Bettys Chocolate Course Harrogate
Fancy being Willy Wonka for the day? I felt more like an Oompa-Loompa though…but anyhow, Bettys chocolate course was…and this is an understatement, incredible! Let me tell you all about it and what to expect.
Get ready to be taken through the intricate techniques of working with chocolate including…
Melting, tempering, case making, piping, truffles making and decorating.
I literally enjoyed EVERY minute of it!
Bettys Cookery School – The Chocolate Box Course
First off, the school itself and the facilities are absolutely top notch.
From looking at Bettys tea rooms, you’d expect NO less.
The place was bling!
They have a very well organised operation, well-equipped surroundings and the bathrooms are immaculate…
…with L’Occitane soap…Ooh-la-la!
And if your wondering about were to put your purse, handbags or any other baggage you have with you…
(not your husbands…ha!)
No worries. They have lockers for storage.
All the equipment you use on the course can be purchased in their cook shop (all top brands, Kenwood, micro plane etc.).
On Arrival – Don’t Be ChocoLATE
The day kicked off with a warm welcome from Julie, our lovely hostess and her handmade morning treats – chocolate croissants and as much tea and coffee as you can down.
Plenty of fresh fruit available for more of a healthy option.
Haha! We are on a chocolate course remember, you can forget it!
If your dairy, gluten or husband intolerant…hehe, don’t worry, they’ll cater for whatever needs be.
Just let them know on arrival.
Being dairy and gluten intolerant, they provided me with soya milk for my coffee.
I was extremely well looked after.
In fact, the service was impeccable.
While indulging in breakfast, you’ll have a short health questionnaire to fill in and time to yak to the other participants.
You’ll be given your very own Bettys recipe book and pen to take home.
And guess what?
It has a cooking conversion chart on the back page.
Which I’ll probably cut out and stick on my fridge.
Lastly, before you start, they’ll give you a quick brief on health and safety.
Learning To Make The Caramel Filling
Our tutors were Jenny Culver and Kirsty Mitchison.
Master chocolatiers, who may I add, are on top of their field.
These ladies know how to teach rather than just showing off their skills.
Kirsty demonstrated how to make the caramel filling step by step and what to look out for with consistency etc.
And she showed us a neat trick when filling the piping bags.
Put the bag in a measuring jug then roll the edges of the bag down over the top of the jug then simply pour in the filling.
OMG! Why didn’t I think of that? So simple.
Caramel aside, Kirsty then showed us how to cut the ganache (which was already made up for us) into 36 equal squares.
18 of them will be used to make toothsome truffles.
Best NOT to rush this part and take your time to get them equally sized.
Otherwise, you’ll end up with big truffles, little truffles.
Just like my husband later realised.
LOL! Check out little and large:
Hmm…that kind of reminds me of something ??
Oh yeah…that’s it.
By the way, the recipe for the ganache is in your recipe book.
Saying that, Kirsty did quickly run through on how to make the ganache anyway.
Demo over, assigned to our stations and we were good to go.
Ooey, Gooey Perfection!
Now the fun starts!
But before I go any further,
You’ll be glad to know that all your ingredients are weighed out ready for you.
GREAT STUFF !!!
You don’t even have to wash up.
Thank goodness for that!
Look at the state of my workstation.
I admit, my Oompa-Loompa skills got a little out of hand.
Anyhow, back to making caramel.
Apparently, this is the easiest task out of the lot.
Truthfully, it was pretty easy to make.
Bung all the ingredients into a pan. Boil until it hits 125c and then pour it into your piping bag and set aside to cool.
After that, it was time to cut my ganache into 36 equal squares.
To be fair, my knife skills ain’t the best.
I could have done with a ruler 🙂
Half of them I had to roll into truffles and set aside.
Elevenses – Coffee Break
Caramel filling done – Check.
Truffles prepared – Check.
Time for a break – Check.
For morning break, the very best fresh coffee, tea and biscuits were provided.
I had a lovely coffee made with soya milk and a free from fruit and nut bar.
While we all sat around enjoying our coffee and biccies the tutors prepared our ingredients and workstations for our next task.
Learning To Melt & Temper Chocolate
This is the part I was looking forward to the most.
