How to store homemade chocolates
November 11, 2009 1:36 PM   Subscribe

How can I tell what sort of homemade chocolates are safe to store at room temperature?

Every year at the holidays, I make a bunch of assorted chocolates to give away as gifts. Previously this has been mostly limited to chocolate bars, chocolate-covered things, and things like coconut haystacks--things where all of the ingredients are safe to store at room temperature.

This year I'm looking to expand, but I'm having a hard time figuring out how to safely store things.

I'm hoping to make an assortment of truffles--the sort where you mix cream and chocolate, and then dip the ganache center into chocolate to coat it. Looking at recipes, I've seen everything from "store in the refrigerator" to "store at a cool room temperature". My house is kept at about 55--is that sufficiently cool? Does it change things that most of the recipes I've found are for uncoated truffles?

I'd also love to venture into things like bacon chocolate--would this need to be stored in the fridge? Cold storage isn't really great for chocolates (I'd rather they not bloom) and this would make them difficult to ship. Bacon chocolate bars aren't unheard of and are sold in supermarkets, so clearly there's a way to make them that leaves the chocolate shelf-stable, but is it something that can be accomplished at home, or does it only happen through the magic of factories and industrial equipment?

Obviously things like caramels (made with cream) can be kept out, but what about things like buttercreams?

Googling is getting me a lot of recipes and information from various chocolatiers about how to store their chocolates, but not a lot about storage of home production. Any tips, links, or opinions would be greatly appreciated.
posted by MeghanC to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
It's pretty simple. The cream you use in your truffles will have a 'best before' date. And the cream should be refrigerated. So apply the same rules to whatever you made using the cream (i.e the truffles). Chocolate doesn't act as a preservative.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 1:47 PM on November 11, 2009

I'd also love to venture into things like bacon chocolate--would this need to be stored in the fridge?

I could swear there's a question about this from a while back, but I'm fairly sure that the bacon bits in those chocolate bars have been dried and thoroughly de-fatted to prevent them from going rancid.
posted by mkultra at 1:59 PM on November 11, 2009

Maybe I've just been lucky, and when you try it you'll get horribly ill, but in years of making truffles, I've never had one that was obviously "bad" or made me sick, even after a long time at room temp. However, I do tend to load them up with liquor.
posted by Dr.Enormous at 2:42 PM on November 11, 2009

Bea Arthur has it. The key factor is the amount of free water. Cream has lots and as your process isn't sterile bacteria will grow. Most likely you will get simple spoilage but pathogens are a real possibility.

For the bacon ones I agree cook them down a lot so they are really dry. I worry a bit the pork fat will soften the chocolate but worth a try.

Any fatty inclusions will give you bloom problems and cold storage should help.
posted by Fiery Jack at 3:39 PM on November 11, 2009

I'm certain a cream-based confection will last longer than cream itself -- doesn't saturating it with sugar change things? I've definitely left frosted cakes out for days, and they have cream in them.
posted by palliser at 3:41 PM on November 11, 2009

Chocolate shops like Debauve & Gallais keep their ganache truffles refrigerated; chilling yours shouldn't be that big of a deal. Besides, think of what happens to the texture and consistency of ganache cake frosting when it gets too warm...ew!
posted by aquafortis at 4:28 PM on November 11, 2009

I think this was pretty well answered, but just chiming in to add that UTH pasteurized cream will probably last even longer.
posted by fontophilic at 6:39 PM on November 11, 2009

Thanks, guys. I was hoping for some sort of alchemy, I guess--fridge it is.
posted by MeghanC at 8:58 PM on November 12, 2009

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