Sweet temptation.

Chocolate  (photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
(photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
I recently spent the day with Ika Cohen, a world-famous chocolatier. She’s worked with many famous chefs, has won numerous awards, and is now the owner of her own chocolaterie called Ika Chocolate in Tel Aviv where she creates artisanal chocolates. Cohen even won the gold medal at the 2014-16 International Chocolate Awards for her za’atar praline.
I asked Cohen to offer me a few recipes that are not too complicated, which anyone can make at home.
To prepare these chocolate creations, you must have a thermometer, a scale, patience and lots of love for the people who will enjoy tasting your final creations.
In addition, Cohen offered to teach my readers how to temper chocolate.
Tempering Tempering makes chocolate coating come out smooth and glossy. It’s a process used when heating and cooling dipped chocolates.
When bittersweet chocolate reaches a temperature of 28º, it begins to crystallize. But you can’t work with chocolate at this temperature, so it needs to be heated another 3 or 4 degrees to 31-32º. This is the only way you can get a shiny, smooth chocolate coating. If you don’t temper chocolate, it will melt in your hand and can come out grainy. You have to melt the chocolate over a bain-marie (double boiler) until it reaches 45°, stirring it every once in a while to keep it smooth. There are two tempering methods: 1. Pour ²⁄3 of the hot chocolate onto a cold marble surface and let the chocolate cool to 27-28º. (The chocolate will be in liquid form, but completely cooled). Pour the chocolate back into the bowl and stir well. The temperature should be 31º.
2. A second method is to add chopped up pieces of cold chocolate to the hot liquid chocolate. For example, if you want to temper 1 kg. of chocolate, you melt 800 grams of chocolate until it reaches 45º, stirring it well.
Then you chop up the remaining 200 grams of chocolate and add it slowly to the melted mixture while stirring and then mix well.
Makes 4 cups
100 gr. sugar 100 gr. sweet cream 100 gr. milk 80 gr. bittersweet chocolate, melted A pinch of salt 100 ml. whiskey
Toppings: Roasted hazelnuts Gold leaves – optional Any other topping of your choice In a large pot, melt the sugar until it becomes caramel. Add the cream and milk and stir well. Wait until the mixture cools to 70º. Pour onto the melted chocolate in a separate bowl. Mix with a hand blender. Add the whiskey and blend well. Let sit in the fridge overnight. Transfer to an icing bag with a serrated tip and fill cups. Decorate with hazelnuts and gold leaves.
Makes 1 kg.
500 gr. hazelnuts, peeled and roasted 65-70 ml. water 150 gr. sugar 15 gr. butter (for vegan version, leave out) 500 gr. strawberry chocolate (can be purchased in specialty stores) 100 gr. powdered sugar In a medium pot, melt water and sugar and cook until it reaches 118º. Add the nuts and mix well until the sugar turns an amber color and covers the nuts. Remove from the flame and add the butter while stirring.
Line a large tray with baking paper and transfer all the hazelnuts to it. Separate all the nuts and let cool in the fridge.
Melt the strawberry chocolate in a bain-marie or in the microwave. Mix until smooth. Add one-third of the caramel-covered hazelnuts and stir so that all the nuts are covered with a thin layer of pink. While you’re stirring them, add a little powdered sugar, too. Place on a sifter and let excess sugar fall away from nuts. Let cool completely and store in a glass container.
Makes 20 pieces
Chocolate coins: 500 gr. chocolate (bittersweet/milk/white) Edible candy pictures Filling: 60 gr. sugar 10 gr. glucose 20 ml. water 100 gr. raspberry spread 65 gr. white chocolate 20 gr. butter, cut into cubes, at room temperature 20 lollipop sticks Place a picture on a tray.
Temper the chocolate (bittersweet to 31º, milk chocolate to 29ºand white chocolate to 28º). Transfer the tempered chocolate to an icing bag and cut off the end. Squeeze out chocolate to make circles on the candy picture. It’s important that all the circles are the same size. Let the chocolate harden for an hour and then separate them from the sheet. If you want the circles to harden quicker, you can put them in the fridge for a few minutes.
To prepare the filling, heat the sugar, water and glucose in a pot until the mixture reaches 185º. Heat the raspberry spread a little and add to the pot. Mix and bring to a temperature of 103°.
Remove from the flame and wait until the temperature falls to 60º. Melt the white chocolate.
When the raspberry mixture cools down, add one-third of it to the white chocolate and mix well. It’s okay if it comes out grainy.
Add another third of the raspberry to the bittersweet chocolate and mix well. Add the last third to the milk chocolate and mix well.
When the temperature falls below 40° (but is still above 35°) add the butter and mix well.
Transfer the chocolate mixture to an icing bag and cut off the end. Arrange the chocolate coins so that the side with the printed picture is facing up. Add a little filling onto each coin and then close with a second coin of the same size. Push a lollipop stick into the middle of the filling. It’s very important that the diameter of each coin be similar.
You can use a silicone tray with circles that have a diameter of 2-3 cm. Squeeze the chocolate into the holes. Let the chocolate cool down and then remove the circles. Add a little filling on the smooth side and close with a second coin.
Roll the sandwiches in coconut flakes, sesame seeds or pieces of strawberries.
TIPascale You can use a silicone tray with circles that have a diameter of 2-3 cm. Squeeze the chocolate into the holes. Let the chocolate cool down and then remove the circles. Add a little filling on the smooth side and close with a chocolate coin. Roll the sandwiches in coconut flakes, sesame seeds or pieces of strawberries.
Makes 40-50 pieces, depending on how large you cut them
Dough: 250 gr. butter 4 gr. salt 190 gr. powdered sugar 65 gr. almond powder 105 gr. eggs 125 gr. flour 365 gr. flour Topping: 500 gr. white chocolate 100 gr. dried strawberries (can be purchased in specialty stores) Add all of the ingredients – except for the larger amount of flour – into the bowl of an electric mixer with a dough hook. Mix until smooth. Then add the second amount of flour and pulse a couple of times. Continue kneading by hand. Transfer to a tray and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for a few hours.
Roll out the dough until it is 7 mm. thick.
Cut strips that are 10 cm. by 0.5 cm. Arrange them on a tray covered with baking paper and let them sit in a cold oven for another 30 minutes.
Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 155º until golden brown. Let cool.
To temper the white chocolate, heat to 28º and add the strawberry pieces. Mix well. Dip the sticks into the mixture and then place on baking paper. Let dry in a cool room. If it’s very hot out, you can place them in the fridge.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.