Saturday, February 13, 2010

Make a Solid Foundation for a Special Valentine's Day with Hot Chocolate Stones

You have to be careful when making someone a homemade gift for Valentine's Day. There's a very fine line between, "Oh, you are so thoughtful, romantic, and creative!" and "You cheap bastard!"

To hedge your bets, this beautiful box of chocolates would look even better in a gift bag with a few other tokens of your love, like perfume and lingerie. That said, if this is all you manage to offer this holiday, once the object of your affection bites into these smooth, rich, warm-from-the-pepper chocolate stones, how could they be disappointed?

Whenever I post things like this, I always get lots of questions, like… can I use milk chocolate? Can I use skim milk? Do you know where I can get a date for Valentine's Day? Let me save you some time, and answer "no" to all of those.

I'm not a candy maker, or a pastry chef, so I just don’t have the experience to tell you how you can alter the recipe. All I know is this works as shown – both as a formula and technique, as well as a sexy alternative to more expensive, less personal gifts. Enjoy!




8 ounces good dark chocolate
1/8 tsp chipotle pepper or cayenne
big pinch of salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
cocoa to dust
sexy black bow with the word "Love" across the top, or something similar

123 comments:

Anonymous said...

What kind of cocoa should be used?
Thanks!

Chef John said...

i used Valrhona, but any nice cocoa will do

KrisD said...

Chef, should these be kept refrigerated??

Chef John said...

you can, but no need. They will not melt unless it's really hot.

Vincent said...

I bet you were gonna say something else when you said "lllllots of compliments" ;)
But I made these, and tasted one. I wish i didn't do that.

Chris K. said...

I was with you 100% until I saw the teeth marks. *Shudder*

I'm making coq au vin tomorrow, because hey - she digs the coq!

Badda-BING!

Anonymous said...

what if i only have 7 ounces of dark chocolate? will i have to alter the amount of heavy cream?
great recipe chef john! Thanks -Harry

Chef John said...

yes, 2 parts chocolate to 1 part cream, so 3.5 oz

Abigail Prudence said...

These look beautiful! And perfect for Valentines Day. Thanks Chef!

Abigail Prudence

Anonymous said...

Thanks Chef John for the fast response! Will leaving out of the chipotle pepper or cayenne make the truffles taste worse? I am also using 70% cacao is that too dark?

Lucy said...

These stones are beautiful - what a gift. Loved the video!

Katie said...

Made it- delicious! =)
Merci=)

The Culinary Chase said...

I love pepper with dark chocolate. I also enjoy sea salt flakes in it as well. Cheers!

Balu said...

I wonder if you could pour the chocolate in one of those silicone ice cube trays to get blocks of exactly the same size - even if you say they need to be different :-)

Cocoa is the stuff you use for baking or that needs to be cooked with milk to get hot chocolate - not that instant powder, right?

Chef John said...

you can mold them any way. yes, plain cocoa

Anonymous said...

Somehow that seemed more than 1/2 cup of cream...looked like 3/4 cup to 1 cup.

Anonymous said...

Ohh I get it! "you are so gonna get lllll-lotsa complements" HAHA! LOL

and oh yeah great recipe. Perfect for valentines.

Jennifer said...

Just discovered your wonderful blog...love the idea of cutting the chocolate into stones. So much easier and neater than rolling truffles. I'm looking forward to trying this. Thanks!

Chef John said...

nope 1/2 cup exactly

Mitchell said...

Chef John, is there any way you can add rough ball park time frames to your recipes?? some days you just want to find something quick and easy and if you see "30-45" minutes you know what to expect....

either way I love the site! thanks for all your tips!

Liars said...

I made these today. I put most of the chocolate into heart shaped molds and the rest into stones. I added hazelnuts to mine. They are pretty good.

Odeliaa said...

What will happen if ill change the dark chocolate to a milk chocolate?

Hastings said...

oh nooooo, I wanted to make your molten chocolate lava cakes, but now I saw this, and I only have 1 bar of chocolate at home. It's so cruel to make me choose!

cooker said...

Hey Chef please will u indicate how much chocolate - weight in grams.
I usually multiply the ounces by 30 but not sure if that is exact.

Bill W, NH said...

We haven't seen Chef John in two days, I'm thinking chocolate od and hangover.

Chef John said...

there are 28.35 grams in an ounce (at least according to the millions of metric converter you would have found by goggling)

Chris K. said...

Not for nothing, but Google is a metric converter. I use it all the time for baking conversions.

