"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Monday, April 8, 2013

Steve's Evil Kitchen presents Shockalot

I've been ill, so there's little to say about running.

I remember when I was little, getting a candy called Zotz at Halloween (they still make it, though it's changed); it's a hard candy that, when you get through the outer shell, fizzes. It's a real surprise if you don't know it's coming. It gave me the idea of making a chocolate that would have a similar surprise.

Zotz fizzes because of a reaction between malic acid (slightly apple-like in flavor) or tartaric acid (slightly grape-like) with sodium bicarbonate. Neither apple nor grape seems right to go with chocolate, so I decided to go with citric acid, which is lemony; it's a stronger acid, so the fizzing reaction is more powerful and that's why it's not used in Zotz.

I tried using other substances besides baking soda, like baker's ammonia (ammonium carbonate) - the horrible stench of ammonia was overwhelming. After all, it's the same thing as "smelling salts."

The challenge is keeping the acid and base from reacting before you eat it, which means keeping them from getting wet. Neither dissolves in fat, so I made a center of melted cocoa butter and coconut fat and added the reactants. It took several tries before I found how cooled and solid the fat had to be before I could incorporate the other ingredients; then it's a race to mix them before completely solid.

Then I thought I'd increase the surprise with popping sugar. The online suppliers were too slow to deliver, so I found a local store that sold Pop Rocks, which one can get now in chocolate flavor (though, alas, not lemon) and added them to the mix.

The last step was to enrobe the centers in chocolate, so I tempered chocolate and added lemon oil, as a hint of what was to come when one reached the center.

Not my photo. Dipped chocolates all look the same.
 The result is a lemon chocolate that nearly explodes in your mouth. The abrupt change from the smoothe texture of the chocolate coating to the reactive center increases the shock value.


wildknits said...

As always your creations sound very interesting. Combination of two of my favorite flavors!

Robyn said...

Oh my, ZOTS! I remember those. But I recall them tasting dreadful. Maybe citric acid would be better?

I couldn't quite tell from your description -- how did you use the Pop Rocks in your creation?

Robyn said...

I would go with orange, not lemon, I think.

SteveQ said...

I've had poor luck with orange, though I have an orange candy in the works; it just doesn't work well in this context (though orange Zotz were the tastiest)

Jean said...

This is so awesome! I remember Zots, and achieving this effect with a chocolate is extremely clever. Nicely done, Steve. "Steve's Evil Kitchen" still needs to be a show on the Food Network!