White Chocolate-Matcha Frog Princes with Gum Paste Crowns
Chocolate frogs are popular these days, especially among Harry Potter fans. However, today I want to reference a fairytale that’s been in the public imagination for quite a while, “The Frog Prince”—a story about a prince transformed into a frog by an enchantress, who is waiting for a princess to come and break the spell. Hence, the inspiration for these white chocolate-matcha frog princes. Aren’t they cute?
These chocolate frog princes are a great Valentine’s Day treat for kids and grownups alike. Matcha—a green tea powder—gives the frogs their green color and imparts a subtle tea flavor to the sweet white chocolate. To make the golden crowns, I used icing color to tint the gum paste orange—then painted the sculpted crowns with an edible gold luster dust to give them a shiny, lustrous quality befitting a prince. You can even add white pearl sprinkles between the ridges of the crown for further decoration.
White Chocolate-Matcha Frog Princes with Gold Crowns
The hardest part of making these chocolates is the tempering process, mainly because it requires precise timing and patience. Essentially, tempering is a gentle way of heating chocolate, cooling it and reheating it, in order to achieve the desired texture, glossiness, and taste. It’s tempting to skip this step, but when you’re going to the effort of making fancy molded chocolates, you want them to look and taste great. Tempering helps the chocolates hold up. This is especially important in hot and humid areas (and Miami is about as humid and hot as it gets).
Tips for Tempering Chocolate:
- Make sure you start with a dry bowl or double boiler pan, and don’t use wooden utensils when tempering chocolate as they can introduce moisture into the chocolate and as my sister Sadie constantly reminded me during our chocolate making extravaganza, “Moisture is the enemy of chocolate!” Instead, use a silicone scraping spatula to stir your chocolate.
- Make sure the water is not touching the bowl or pan of your double boiler as this can cause the chocolate to overheat and burn.
- Use a candy thermometer or instant digital thermometer to monitor the tempering process. Tempering chocolate requires heating to precise temperatures, so it’s important to constantly watch the progress.
- Stay by the stove and constantly check the temperature and stir the chocolate. Tempering is an active process.
Appreciation for Frogs and Toads
Bullfrog We Saw Backpacking the Jacks River Trail in the Cohutta Wilderness Area
I’ve always been enchanted by the aura around frogs and toads; they have a magical, mysterious quality about them. Oftentimes, frogs and toads get a bad rap—people view them as gross, cold-blooded, mischievous, lowly creatures. They’re often associated with evil in movies and Frogs, a silly horror flick, goes as far as to feature frogs as the villain (though the movie does have a pro-environmental message). Even in the Brothers Grimm fairytale, the princess views the frog as “nasty”. However, I find them fascinating creatures and they hold a dear spot in my heart. They’re affectionate parents and super cute.
I will never forget when backpacking in North Carolina, how the frogs would come out at night. Like clockwork, they would emerge and hop towards our fire, drawn by the heat, and sit contentedly with us. They were our night-time companions and we gladly welcomed them.
I hope everyone has a fabulous Valentine’s Day. If you have a frog lover in your life, these white chocolate-matcha frog princes will make the perfect Valentine’s Day gift!
White Chocolate-Matcha Frog Princes with Gum Paste Crowns
|Serves||6 chocolate frogs|
|By author||Rosanna Bell|
White Chocolate-Matcha Frogs
- frog candy mold
- kitchen scale
- candy thermometer or instant digital thermometer
- scraper spatula
- offset spatula or pastry scraper
- 2 (3.5 ounces) bars of white chocolate (divided)
- 2 teaspoons matcha powder
Gum Paste Crowns
- 1/4 cup Wilton gum paste mix
- 1 tablespoon water
- 4 teaspoons powdered sugar (plus more for kneading gum paste)
- Wilton orange icing color
- vegetable shortening
Gum Paste Crowns (Optional)
- edible gold luster dust
- vodka or other clear alcohol (if using gold luster dust)
- small paintbrush (for painting on the gold luster dust)
- white pearl sprinkles (to decorate crowns)
|White Chocolate-Matcha Frogs|
|Divide white chocolate into two piles: 4.67 ounces and 2.33 ounces, respectively. Finely chop the chocolate. Add 4.67 ounces to a double boiler or a bowl set over a small saucepan of simmering water (not boiling). Make sure the water is not touching the bowl or pan of your double boiler as this can cause the chocolate to overheat and burn. Use a candy thermometer or instant digital thermometer to monitor the chocolate's temperature. Make sure the thermometer is not touching the bottom of the pan. Stir the chocolate with a scraping spatula until the chocolate has melted and reached 105°F. Remove from the heat.|
|Slowly add the remaining chocolate to the melted chocolate, stirring with a scraper spatula until fully melted. Keep stirring the chocolate until it cools down to 82°F.|
|Once it reaches 82°F, put it back over the simmering water and reheat until it reaches 87°F. Immediately remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the matcha powder, until evenly distributed.|
|Pour the white chocolate-matcha mixture into the frog molds. Use an offset spatula or pastry scraper to remove access chocolate. Gently tap the chocolate mold on the counter to remove any air bubbles.|
|Place the chocolate mold in the freezer for 5 minutes to set the candy.|
|Unmold the chocolate frogs.|
|Gum Paste Crowns|
|In a small bowl, combine gum paste mix and water. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Dust your hands and sprinkle work surface with powdered sugar. Turn out gum paste mixture onto work surface and knead like bread dough until well mixed. Transfer gum paste mixture to a Ziplock bag, seal it, and let it rest for 15 minutes.|
|Remove gum paste mixture from bag and begin kneading the mixture on a work surface sprinkled with powdered sugar. Gradually add 4 teaspoons of powdered sugar to the gum paste dough.|
|Tint gum paste with a small amount of orange icing color and knead until evenly blended.|
|Cover a work surface with vegetable shortening. Roll out gum paste until you have a very thin layer, about 1/16th of an inch.|
|Using a sharp knife, cut out the crown designs. Start by making two 1-inch vertical cuts parallel to each other, about 1.5-2 inches apart. Then from the left top, make zig-zag cuts across to the other side, only cutting half way down. Then make a horizontal cut across the base of the two vertical cuts. Repeat this process 5 more times.|
|Put a little gold luster dust into a small bowl and add a few drops of vodka or clear alcohol to the bowl. You want to add just enough to create a paste that can be painted onto the gum paste crowns. Paint both sides of the crown with this paste.|
|Gently bend the base of the crown into a circle and seal the two sides together by pinching the gum paste with your fingers. Place white pearl sprinkles between the ridges of the crown, if using. Repeat this process with the remaining crowns.|
|Place crowns on the chocolate frogs. Serve or store them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.|