it by bringing the main quantity
up to 44 C, then taking it off the heat and mixing in 1/8th more
then 1/8th more again until the temperature drops to 32 C.
Take the moulds out of the dry ice. The race is now
on. One of you should peel back the now very stiff silicon
mould and pop out the centres. If the two halves haven't
bonded together, add a little more of the cherry juice to the
joining surface to act as glue and squidge the two halves
together. Your helper should then take the centres and drops
them into the chocolate, turn them very quickly with a fork and
then, equally quickly, hold each centre on the fork and bank the
fork on the side of the chocolate bowl to remove excess
chocolate. The coated centre is then placed on grease-proof
paper to set. You may find that there is some leakage of goo
- patch these holes up with more melted chocolate as you go.
If you find you don't have enough chocolate you can always
return your mould to the cooler and make more by returning the
chocolate to 44 C and adding more couverture.
Repeat this process for as many sets of mixture as you care to,
using up the remaining dry ice. For information, we tried
using ice-cube trays instead of the silicon moulds but the centres
were very, very, difficult to get out so the silicon moulds are
absolutely recommended. Condensation will form on your
chocolates as they cool so leave them overnight to dry out.
The following day, take a good quantity of your lighter couverture
chocolate and temper that in the same way. Use a basting
brush to paint each chocolate with this outer coating - this will
ensure that the coating is not too thick and this coating will
cover up any possible remaining leakages. Leave to set.
So, what did we get? Well, here's one of the mis-shapes cut
open beside a picture of the original.
Clearly a goo! At last, we've done it. But of course
it is not cheap to get dry ice delivered. So we need to find
a cheaper way next.
Alcoholic Chocolate Cherries - Experiment Four
27 June 2013
No pictures of this one as there is nothing useful to report.
We tried making a five to one mixture of icing sugar with the
liquid from the cherries and freezing it in one of the 30 mm
hemispherical moulds. The problem is that the freezing point
of a sugary mush this dense is around -30 C, whereas a normal
freezer will only go down to -20 C. So not a ball, more a
lump of soft putty that it is impossible to coat with chocolate.
We then tried reducing the mixture to a three to one icing sugar
to fluid mix and, this time, filling two 30 mm hemispherical
moulds, putting half a cherry into one of them and, once they have
been left to freeze overnight, putting the two together so that
spheres are formed. This time we did get a ball, quite gooey
but still a ball. However, as soon as you attempt to cover
it in chocolate the ball loses consistency immediately and you
just get goo everywhere. Hmph. The way to do this
would be to use liquid nitrogen to freeze the balls but liquid
nitrogen is difficult to get hold of in small quantities for
So we took to a plan B, which is to make hollow hemispheres of
chocolate, put a one to one icing sugar/liquid syrup in them,
freeze that, add a half cherry on top and then put a chocolate
coating on top of that. So they won't be spheres but the
should hold their own structurally. This worked reasonably
well from a structural standpoint, relatively little leakage and
they could be patched-up but the taste wasn't as nice as the
properly sweet goo of experiment three.
Update - someone pointed out today that dry ice gets me down to
-46C and that's available from places such as www.chillistick.com.
Not cheap but it has GOT to be done. This weekend is gonna
Alcoholic Chocolate Cherries - Experiment Three
16 June 2013
In experiment three we've tried two moulds and chilled
goo. It went something like this.
In a small bowl, mix one tablespoon of the liquid that your
cherries have been soaking in with five tablespoons of icing
sugar. Place this in the fridge.
Take two 30 mm hemispherical chocolate moulds.
Put one of them in the fridge. Take 12 of your soaked
cherries and cut them in two.
Melt four 100 gm bars of Green & Black's chocolate,
half 34% cocoa, half 70% cocoa, using the same tempering
technique as below (though we're still not sure it's
working). Use a large teaspoon to put the chocolate
into the mould that was not in the fridge and then take out the
mould that was in the fridge and do the same.
Push the half cherries into the mould that was not in the fridge
then take your bowl of sweet goo out of the fridge (the goo
should now be the consistency of putty). Use your fingers
and the rear end of the spoon to add a lump of goo to the bowl
of each cherry. Do this as quickly as you can - the
chocolate in the mould that was in the fridge is solidifying on
the outside as you do this but you don't want the chocolates to
Flip the other, chilled, mould full of chocolate upside-down on
a chopping board and give it a minute to let the innards of each
hemisphere run out. Then lift it onto the top of the mould
with the filled cherries, lining the two moulds up as you do so.