Just search for "8 ounces in grams" or whatever units you want to convert, and Google performs the calculation for you. Pretty sweet!

cooker said...

Thanks Chef & Chris K...good ol google says about 227 gms...
would have saved me the trouble if u had just weighed & let me know:-)
Anyway... will try with 230 gms...will have 3 extra gms worth of roughly hewn stone at worst :-)

Duncan O'Reilly said...

There was nothing wrong with the recipe. I made it exactly as given and they turned out beautifully. Had I needed to convert a weight measurement it wouldn't even cross my mind to ask (or expect) the chef to do it for me. Forgive my bluntness, but the response above is rude and ungrateful.

Song Ha said...

serving size? :o

Chef John said...

you tell me...

Chef John said...

Duncan, thanks, but i'm sure he was just kidding and not trying to be rude.

Keith said...

Thanks for the recipe, it worked out perfectly (though I added 200mL of cream instead of half a cup)! :D

Jennifer said...

YUMMY ~ just finished my last "stone" Thanks Chef John!

Anonymous said...

Hi,I just discovered your blog.And I'm lovin' it because it got the text and the video on how to do the recipes.

Just a question.what is exactly the 1/2 cup amount?how many ml?--thank you,fadhilah

Chef John said...

thanks! It's 120 ml, but for future reference please use the many online metric converters available.

Anonymous said...

Terima kasih chef John!okay.

terima kasih means thank you.it's a malay words.--fadhilah

Chelsea Dawn said...

This recipe loooks amazinnggg and I'm about to start it right now. My parents want me to make a dinner for the family on thursday, I've been scouring Fooshwishes all week finding recipes. So if I fail at dinner somehow, these chocolates will hopefully distract them...
Thanks CHef John!

Chef John said...

good plan!

Anonymous said...

Simple to make and taste great.Shared with family and co-works and they love them.

Johnny Scott-Georgia

Anonymous said...

Hey Chef, quick question for you... Have you tried pairing these chocolates with a type of wine? Anyone else have any suggestions since these are "hot" chocolate stones, any match with the chocolate and chipotle pepper?

Chef John said...

i like syrah, but thats me

Nick Stewart Yeoh said...

if i dont use the pepper chef, would that be ok?

Chef John said...

of course! it's your candy! ;-)

wgspools said...

Thanks my Valentine loved them

Anonymous said...

i did everything exactly, but my chocolate went runny...it won't have that solid-yet runny look to it.

it worked for the first time, but i can't get it to firm up after 3 other tries...

Anonymous said...

can i use whipping cream instead of heavy cream ?

Chef John said...

same thing i beleive

Anonymous said...

i've tried to made it using whipping cream. Actually, 200ml and my liquid just so runny( I used about 8 ounces of Dark chocolate, Hershey's one), what should i do ?

Jack Parker said...

I needed a nice treat for my boss, who is a choco-holic, and has been having a rough time of it lately. This categorically did the trick!

I used Guittard Milk Chocolate Chips, straight evaporated milk (no cream in the house), and used a light touch of cinnamon and nutmeg instead of the pepper. Light enough where you could tell it had a nice, smooth flavor but you couldn't put your finger on what the spice(s) were.

They turned out absolutely perfect. I checked back with my boss an hour later and they were gone! Thanks SO MUCH for this recipe!

Anonymous said...

hi chef John,

I've been watching this site for quite some time now... found you last year or so, when I was going to make dinner for my mom after school and exams were over. I have tried out many of your recipes for my family and they loved them! :D

ANYWAY, so I'm these hot chocolate stones for my brother as a graduation present, but had a little trouble. I don't know if it was the chocolate I used (Lindt 70% cacao) or the cream (whipping cream) but after I added the hot cream to the chocolate everything seemed fine but then the chocolate curdled (or at least thats what it looked like to an amature) but I thought what the hell, lets try it anyways. so I prepared it into a log in suran wrap but then it started to leak this OILY mess. I had no idea what was going on... I dried the chocolate log with paper towel and rewraped it. It is now sitting in the fridge I pray for the best! So, just wanted to ask if you have any idea what is going on here so I can fix it for the next time.

SO sorry for the crazy long comment.

Duck

Chef John said...

sorry, but sounds like the chocolate separated. Usually caused by too much heat. Maybe choc pieces were too small? I've not tried, but if you google, I think there is a way to maybe fix using some hot water? It will come together to make like a hot fudge sauce. Good luck!!!

Anonymous said...

chef John,

Thanks for answering so fast. No worries about the chocolate. drying the chocolate log worked. It firmed up well in the fridge and they still taste good :) thanks for your help and your great recipes!

