My last book review was for The Night Circus. During my reading of the book, there was a description of some of the concessions sold at the mysterious circus. One of the treats described were chocolate mice with licorice tails. This intrigued me and I decided to make my own.
The center is marzipan wrapped around a strand of licorice and then hand-dipped in dark chocolate and topped with sliced almonds.
Marzipan (Almond Paste)
2 Cups Blanched Almonds
2 Cups Powdered Sugar
1/3 Cup Honey
Chop almonds in a food processor on medium speed until the almonds are a coarse powder resembling cornmeal. Add powdered sugar to the almond powder and mix well in a large bowl. Add honey and mix together (hands work best) until well combined and the mixture can be formed into a ball.
Wrap Marzipan ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
Take four strands of black licorice (Twizzlers black licorice is shown) and cut them in half and then cut each half lengthwise to form 4 tails per strand. This will make 16 tails.
Cut marzipan ball into 16 equal pieces. Form each piece into a cone and place the licorice tail just over half-way up the base of the cone. Form the cone over the licorice tail with wet hands and flatten the bottom until it resembles the body of the mouse. Repeat 16 times.
Place the formed mice on parchment paper, wax paper, or other non-stick liner (such as a Silpat). Put the finished tray of mice in the freezer while preparing the chocolate for dipping. The semi-frozen mice are easier to dip.
The secret of chocolate dipping is tempering the chocolate. This is what gives the chocolate the professional finish without the pitted look and unattractive white specks. If you use commercial dipping chocolate pieces tempering isn't unnecessary. However, if you want a better tasting chocolate - this recipe uses Ghirardelli dark chocolate - then tempering is necessary for a professional looking end result.
1 Bag (11.5 oz) Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chips
Place 2/3 of the bag in a double boiler and melt chips completely. Monitor temperature with a candy thermometer so that chocolate reaches 115 degrees Fahrenheit (for milk chocolate the temperature should be 110 degrees) but does not exceed that temperature. Once the temperature is reached , remove melted chocolate from heat and stir in the remaining 1/3 of the bag of chocolate chips until completely melted. The chocolate is now ready for dipping.
Set up the frozen mice on the left side, dipping chocolate in the middle, and another pan with non-stick liner on the right side. Keep a bowl of sliced almonds ready to add to the chocolate before it sets.
Holding the mouse by the tail, dip the top of the body and then the flat bottom of the body until mouse is completely covered. Gently scrape the flat bottom on the side of the bowl to remove excess chocolate. Place the dipped mouse body, flat-side-down, on the non-stick liner and repeat until all mice are dipped.
Break sliced almond in half and place each half on either side of the head to form the ears of the mouse. Let cool at room temperature until the chocolate hardens. Remove from the non-stick sheet and keep in a cool dry container or in the refrigerator.
This was so much fun I'm now reading my current novels for other food descriptions. Do you have a food you remember reading about and wondering if fiction could become reality? If so, please share!