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    Alberta, Canada
  1. It won't give you evenly sized chunks, but the fastest and easiest way to "chop" chocolate is to wrapit up well in a plastic bag, set it on a hard surface and whack it with a hammer. It you whack it enough all the chunks will be small enough to melt easily. That's what I used to do anyway, on the occasions when I had to deal with 5 kg bars.
  2. Have you tried it yet? IMO, lemon goes surprisingly well with, of all things, milk chocolate, better than dark, better than white.
  3. Hi Mer, I've been thinking about this since you asked the same question on CooksTalk. In fact, I've got a test cake going right now, though in the fridge instead of the freezer. How did you warm the cake back up - wrapped or unwrapped? Someone suggested that the freezer would be worse than the fridge, but my intuition, at least based on experience with frozen versus fridge-chilled bread, is the reverse.
  4. Thanks for your replies everyone - and thanks for the link to the older thread. You'd think I would have thought of searching before I asked, but of course I didn't. The thing I like best about not boiling the cream is that it seems to give the ganache a fresher taste. I just need to be sure it will still hold for a couple of weeks when made that way. I guess some testing is in order. I haven't tried the stick blender yet to get a good emulsion, but will.
  5. Hi everyone, it's been ages since I've visited - I took time off to have a baby, but am now back at work. I've been playing around with ganache methods and have discovered that I get the best flavour and smoothest emulsion if I stir the cold cream and solid chocolate together over gentle heat, until the chocolate is almost, but not quite finished melting. Is there any reason, from a professional standpoint, not to do this? Will it affect shelf-life in any way? The cream I'm using is ultrapasteurized, if that's important.
  6. My guess is that it was underbaked. Like bakerboy, it tested done with a toothpick before it really was. I find a touch test more reliable (press the center of the cake lighly with your finger, if it bounces back, it's done). I wouldn't add more leavening. If anything I'll bet that would make it fall even more. And Alice Medrich usually has quite well balanced recipes.
  7. It's either that or you left the yolks and sugar together too long before blending and adding the other ingredients. That can also lead to graininess. The sugar kind of "burns" the yolks. As for recipes, I liked Sherry Yard's a lo. I'm also a big fan of Fine Cooking's recipe, especially because of the foolproof mixing method.
  8. Samaki

    Soft Caramels

    I've seen soft caramel recipes that only go to one temperature, like the original one posted, and made them many times. They do, in fact succeed in making decent soft caramels. I've abandoned them for the two temperature method, though, for two reasons: (1) the flavor is better when you caramelize the sugars and not just the cream, and (2) the resulting caramels are much more stable, i.e. resistant to unwanted crystalization.
  9. For what it's worth, I also think the cocoa butter would make the hardened chocolate more brittle.
  10. No appologies necessary. I take your points, and I agree.
  11. But I don't add any water. I'm talking about chewy caramels, where the sugars are first caramelized, then you add cream and butter and bring it back up to an appropriate caramelization temperature. The liquid boiling off is from the cream. Your idea about uneven heating is interesting. Once I add the cream I stir constantly, so that should alleviate uneven heating problems, no? Anyway, the color isn't what concerns me so much as the fact that taking the caramel up to the exact same temperature still yeilds a harder or softer finished product depending on the speed at which it gets there. Perhaps your explanation still holds, though - with high heat, even with constant stirring, some of it is bound to get better "cooked" than others?
  12. Interesting. I didn't know that about sugar coloration or custard. taht implies that it is more than just an evaporation issue, I guess. Hmmm, now I'm really curious. I'm going to continue sleuthing.
  13. Thanks for the replies. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who's noticed this. I've tried looking for answers as to why, but none of my books seem to cover it, and internet searches have revealed little. I hadn't thought about batch sizes, but you're right, when I double it does change things.
  14. I have two types of hand-dipped caramels in my current chocolate selection, which means, of course, that I find myself making caramels fairly often. One thing I've noted over the past year or so, is that the speed at which I bring it up to temperature seems to affect the firmness of the caramel - the longer it takes, the firmer the finished candy. What I don't understand is why this should be so. Is it an evaporation issue? Something else? And what is the ideal length of time I should shoot for anyway? I know there must be someone around here who knows.
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