Duck

Will said...

What would the "heavy cream" be?

Thanks a lot.
Love all your recipes!

Chef John said...

Look in the dairy case, called heavy cream or whipping cream.

Amber said...

Hi Chef,
can i sub heavy cream with thickened cream?

thanks & cheers.

Chef John said...

Sorry not sure what that is.

a somewhat nervous french cook said...

Yum! well ok...you pretty much had me at chocolate! must.try.some.time.soon!

Anonymous said...

i've tried this recipe twice and keep making some mistake. i add the cream to the chocolate, but the chocolate won't completely melt, even after 3 minutes. i keep having these huge chunks left in the mixture and i can't get it to be creamy and smooth. what am i doing wrong?

Chef John said...

Just chop the chocolate smaller.

Amanda said...

Not sure if anyone else did or not, but I used Hershey's milk chocolate (because that's what I had and didn't want to run to the store) and they came out pretty good! I skipped the salt and chipotle. They didn't harden up very good though.. but they did after I rolled them into balls and put them back in the freezer. Probably should have used less heavy whipping cream than what it called for, since it's milk chocolate. Just thought i'd share my experience haha. :)

Anonymous said...

hi chef!

i can't make my stones cover into cocoa completely :(

i used quick :D it was what i had on hand! maybe is that the reason?

i just discover your page, your videos and you are amazing! congrats

Chef John said...

Use real cocoa! thanks!!

Anonymous said...

Dear John,
I just stumbled upon one of your vids on YT and since I was bored browsed a bit through your blog - and thanks goodness for that! I decided to give the stones a shot since I'm such a chocolate junkie and while I found the salty component of the final flavour a bit unsavory (it's up to the personal taste I pressume) the whole thing is just amazing. I'm no cook so I find it delightful that it's actually so easy to make a delicious candy of my own, I'll definitely experiment some more with the spices for this manly chocolate beauty and try to prepare some more of your recipes (the onion rings look kinda exotic and promising at the same time - not a very well recognized snack in the part of Europe where I live). Thank you so much for your good work, and keep it up!

Cheers,
Michal.

P.S. Like a few people before me I did have some doubts about the amount of cream, so if anyone else reads this - it's on the spot, just enough to melt the chocolate first and then soften it up when it solidifies again. Go with more cream if you want a softer candy.

ajboy21 said...

why is my consistency not thick enough? is it because of the chocolate? i used the affordable one.

Chef John said...

possibly, hard to say.

Robi said...

Hi chef! I really love your recipes :) they are practical and not time consuming. I am planning to make this recipe as a surprise to my boyfriend. He loves chocolates. I have a question here, If I don't include cayenne and salt in the recipe, would it affect the quality and consistency of the chocolates? I hope to hear from you soon :)

Chef John said...

u can leave it out! no prob. thanks!

Jessica said...

I just made these.... they are so easy and turned out great.. I didn't put any pepper since I don't have any, and forgot to add salt as well, but nobody can stop eating them! I'll be looking forward to more chocolate delights recipe!! Good work Chef John!

Nooky said...

Hi Chef John,

First of all I want to say that it's really a pleasure listening to your soothing voice making the delicious recipes on your blog. I really like to listen to it while I cook and the music on the background gives me a sort of Seattle feeling (like in Frasier wich is one of my fav.)

My question is if you know a substitute for heavy cream? We don't have this in Amsterdam where I live and cook so with the stones I just used whipping cream but not really satisfied how they are gonna turn out.

Can you help me?

greets,

Anouschka

Chef John said...

Wish I could help, but I've always thought whipping and heavy cream were the same thing.

Elita said...

This looks soooooooo good, I'm not a really good cook or anything, but I try so hard ;-; lately I've been stalking.. I mean, watching your videos and I think I'll start with this one :B Looks simple AND cute! Valentine's day's coming up, too, so it's perfect!
Thank you for sharing :)

YueikO said...

Can you tell me the approximate time to put the chocolate in the fridge? just approximately coz I have to do other things while waiting ... Thank you :)

Chef John said...

Maybe 45 minutes?

Anonymous said...

Hello Anouschka from Amsterdam, I'm a dutchie from Amsterdam living in Ohio, chef John is right, heavy cream is het zelfde als slagroom!

Succes, Dorothea

Anonymous said...

My chocolate turned out runny too (I used whipping cream because I couldn't find heavy cream) and I googled the difference between heavy and whipping cream. turns out whipping cream is basically heavy cream after it's been beaten light and fluffy. Sigh.

