Tempering is the process of heating then cooling chocolate to form a specific type of crystals in the cocoa butter. If we simply melt and cool shop- bought chocolate, it will quickly ‘bloom’, with dots and streaks of cocoa butter. It melts quickly when touched too. Tempered chocolate will quickly set hard and shiny, won’t bloom, and shrinks as it cools, making it easy to remove from a mould. Here’s a simple method: Break up 3/4 of the chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Melt until it is flowing and smooth. White chocolate should reach 43C, milk and dark 45C. Add the remaining chocolate, chopped into small pieces. Stir with a spatula until the pieces have melted and the thermometer shows 28C for milk and white, 30C for dark (make sure you are testing the temperature of the chocolate, not the bowl underneath). This can take a while, so have patience and keep stirring. Use as soon as possible. If the chocolate starts to get too cold and thick as you use it, heat for just a few seconds and stir well.Easter egg moulds
Making a gift box
The large mould used in these photos is about 14cm, medium is 10cm and smaller ones 8cm. Available from specialist cake shops, including Lakeland, costing from £2.
Try covering an old shoebox with pastel paper for an easy homemade gift box.Choosing chocolate
I used supermarket ‘Belgian’ type chocolate – just normal eating chocolate, not cooking chocolate. Some specialist brands may provide you with specific temperatures for their own chocolates.Leftover chocolate
It’s easier to temper larger amounts of chocolate, so you’re likely to have some white and dark chocolate left over from this recipe. Before it sets hard in the bowl, spoon blobs onto a sheet of parchment and let it set. Wrap and store these for using in baking another time.Add crunchy caramel
To make a chocolate butterscotch egg with crunchy caramel pieces inside the shell, put 12 Werther’s Original sweets into a bag, crush with a rolling pin, then stir into the cooled chocolate before pouring.Experiment with patterns
Using the painting technique, you can decorate the egg with all sorts of patterns, or even paint on a name using a small brush – remember to write it backwards, of course.