Jan 212013
 
Molded chocolates, white chocolate

White-chocolate-citrus ganache in white-chocolate shells. The candies look a little more yellow in the photo than they really were. (Click on image to see larger photo.)

Though molded chocolates are among my favorite types of confections, I’ve gotta say that they’re a big pain in the arse to make at home. Everything is hurry-up-and-wait, extremely messy, and sometimes seemingly impossible for anyone with fewer than four hands.

But I never regret making them — and I will probably make many more. Continue reading »

Jan 122013
 
My latest molded-chocolate practice session was fraught with problems, but the two-toned shell seemed to work out OK. Here, a milk-chocolate ganache was piped into a bittersweet chocolate shell with milk-chocolate striping. (Click on image to see larger photo.)

My latest molded-chocolate practice session was fraught with problems, but the two-toned shell seemed to work out OK. Here, a milk-chocolate ganache was piped into a bittersweet chocolate shell with milk-chocolate striping. (Click on image to see larger photo.)

My latest molded-chocolate practice session left me with over 100 thick-shelled chocolates with too little ganache inside them, an estimated two pounds of wasted chocolate, and complete exhaustion. A quick run-thru of notes and lessons learned before I collapse: Continue reading »

Jan 072013
 
cashew-studded toffee

Chopped toasted cashews were added to a basic English toffee recipe, then dipped in milk or white chocolate and given an outer layer of chopped cashews. (Click on photo to see larger image.)

English toffee is rather easy to make — I based my cashew-loaded version on Carole Bloom’s recipe, but most recipes I’ve found use near-identical formulas. Bloom instructs us to roll the dipped toffee in chopped nuts, coating the piece entirely. I found that to be overkill and decided to have just one side covered with nuts, with a cashew half garnishing the top.

To get the chopped cashews on just one side of the dipped toffee, have a shallow pan filled with toasted chopped cashews (about two to three cups worth) ready to go before tempering the chocolate. Place each freshly dipped toffee piece onto the cashews, gently press a whole cashew onto the top (using this pressure to also press the toffee into the cashew pieces), and let each piece sit until the chocolate is set enough for you to safely move them to another pan. As you take the set toffee pieces off the pan, redistribute the remaining chopped cashews to ensure all subsequent pieces also get a nicely cashewed bottom.

The Carole Bloom recipe I used is from her book Truffles, Candies, and Confections, Ten Speed Press, 2004, p.156-157.

Jan 062013
 
Peppermint swirl marshmallows

The marshmallows have a nice texture and flavor, but getting the swirl right was more difficult than I had thought it would be. (Click on image to see larger photo.)

I do not plan to post the recipe here; see LaBau’s book The Sweet Book of Candy Making, Quarry Press, 2012, p.116-117 for more information.

Elizabeth LaBau’s Peppermint Swirl Marshmallows are a no-frills basic marshmallow recipe with the addition of a marbling effect on the top done with red food coloring and a toothpick.

I had gel food coloring but it was not the type you could “drizzle over the top of the marshmallow in a random pattern.” But I did the best I could. My one regret was I did not block off any time this weekend to temper chocolate and dip these marshmallows — while I was cutting the marshmallows I was thinking, GEE I REALLY WISH I HAD TIME TO DIP THESE IN CHOCOLATE — THEY’D BE AWESOME!! But they’re pretty darned good without any coating. I’ll soon test them in a cup of steaming hot cocoa.

I guess I’ll have to make another batch of marshmallows for dipping in the near future . . .

Jan 042013
 

 

The white-chocolate-based ganache was so creamy and soft that the truffle centers barely held their shape before they were dipped. (Click on photo for larger image.)

The white-chocolate-based ganache was so creamy and soft that the truffle centers barely held their shape before they were dipped. (Click on photo to see larger image.)

Unable to find a trustworthy cappuccino truffle recipe with a white-chocolate-based ganache (I was trying to please both a coffee lover and a chocolate hater), I decided to adapt truffle goddess Carole Bloom’s cappuccino truffles recipe, which in its original form has a dark-chocolate ganache base.

Continue reading »