Chef John said...

That is not correct!

Heavy cream and whipping cream are the same thing here. Both thick rich, liquid creams.

You are confusing whipping cream with WHIPPED cream.

Whipped cream is what you get by whisking heavy cream or whipping cream until light and fluffy.

You used whipped cream, not whipping cream.

Maggie said...

"sexy black bow with the word "Love" across the top, or something similar"

You mean sexy black *box*?

Chef John said...

either way!

Anonymous said...

uhm is that okay for me to use the honey or sugar instead of salt?

Chef John said...

honey or sugar instead of salt? I'm confused! They are nothing like salt. Just leave it out if that's what you are worried about.

reventon3009 said...

I tried making these just now. I think my cream wasnt hot enough because after 3 minutes the chocolate didnt melt much and after 2 minutes of stirring the whole thing turned to lumpy thick mush :( and reheating it has just made it worse :( Any ideas how I can rescue this?

Chef John said...

I'm no chocolate expert, but I don't know of a way to save it. Did you google "save a ceased ganache?" there may be a way.

Yes, you cream must be very hot, and the chocolate chopped very small so it all melts when you stir.

Good luck!

reventon3009 said...

Chef John!!
I saved it!!! I did chop my chocolate up really small but it still didn't melt:( What I ended up doing was heating the bowl over a pan filled with boiling water. The chocolate did curdle completely however all the unmelted chocolate pieces were then melted into the lumpy mixture. By this point I was like okay whatever it's ruined theres nothing more I can do so I just carried on with your instructions anyway and wrapped it tightly in cling film. 3.5 hours later and i've just opened the cling film up and every things set really nicely! It turned out perfectly! So if anyone else gets a lumpy mixture just tell them it doesn't matter and to carry on because it seems to work anyway! :D

Chef John said...

Great job! Good to know!

Max said...

Thank Chef! This turned out very well; I'll admit I ate a few before boxing...Love your videos and love your sense of humor! Damn right she doesn't like that shirt!

Jasmine said...

OMG! I made these today in my dorm kitchenette, they are fantastic! except i made them with hazelnuts instead. I was wondering if they would be as good with white chocolate? or If that would even be an option?

Annette said...

what's the measure of half cup?...
how big is the cup did u use? >.< sorry, beginner here...

Chef John said...

Cup is 8 fluid oz

Anonymous said...

As far as whipping cream vs heavy cream goes, heavy cream has about 5% more milkfat than whipping cream does (~40% vs ~35%). Maybe that's why some people are having problems with the consistency.

christine said...

Hi Chef!

Is it still good 24 hours after I make it?

How long will it be good until?

Thanks
Christine

Chef John said...

Would easily last several days.

Anonymous said...

hi chef john,ijust tried ur recipes and also this one,pray it would happen..next i'll try the amena choc chip cookies..i would be glad if u could have the choc chips recipes almost taste like famous amos cos' i love them much.i had it long ago and i lost it.i try so many choc chips recipes and it doesn't turn out like i want it to be.could u find back the recipe for me??thanx much-yasmin

John Lim said...

hi chef john,
I'm encountering a problem that is that the chocolate did not solidify. did i do something wrong? Need help urgently!

Chef John said...

sorry, but I have no way of knowing what u did wrong!

John Lim said...

sure thanks

Anonymous said...

hi chef! im going to make these babies for the coming valentine's day! do i have to put them in a freezer or fridge? can i just leave them for a couple hours outside the fridge? im from indonesia which is pretty hot&humid. and i want to know if it safe to use cooking elle&vire's cooking cream. i cant find any heavy cream in my city. need your advice! lots of love! thanks!! xoxo

John Lim said...

Hi chef John.
Is my proportion ok? 600ml of heavy cream and 1.160kg of Hersey dark choco, 48% coco

Anonymous said...

can i just use milk that contain full cream? i can't find any heavy cream in my city too

Chef John said...

milk doesnt work!

Chef John said...

I don't convert metric, but it doesn't look right. How did u get?

Maarten Mantel said...

Made these for my girlfriend on valentines day to celebrate our three year anniversary (15th of february)! I didn't use the pepper or salt, however; my girlfriend hates anything spicy and even the mention of combining salt and chocolate makes her stomach turn (also, I forgot to put the spices in, hehe...).
They were incredible though. And indeed, I got lots of compliments (just compliments though...)

Enzo said...

