Holiday Cooking with Kids:
Building A House Made
Entirely of Chocolate
A handmade chocolate house is a fun project for little chefs (and big ones). The complicated parts are painting the white chocolate (if using) and assembling the house - which will likely take a pair of big hands to help hold it in place.
What's really easy and fun is painting, pouring and unmolding! For a quicker, easier project, you don't have to use white chocolate. For a more complex project, white chocolate can be colored with food coloring and then painted as detailing ... imagine pink hearts, blue trim, etc.
What we did:
We purchased a kit to make a chocolate house from Hearthsong (they have them seasonally). Although the kit is designed to make one house, we made two houses (with some extra chocolate we purchased separately) because the molds are reusable.
I didn't like the chocolate in the kit - it had ingredients I would not have used (key point that many brands of "white" chocolate contains PHOs, so check your labels).
2) The kit worked great - but I would have two if you are trying to build two houses with younger kids because the cooling time is a long time for children to wait. What we did was have each child make two walls (a side or front/back) and one roof panel. Then we chilled the molds, popped out the chilled chocolate (kept it refrigerated) and started again making another set. That way, they were busy together, working on their own house.
3) If you are planning on eating the house, I'd consider buying better quality chocolate. The house uses quite a bit of chocolate, so buy more than you expect to use. I purchased Valrohona pastilles (the flat little disks), what was left I used in chocolate chunk cookies. You will probably need somewhere in the range of a pound of mixed white and dark chocolate. The house can be made with mostly white chocolate with dark accents if you wish.
White chocolate will hold color, so if you wish, you can tint the melted chocolate with food coloring (I recommend you use gel colorant).
A house is really not much more complicated than an easter egg. Molds can be purchased for easter eggs and 3-D animals and objects - like Santa Claus, turkeys and pop molds, like those for HALLOWEEN to make Chocolate pretzel skeleton bones, witch fingers, etc., which can make your chocolate project related to the season.
Sources and Resources:
Most grocery stores sell chocolate, but again I recommend if you are eating the house to buy GOOD quality chocolate. Whole Foods sells the pastilles usually near the cheese department.
Ideas for Post-House Once your house is done and displayed, you can, of course, eat it or break it up and make cookies. If there's just too much, use the chocolate in cakes, cupcakes or icing, melting the chocolate with some cream and make hot fudge or lightly pulse it in the food processor to make chocolate sprinkle dust.
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