Note: A food processor makes easy work of creating a chocolate ganache. If you don’t have one, finely chop your chocolate and put it in a microwave safe mixing bowl. Boil cream as above and pour over chocolate and let sit for 2-3 minutes. Use a whisk to create an emulsion. Begin by stirring just in the center of the bowl, then slowly bring the whisk out to the edge of the bowl. Stir just until combined and the ganache is smooth. If you have chunks of chocolate remaining, place entire bowl in microwave and heat on high for 10 seconds. Stir until melted.
It’s less than one week from our Halloween party and I am crazy busy getting ready, but still have a few recipes that I wanted to share with you. For our parties I usually have lots of fun activities for the kids and this year I wanted them to be able to make an edible craft and these cats are it! Sorry, no time for chit-chat, on to the recipe…
Chocolate Caramel Apple Cats
6 large or up to 12 small caramel apples (homemade or store bought)
14 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 recipe white modeling chocolate
1 recipe dark modeling chocolate
(I used yellow, neon pink, and neon green food coloring from the grocery store)
Special Equipment Needed:
food processor, optional (mixing bowl and whisk work just as well)
Silpat non-stick liner, a non-stick baking sheet, or a piece of parchment paper
small round and oval cookie cutters, optional
Make chocolate ganache: (if you prefer, you can use a tub of chocolate frosting)
Place chopped chocolate in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until chocolate is fine crumbs.
Heat heavy whipping cream and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir often until it just comes to a boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, put lid on the food processor bowl, and let sit for 2-3 minutes. Pulse for 5 seconds. Remove lid and scrape down the sides and bottom of the food processor bowl. Return lid and pulse for 5 more seconds or until the mixture, which is called ganache, is smooth. Dont’ over-mix your ganache or it will turn grainy as it sets up.
Trouble Shooting Ganache: If your ganache gets too hot the cocoa butter from the chocolate will separate and rise to the surface. The cocoa butter will harden as the ganache cools and you will have chunks of cocoa butter throughout. This can happen if you add cream that is too hot or get the ganache too hot in the microwave. If your ganache does separate or look oily, add a little cold whipping cream (a tablespoon at a time) and mix until smooth.
Allow your ganache to thicken just enough so that it is the consistency of frosting. Set your caramel apple on a Silpat, a non-stick baking sheet, or a piece of parchment paper. If your caramel apples have a footer (a round bottom where the caramel has puddled) use a knife or kitchen shears to cut it off. Use your hands to round the bottom of the apple. This will ensure a nice round face for your cats. Now, you are ready to frost one of your caramel apples with the ganache.
Once each apple is frosted you’ll want to create the cat’s hair by pressing an offset spatula, knife, or spoon, onto the ganache and quickly pulling it away creating spikes. If the ganache is not thick enough, the spikes wont form, so let it sit for a few minutes to thicken. If the ganache is too dry, the spikes will get crusty, so be sure to do one apple at a time.
You can make you modeling chocolate decorations in many different ways. I found it easiest to make the eyes by rolling out some modeling chocolate on a powder sugar dusted work surface and cutting them with small round cookie cutters, but you could easily just form a small ball and flatten it into a circle. To create the nose and ears, I just formed a ball out of the modeling chocolate, shaped it into a triangle, and flattened it slightly. You can add some dimension to the cat’s ears by adding a smaller triangle of pink or white to the larger black ear. Attach pieces of modeling chocolate to each other by dabbing a very small amount of water on one piece and pressing them together.
For the whiskers I cut long thin strips of white modeling chocolate, but you could just take small balls and roll them into thin logs. If you have a clay extruder, you can press some modeling chocolate through the small hole disc to create really perfect looking whiskers (see below.)
I use a Sculpey Clay Extruder to make a lot of decorative pieces out of modeling chocolate. The clay extruders can be found at your local craft stores in the clay isle. Of course, you’ll want to buy one to exclusively use for modeling chocolate, but they are usually less than $15, so not a big investment for something you can use for so many different projects. To use, attach the metal disc with the appropriate hole (the one I used in this picture makes a flat strip, but for the whiskers you’ll want to use the little holes), roll some modeling chocolate into a log, place it in the clay extruder tube, insert the plunger, and press the modeling chocolate out onto your work surface.
I cannot wait to see how each kid at our party decides to decorate their cats. Should be so much fun to see their designs. If you plan to do this as an activity for your party, give each child a caramel apple, a small cup or bowl of chocolate ganache, and a small amount of each color modeling chocolate all on a Styrofoam plate. They each need a plastic spoon to use to frost the apple and a paper towel for clean up. Then, just let them have fun. If you want them to take their creations home, provide them with cellophane bags and some ribbon, otherwise they can eat their cats as dessert.
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