Mastering the art of tempering.
But first, Kirsty lined her mold with pre-tempered white chocolate to create a striped pattern on her chocolates.
Now the exciting part – Woohoo!
Kirsty demonstrated how to melt chocolate carefully while raising the temperature of the chocolate to exactly 48c.
TO EXACTLY 48C.
She explained the science behind chocolate tempering and gave us some interesting facts about the nature of chocolate itself and how it acts when warmed and cooled.
I couldn’t believe how much science goes into melting chocolate.
I know what your thinking.
Blinking heck, you just wanna melt chocolate right?
Sad news is, it’s just not that simple.
Oh, and get this.
Did you know chocolate has a memory??
Neither did I!
Apparently, it remembers.
Yeah, I was stumped with that one also.
Once Kirsty’s chocolate reached 48c, she poured 3/4 of the delicious looking lava out onto the granite surface and began tempering the chocolate until it cooled to between 25-27c.
She then scooped it back into the bowl with the remaining chocolate.
The chocolate mix would now be at around 31c – it’s what they call “perfect working temperature”.
She made it look SOOOOO easy.
Watch the master in action:
Making Chocolate Cases
After watching her amazing tempering skills,
She filled the mold with her tempered chocolate and drained the excess.
Oh, and this is the important part.
Making “Chocolate Rain”.
A few good SMACKS on the side of the mold that is.
Now the chocolate cases are put aside to set nicely.
Before we were sent off to our battle stations,
She gave us a quick recapped and answered all our questions in a way us amateurs would easily understand.
My Tiger Stripped Chocolates
Now the REAL fun starts!
Hyped up on coffee and ready to go,
I was in full on Willy Wonka mode.
I’d been given a golden ticket to all chocolate lovers dreams.
Using the pre-tempered white chocolate, I lined my mold with Tiger stripes.
(that was not actually easy, it’s all about the hand flow apparently).
Note to self:
Make sure your worktop is prepared for tempering and make sure everything you need is at hand.
Because here the thing.
Once you start, there’s no stopping.
You need to be on hand at all times from melting the chocolate to tempering to ensure it doesn’t burn.
It’s a mucky yet creative process.
Don’t even think about washing your hands or cutlery in between.
Or wander off to have a nose…
You wait for the chocolate, chocolate doesn’t wait for you.
No pressure there!
So let’s fire away.
48c, 26c, 31c – The Science of Making Chocolate
It begins with the feeling of…
HECK! This is either gonna go good, or bad!
I could see everyone else looking around to see who DARES to start first.
It’s like watching the Great British Bake Off!
Do or die…I went for it.
I carefully followed Kirsty’s instructions when melting the chocolate.
Here’s a trick for you.
Continuously remove the bowl on and off the pan of boiling water to ensure you don’t melt it too quickly.
Remove the bowl from above the pan of boiling water before it hits 48c. I would say 45c.
The chocolate will continue to rise in temperature and hit that 48c mark without going over and ruining your chocolate.
Now comes the scary part.
Your chocolate lava is BANG on the mark and ready for pouring out.
At this point, you realise there’s no going back.
The key to tempering chocolate is to keep it moving across the cooled surface.
And keep checking the temperature now and again.
Chocolate needs your FULL attention at all times.
Now that my chocolate reached the cool temperature of 26c, I quickly scooped it up back into the bowl.
At this point, it was at a nice perfect working temperature of 31c.
I coated my chocolate mold twice to ensure my chocolate shells would be thick enough.
After that, the tutors will store them in the…
DARE I SAY IT!
Obviously, they don’t advise it, but we needed the chocolate cases to set while Kirsty showed us how to pipe the caramel into the cases.
So off we went piping our caramel into our cases.
When I replicate this at home, I think I’ll try my banoffee caramel recipe instead.
Good job lunch was ready, I was tempted to squirt some in my gob!
2 Course Lunch Plus Wine
One things for sure, you won’t go hungry on this course…
But you MAY get drunk!
A choice of crisp white, robust red or refreshing Rosé wine. <<< Help yourself btw 🙂
If you’re not really a drinker like me, then Elderflower bubbly will be provided – Seriously nice.
For lunch, everyone tucked into a quiche lorraine, celeriac slaw, boiled potatoes and salad.