Eat the chocolate goo from the chopping board with your
fingers. Leave the moulds for half an hour to solidify and
then carefully peel off the top mould. Pop out the
chocolates. They may well not have fused together so just
gently push them back into place so that you know which is
paired with which.
Melt another two 100 gm bars of chocolate, again half
34% cocoa, half 70% cocoa, using the same tempering
technique, androll the chocolates in this, using it to glue
any loose halves back together again.
So, what's the verdict? Well, the halved cherry is
about the right quantity of cherry and, as you can see from
the picture on the right above, the cavity has worked.
However, the coating of chocolate is still too thick and,
though the goo is better then before (i.e. the result is
sweeter), there still isn't enough of it. Could
possibly inject it back in again? Hmmph.
Next, what we think we'll try is using the moulds to make a
ball of goo topped by a half cherry. We can then coat
this in liquid chocolate in the thinnest form possible and,
hopefully, the goo will deliquesce afterwards. Since
this tempering thing plainly isn't working with the Green
& Blacks chocolate, we'll also try it with the
couverture chocolate from the Home Chocolate
Alcoholic Chocolate Cherries - Experiment Two, Execution
6 May 2013
Time to execute experiment two. We used the Home Chocolate
Factory method to temper the chocolate, which is basically
melt 2/3rds of your chocolate to 44 C and let it cool while adding
the remainder of the chocolate. It is questionable whether
this worked since, at the end, the chocolate did come out somewhat
streaky (though this might have been from the alcoholic cherry
juice getting mixed with it). Note that you will need a
cooking thermometer and that using a metal bowl, rather than a
glass one, is useful as you do actively want the chocolate to
For this first part of the execution we used two 100 gm bars of
Green & Black's chocolate, one 34% cocoa the other 70% cocoa.
We used a large teaspoon to plop the chocolate into the
mould. This was allowed to cool a little and then put in the
fridge for 3 minutes before bringing it out again and placing it
upside-down on a chopping board. After letting it sit for a
minute we turned the mould over again so that some of the
chocolate in the middle of each of the moulds plopped out.
Eat the messy leftover chocolate off the chopping board.
The original plan had been to do this twice to make two sets of
hemispheres and then mate them with a cherry and some goo
inside. However, we realised at this point that there was no
way enough room left inside the hemispheres to do that so we
changed tack. Instead we placed a cherry inside each while
the chocolate was still melted, then we melted another two bars of
chocolate (200 gm, in the same cocoa proportions as above) and
plopped that as neatly as we could on top.
We left this to cool properly then popped out each of the cherries
from the mould and trimmed the excess chocolate off as best we
could. The cherry can end up being exposed during this
process so we melted the chocolate trimmings along with another
one and half bars of chocolate (150 gm), just 34% cocoa this time,
and rolled the chocolates in this to seal them up again.
As you can see from the last picture, we placed the chocolates
into petits fours cases at this point in the foolish belief that
we'd pretty much finished.
Now for the injection. We filled the syringe with the liquid
from the cherry jar, got a bowl of boiling water to heat/unblock
the needle and then injected each chocolate with the liquid.
The needle often clogged on first injection (because the chocolate
is actually pushed up into the needle on the way in) so it is
usually necessary to push the needle in twice, the first time to
make the hole, then put the needle into the boiling water to
unblock it, and the second time to inject the fluid.
Now, as you will see, this caused a problem as there is no
real cavity for the fluid to go into (other than maybe a small
space in the middle of the cherry) so instead it squirted out of
the weakest part of the chocolates. Hence we melted a
final one and a half bars of chocolate (300 gm), just 70% this
time, removed the petits fours cases and gave the chocolates a
So, what were they like? Well, there was quite a lot of
chocolate from all those coatings, significantly more than in the
Bodrato. The cherry was juicy but there was no
actual fluid because there wasn't a cavity. Edible,
and not bad as chocolates but also not quite what was intended;
need that mouthful of alcoholic fluid. Some things to try
next as improvements:
Make an exit hole with the needle before injecting so that
there is no pressure build up to break the chocolate.