Now I know what I'll do with the extra chocolate bars from the Tiramisu Chocolate Mousse recipe :)

jman said...

maybe i bought the wrong bars of chocolate? but is this recipe supposed to yield very bitter, non sweet stones? i ended up buying 90% cocoa lindt bars of dark chocolate and the things came out super bitter. was it the wrong percentage of cocoa i bought? or should it have said sweetened on the package? in my head i figure dark chocolate + milk = milk chocolate but i realized i'm not supposed to add sugar anywhere so perhaps it's supposed to taste this way? it's a simple recipe and i messed up my gift so bad :(

PRISCILLA CHAN said...

I tried this recipe, but failed... >_>

You should specify that if you can't find heavy cream in your local supermarket, you can sub. with whipping cream cause it's the next best thing.

as for chocolate, what about milk chocolate ?

:/

Anonymous said...

Hello Chef John!

I'd like to ask how long the completed product would last after it's made. Outside? In the fridge/freezer? Before it melts.

Thanks!! :)

Addy said...

Hi Chef,

I encountered a minor bump during the process.

After refridgerating my choc bar, i noticed the top had turned white. Could this be the oil from the chocolate that has risen?

What happened here?

You should know that while mixing the whipping cream (had no heavy cream where i live) with the chocolate, the cream was not hot enough so I microwaved for 10 sec to melt the remaining choc bits.

Btw, great recipe, they still tasted niiiice.

Anonymous said...

the white color is from sugar condensing on top. You might've not wrapped your chocolate tightly so water vapor got in between the wrap and chocolate resulting in drawing out the sugar.

Just re-melt the chocolate and let it settle again ( aka Tempering as it's known in the business).

Anna said...

I think it needs sugar... for me at least :P

Would that ruin it?

Baby Joe Kim said...

Hey Chef John
Thanks as usual for being a great teacher.

I'm trying to make truffles then streak a thick sugary orange sauce over it. One that will harden and hold its shape when i pipe it out of the bag onto the balled up truffles and then harden over time.

I saw in your brownie with mint frosting recipe that you used powdered sugar, milk and mint extract.
Could I do the same concept except replace mint extract with concentrated, reduced fresh squeezed orange and lime perhaps ?

Or do you have any suggestions that well get a more orangy flavor to this orange glaze i'm trying to make?

Baby Joe Kim said...

Hey Chef John
Thanks as usual for being a great teacher.

I'm trying to make truffles then streak a thick sugary orange sauce over it. One that will harden and hold its shape when i pipe it out of the bag onto the balled up truffles and then harden over time.

I saw in your brownie with mint frosting recipe that you used powdered sugar, milk and mint extract.
Could I do the same concept except replace mint extract with concentrated, reduced fresh squeezed orange and lime perhaps ?

Or do you have any suggestions that well get a more orangy flavor to this orange glaze i'm trying to make?

Chef John said...

you can do that with orange extract, but it doesn't get hard. sorry, I wish I could help, but I honestly don't know! I'm not much of a candy maker, so not quite sure how to do that orange thing. Good luck!

Sharon Macarle said...

Love the recipe and really love the sense of humor!

Lindsay J said...

I made these last night and while delicious (so delicious) they did kind of melt together after putting the cocoa on. Not really sure why. I'll have to try try again.

Deniz Uz said...

Would it be alright if I used a little paprika instead of chipotle pepper? That's impossible to find where I live. Also, my family are conservative eaters, does the pepper taste bitter in this? Maybe I should go with a little cinnamon like someone suggested.

Chef John said...

You can add anything you want, but I can't comment on if you'll like it or not! too subjective. the pepper is there for a little heat. Enjoy!

Cool cocoa said...

Can I use cadbury cocoa?

Chef John said...

sure!

wiktor bolek said...

Hello Chef John!
Since dark chocolate is to be found utterly nowhere in the giant-metropolis I live in, will mundane milk chocolate work?

Chef John said...

some do some don't, depends! I've never tried! Are u sure you can't get dark chocolate?!

wiktor bolek said...

All right, Chef. It has taken quite a lot of travelling but I have obtained dark chocolate, thanks for a quick answer, though!

Celeste Ventura said...

HELLO CHEF JOHN! Sorry, I know this post is old but I just want to ask if I could use cool whip instead of heavy cream? If not, is there some other substitute? Thanks!

Roland Neal said...

Hey Chef John, i just stocked up on chocolate for the first time and made the mistake of getting 61% semi-sweet chocolate and not a darker chocolate... please tell me this'll still work? im dying to make all of your recipes with chocolate !!!