Chocolate: A Valentine’s Day Study ?>

Chocolate: A Valentine’s Day Study

Free Form Chocolate Hearts

For Valentine’s Day we’re doing a special Science and World study about one of our favorite foods, Chocolate! Here are some of our resources and activities.

Free Form Chocolate Hearts

Our science experiment was to melt and temper some chocolate to make free form chocolate hearts.

Chocolate is a great example of crystals at work. Poorly melted and tempered chocolate will bloom, be dull and covered with white spots. Properly melted chocolate will be shiny, even colored and crack with a nice snap. Here is a good example of bloomed versus tempered chocolate. It also shows how chocolate seizes up when exposed to any water and demonstrates a traditional tempering method. All of these make excellent experiments but I recommend using some cheap chocolate for the destructive ones. :)

If you have older kids about half way down this page there is an illustrated guide to how tempering works and affects the types of crystals formed.

For our tempering I prefer Jacques Torres’s slightly less conventional microwave and stick blender method of tempering. Here’s a video that demonstrates his method as well the process of molding and unmolding:

Microwave Chocolate Tempering and Molding

If you want to go for simple free form hearts use a cookie sheet, parchment paper and a spoon:

  1. Cover the cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Melt and temper the chocolate.
  3. Take a spoonful and pour a little pool to make the first bump in the heart.
  4. Drag that pool down to form the tip.
  5. Drag back up to where the second heart should be and let a little more chocolate pour off the spoon.
  6. Let set
Besides making our chocolates we watched some videos on how chocolate is made. The Discovery Channel has a good summary of chocolate going from plant to bean. Finally, these two videos make an interesting contrast between large scale factory and very small scale factory methods:

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