But does injecting really work anyway unless there is a
Maybe make an almost icing-like paste from the goo and
slather that in and over the cherry instead? It is rumoured
that there is something which liquifies over time.
To avoid all this coating, use two moulds and trap the
cherry between them.
Suss this tempering thing.
Alcoholic Chocolate Cherries - Experiment Two, Preparation
29 January 2013
We've done some more research. We have found hemispherical
chocolate moulds, 30 mm in diameter, from the Home Chocolate
Factory. On Amazon we have found a syringe with a
"cream needle", a needle normally used for medical purposes, 1.1
mm in diameter, so it should be capable of injecting syrup.
We've read-up on how to temper chocolate (the nice Home Chocolate
Factory people send a free leaflet with the moulds). And
we've set off another 800 gm of cherries into alcoholic storage,
same syrup as before, this time leaving no stalks in place and
stoning the cherries with an olive-pitter we happened to have on
the handle of a garlic press.
Now, we wait...
Alcoholic Chocolate Cherries
- Experiment One
29 January 2013
Several years ago our local delicatessen, Sceptred Isle, now
sadly closed, managed to source some marvellous alcoholic
chocolate cherries. They were, are, made by Bodrato, an
Italian chocolate company, and were called Boeri
Each chocolate consists of a whole cherry, soaked in grappa,
inside a chocolate shell; a mouthful of taste explosion and quite
a large amount of alcohol. Bodrato have one UK importer, Red Or White, but the
quantites available are not huge so we thought we'd try making our
own. Not that we're ever likely to get close to the original
but we thought it might be fun to try.
Our first experiment was to soak a punnet of cherries in an
alcoholic syrup for three months and then coat them in
chocolate. The recipe is as follows:
- 435 gm cherries, stone left in and with a short stalk left for
- 350 ml cognac (half a normal bottle)
- 175 ml water
- 100 gm sugar
- 4 cloves
- one cinnamon stick
- three bars of good quality chocolate (e.g. Green & Blacks
Take two 70 cl storage jars and divide the washed cherries between
them. Add two cloves to each jar. Snap the cinnamon
stick in half and put half in each jar. Add the sugar to the
water and heat to dissolve the sugar. Let it cool, add the
cognac and then pour the liquid equally over the cherries in the
two jars. Close them tightly and store in a dark place for
Once the cherries are ready, melt the chocolate in a glass bowl
placed over simmering water in a pan. With the aid of a spoon,
coat the cherries in the chocolate, placing them in petit four
cases if you like to contain the flow of the chocolate.
So how did the experiment turn out? Well, the cherries were
very alcoholic but there wasn't as much fluid alcohol as we would
have liked. The little stalks left in place looked pretty
but they, and the stone in the cherry, got in the way of the
eating experience. And they didn't keep very long, the
chocolate falling away after a few weeks. We need some
chocolate tempering technique and a more liqueur-like approach to
29 January 2013
Limoncello is rather a variable thing, ranging from the divine to
the over-sweet to the basically-chemically. Having had
several in our time we thought we'd have a go at making our
own as it is trivially easy to do. Some experimentation has
lead to the following recipe. The result is around 25%
alcohol and so it doesn't freeze when stored in the freezer,
making it an excellent summer-time tipple.
The ingredients are simple - four parts vodka to one part sugar to
one part lemon juice, plus lemon rind (unwaxed of course).
One lemon gives about 40 gm of juice, so a good scaling would be:
- 1 litre vodka
- 250 gm sugar
- juice of 6 lemons, plus rind
This fits neatly into a 2 litre storage jar.
First of all, pare the rind from the lemons (most easily with a
zester to get nice long fine strips). Put the rind into the 2
litre storage jar. Juice those lemons into a small pan, add
the sugar, then heat to dissolve the sugar. Pour the mixture
into the storage jar, add the vodka and close the lid of the
storage jar. This will likely take you no more than 20
minutes. Shake the jar twice a day for two weeks and your
limoncello is ready.
Decant the liquid into 0.5 litre sloe gin bottles as these are
really easy to pack into your freezer. After decanting the
liquid into the sloe gin bottles, stuff the lemon rind equally
into the bottles also. Store in the freezer until required
and always pour directly from the freezer for a lovely oily