By 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 gold medal at the 2014-16 International Chocolate
Awards for her za’atar praline. I asked her for 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.
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 28ºC, it begins
to crystallise. But you can’t work with chocolate at this temperature,
so it needs to be heated another three or four degrees to 31-32ºC.
This is the only way to get a shiny, smooth chocolate coating.
If you don’t temper chocolate, it will melt in your hand and can
become grainy. You have to melt the chocolate over a bain-marie
(double boiler) until it reaches 45°C, stirring it every once in
a while to keep it smooth. Add chopped up pieces of cold chocolate
to the hot liquid chocolate. If you want to temper 1kg of chocolate,
you melt 800 grams of chocolate until it reaches 45ºC, stirring
Then you chop up the remaining 200g of chocolate and add it slowly
to the melted mixture while stirring and then mix well.
Makes 4 cups
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 70ºF. Pour on to the melted chocolate
in a separate bowl.
Mix with a hand blender. Add the whisky and blend well. Let sit
in the fridge overnight.
Transfer to an icing bag with a serrated tip and fill cups. Decorate
with chopped hazelnuts.
Makes 40-50 pieces, depending on how large you cut them
Put all 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 7mm thick.
Cut strips that are 10cm by 0.5cm. Arrange them on a tray covered
with baking paper and let them sit in a cold oven for another 30
Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 155ºC until golden
brown. Let cool.
To temper the white chocolate, heat to 28ºC 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.
In a medium pot, melt water and sugar and cook until it reaches
Add the nuts and mix well until the sugar turns an amber colour
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.