Crafting your own chocolate bar: with Brecon Beacons chocolatiers and mallow-makers The Mallow Tailor

A selection of The Mallow Tailor’s artisan chocs ©The Mallow Tailor

Brecon Beacons confectionary creators The Mallow Tailor (talented two-woman team Kate and Janet) concoct some of the region’s finest decorated chocolates, chocolate slabs and – perhaps most innovative of all – French-style marshmallows. They are one of Wales’ only artisan marshmallow producers, and the only confectioners in Britain to make ‘caramallows’ (chocolates with marshmallow filling and salted caramel topping). They have certainly hit the green, hilly ground where they are based in the village of Llanfrynach running since starting up in 2019 and stand out for their unique approach to mouthwatering sweet creation: harnessing Welsh ingredients such as Halen Môn sea salt and Dragon Butter from the Llŷn Peninsula, offering afternoon tea-cum-chocolate-making courses and chocolate workshops and becoming fixtures in gourmet picnic hampers. One of their most recent ventures are their create-your-own chocolate bar kits – especially so their customers can make their very own bars. Here, they impart the instructions and provide lots of especially-for-Undiscovered-Wales tips on how to do just that: hand-craft and home-make your own chocolate bar.

Leave sufficient time and belly space for following this recipe: it is an experience to be savoured in every sense of the word!

Kate @ The Mallow Tailor says:

Creating bars of chocolate is fundamentally all about tempering the chocolate. Tempering is all about changing the structure of the chocolate to create a strong, shiny product that melts perfectly in your mouth, but remains solid and glossy at room temperature. Working with chocolate on a professional level is definitely a science and an artform: it requires a high level of precision and a controlled environment to maintain good levels of temperature and humidity. However, this recipe will guide you through the basic steps to make a perfect bar of chocolate, without the need for any specialised equipment.

Bear in mind that chocolate is very sensitive to temperature and humidity, so bear this in mind when following this recipe. Hot, humid days should be avoided!

The official chocolate-making kit from The Mallow Tailor ©The Mallow Tailor

Stuff you will need…

100g of as good quality chocolate as you can find.

20g of your favourite filling (can be confectionery, dried fruit, nuts etc). The Mallow Tailor’s tip: for a flavour from South Wales, try chopped-up Tregroes butter toffee waffles, from Pontwelly in the Teifi Valley).

Microwave

Fridge with some shelf space

Mixing spoon

Teaspoon

A small non-stick baking tray, lined with greaseproof paper (approx. 6cm x 10cm)

Get set, ready…

1: Ensure surfaces, equipment and hands are clean and dry.  It’s essential you keep water away from chocolate.

2: Line the tray with greaseproof paper, ensuring the paper is sticking out (so you can grab it later!).

Method…

1: Sprinkle your chosen fillings into the tray/mould so they are evenly spread in the cavity.

2: Break up the chocolate into small pieces (around the size of 1p coins).

3: Put 80g of the chocolate into your mixing bowl (for step 4) and put the other 20g aside (in preparation for step 5).

4: Heat the 80g of chocolate in the microwave for 25 seconds. Continue to microwave for 5 second bursts at a time until most of the chocolate has melted.  Using your mixing spoon, stir until all of the chocolate is completely melted (n.b. if you don’t have a microwave, melt in a plastic bowl over a boiling saucepan of water).

5: Add the remaining 20g of chocolate and stir until all of the chocolate has melted – this takes about a minute. The Mallow Tailor’s tip: What you are doing here is a chocolate tempering process called ‘seeding’. The Mallow Tailor’s helpful hint: We would suggest a form of distraction as you do this as you will likely experience a sore arm from all that stirring!

6: Once all of the chocolate is melted, continue to stir it for a further 20 seconds, then take your teaspoon and run the back of it in the chocolate and pop it on the side, face down (so the chocolate covered back is pointing up).  Keep slowly stirring the melted chocolate and check the spoon after a minute, you should find the chocolate has hardened on the back of the spoon.  The Mallow Tailor says: You now have tempered chocolate – great job! Give yourself a quick pat on the back.

7: Pour your tempered chocolate into the tray with your chosen fillings scattered across, ensuring you have covered most of the cavity. Take the tray and tap it on your worktop for 30 seconds: this is to get rid of any air bubbles. The Mallow Tailor’s tip: Please don’t get carried away and smash up your kitchen doing this, there is really no need…

8: Leave this on the worktop for about 20 minutes, until the chocolate has fully dried. Word to the wise: Treat yourself to a nice cuppa at this stage.

9: When the chocolate has dried in the mould/tray, pop it in the fridge for a further 20 mins. Another word to the wise: this is a great time to clear up, so when your chocolate is ready, so are you!

10: Take the tray out of the fridge.  With a swift movement, turn the tray upside down on the worktop, then take the tray away, leaving the chocolate and greaseproof paper. Pull the greaseproof paper off the chocolate. Now admire your chocolate bar and if you feel inclined, take photos and give it a name!

The Mallow Tailor recommends at this point: make another cuppa, get comfy and enjoy your chocolate bar, and if absolutely necessary be prepared to share!

We hope this recipe has brought out the chocolatier in you!  If so, share your experience with The Mallow Tailor and tag @themallowtailor, on Facebook or Instagram. You can also order The Mallow Tailor’s Create-your-own chocolate bar kits, which come complete with a chocolate mould, a simple guide and a fine selection of chocolate and fillings at The Mallow Tailor

The Mallow Tailor’s ‘slabolates’ ready to get bellies rumbling ©The Mallow Tailor

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