Marcia

May 212013
 
Orange truffles

After they were dipped in chocolate, these orange truffles were rolled across a cooling rack to give them spikes reminiscent of chef Anne Burrell’s hair.

I chose Orange Truffles for the first recipe to try in Peter Greweling’s book Chocolates and Confections: Formula, theory and technique for the artisan chocolatier for two reasons: one, they were truffles and therefore within my comfort zone (in theory), and, two, I had plenty of Grand Marnier on hand.

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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.

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Dec 302012
 
The chocolate raspberry ganache was actually creamier than it looks here—this photo was taken shortly after the truffles were rescued from the fridge. (Click on photo for larger image.)

The chocolate raspberry ganache was actually creamier than it looks here—this photo was taken shortly after the truffles were rescued from the fridge, so the ganache didn’t have a chance to soften much. (Click on photo to see larger image.)

One of the confection cookbooks I’ve had great success with so far is Carole Bloom’s Truffles, Candies, & Confections, especially when it comes to truffles. I’ve tried her milk chocolate truffles, mocha truffles, and chocolate raspberry truffles — all of which yielded truffles of perfect flavor and texture — and adapted her cappuccino truffles for a white-chocolate ganache. Kudos to her for her carefully written, thorough instructions as well.

When I made Bloom’s already-fabulous chocolate-raspberry truffle recipe for the second time, I upped the amount of raspberries slightly, both for convenience — 12-ounce packages of frozen raspberries were easy to find in my area — and for a little extra raspberry zip. I also changed the procedure slightly, adding the step of an initial hand dipping with untempered chocolate. And I upped the amount of chocolate required for dipping and used a colored-white-chocolate drizzle for garnish instead of her originally prescribed cocoa powder.

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Jun 122012
 
White chocolate brownies

White chocolate brownies with white and dark chocolate chunks. The dark chocolate chunks in these bars are actually Guittard's L’Etoile du Nord 64 percent semisweet chocolate wafers.
(Click on photo for larger image.)

I was seeking a relatively easy cookie or bar recipe that called for a lot of white chocolate, milk chocolate, or both. I came across this fabulous recipe in Janice Wald Henderson’s appropriately named cookbook White Chocolate. The recipe calls for 1 pound of white chocolate and 8 ounces of dark chocolate. Since I had over 5 pounds of white chocolate to use up, I baked up two batches — one batch with walnuts, one without.
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Jun 052012
 
Honey and tahini ganache

Honey and tahini ganache with toasted sesame seeds, from Paul A. Young's "Adventures with Chocolate." (Click on photo for larger image.)

I received Paul A. Young’s Adventures with Chocolate as a birthday gift. I’d never heard of Young before, but by perusing the text and images of this entertaining book, I discovered he’s a serious chocolatier with a bold streak of whimsy, as evidenced in part by such recipe titles as “Fig and Date Tarts with Cumin-Chocolate Syrup,” “Basil and Lemon-Thyme Ganache,” and “Honey-Cured Bacon, Stilton, and Chocolate Sandwich.” Most of the recipes in this book are must-tries, but I started with the Honey and Tahini Ganache with Toasted Sesame Seeds because it looked easy [read: required no tempering or dipping] and called for ingredients easily found at the supermarket — or at least I had initially thought so. . .
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May 202012
 
White Chocolate, Cherry, and Ice-Crem-Cone Bark

White chocolate, cherry, and ice-cream-cone bark. With chocolate sprinkles. (Click on photo for larger image.)

Source or inspiration for recipe: Original recipe inspired by fond memories of jimmie-coated ice cream scoops in cones.
Yield: Two large (approx. 11×17″) slabs of bark (This is actually a double recipe that is easily halved.)

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. white chocolate couverture, tempered in an extra-large bowl
  • 12 sugar cones (usually one package), broken into medium-sized pieces (about 1 inch each)
  • 8 oz. dried tart cherries, such as Trader Joe’s
  • 3 – 4 oz. (a generous 1/2 cup) real chocolate sprinkles (Not the supermarket variety made with wax, please. Try Guittard’s, which you can get via King Arthur’s Flour Catalog, among other places.

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