My gluten and dairy free alternative to quiche was a quality piece of Salmon.
I was so glad…I hate quiche!
Even though my husband said it was the best quiche he’s ever tasted,
He would have preferred a salmon.
Haha…I can still see the look on his face as I cut into my flaky pink fleshed Salmon.
For dessert, while everyone indulged even further into a “Stegosaurus look alike” fresh fruit meringue,
We free from addicts had a seasonal fresh fruit salad drizzled in Raspberry sauce and topped with Strawberry & Basil Sorbet.
Filling & Decorating Chocolate
Melting, tempering, filling, hand rolling…
By now I had a belly full!
Of lunch I mean…hehe.
After lovesome lunch, we again sat around the big screen to watch Kirsty wave her magic.
And Just as I thought the tempering bit was over,
She again showed us how to melt and temper chocolate.
Which was used to cap off the chocolate cases.
With the remaining tempered chocolate, she showed us how to coat our ganache by dunking them in melted chocolate.
Surprisingly enough, this took some skill.
Before throwing us to the lions once again,
Kirsty quickly showed us a few different ways to decorate the chocolates and truffles.
At this point, I was hoping mine would turn out just as good:
Off I went back into the lions pit again to melt my chocolate to exactly 48C.
Second time lucky hey?
That done and chocolate melted, I began waving my palette knife and scraper all over the granite top once again.
I felt like a master sushi chef!
Beautifully tempered chocolate….well, at least I think so.
I capped off my chocolates and set aside.
I LOVED this next bit.
Decorating my truffles and cubed chocolates.
I topped off some of my cubed chocolates with cacao nibs.
Others I sprinkled with edible gold dust.
And the rest I created a beautiful leaf print design using a plastic template.
Apart from needing a little tidying up, I was pretty darn impressed with my decorating skills.
My truffles were coated in icing sugar, cacao powder and cacao nibs.
Now came the moment of truth…
Removing my Tiger striped chocolates from the mold…
DUN DUN DUUUUN!!! (Dramatic Sound Effect)
Whoohoo! Came out in one perfect smack of the mould.
They looked sweet!
Afternoon Tea with Bettys Scones, Jam & Clotted Cream
Remember me telling you that you’ll be WELL fed on this course?
Yeah well, if you ain’t already full from breakfast, snack and dinner…
And not forgetting licking chocolate off your fingers all day!
You now have to down some of Bettys buttered scones generously topped with jam and clotted cream.
I had a vegan and gluten-free oat granola bake.
Between me and you, I wasn’t even hungry.
I was sick of sweet stuff.
But I couldn’t refuse it knowing that our lovely hostess (Julie) went to all that trouble of providing me with a vegan and gluten-free treat.
So I did the next best thing…
I quickly shoved it in my pocket to take home 🙂
Which I later gave to my mother-in-law…hehe!
Naughty, I know.
And before you ask,
No, I didn’t wrap it in kitchen paper.
And yes, I had one HECK of a sticky pocket…
Yet, one happy in-law!
Chocolate Box Pretty
Our last task of the day was to decorate and box our lovely choccie creations.
We were given our very own Bettys chocolate boxes, bags, truffle cases, ribbons and tags to take home.
I was chuffed to bits!
Boxed, bagged and tagged…
My creations looked chocolate box pretty!
At the end of it all…
Yeah, sure, I put on a few extra pounds,
Yes, my Bettys apron was covered in chocolate,
And yes, my shoes did need a wipe down.
Yet, as far as value for money goes,
It was worth EVERY dime!
Sadly, you can’t take your apron home, but you can purchase one though.
Saying that I still left with a LOAD of treats,
A massive amount of confidence in my chocolate skills,
And of course…
A chocolate-related glow 🙂
If you’re thinking of attending Bettys chocolate course,
Then BOOK early to AVOID disappointment.
It’s always a FULL class.
Go on…release the inner Oompa-Loompa in you.
Or as Mr T off The A-Team says…
Have a snickers and GET some nuts!
Trust me, it’s a fun packed chocolate making class.
But I will say one thing…
You’ll either enjoy every minute of it.
You’ll be sick of the sight of chocolate!