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Everything posted by CurlySue

  1. Thank you, Kerry. I can obviously scale this recipe to my little home kitchen. Do you think the starch molds are necessary? I know in some candies the starch reacts with the ingredients to form a shell of sorts. I'd like to keep this simple and maybe just pour the liquid into a pan. I could dry in a dehydrator, but not a whole pan. Hmmm. Maybe some experimenting is in order.
  2. Some of my favorite candies are the jelly/gummy type like orange slices and spearmint leaves: http://www.candyblog.net/blog/item/spearmint_leaves I have searched and searched for a recipe to make candies like these. I found and tried one that included sugar, corn syrup and pectin as the base ingredients. It was an epic fail as I ended up with two pans of slightly gelled goo. Every recipe I seem to find (and there aren't many) seem to include pectin and I don't want to try that again since I failed at it already and I know I followed the recipe exactly. The website in the link says the candy ingredients show sugar, corn syrup and cornstarch for gelling. Can anyone help me with a recipe for these candies that doesn't inlcude pectin as the gelling agent? I would be forever grateful. I'd like to add them to my candy gifts this year as an alternative to the overload of chocolate I usually make! Thank you.
  3. I made my first batch on the slab, then saved a bit and used it to seed my mixer batch. I did have to finish the mixer batch on the slab though as it never seemed to set up quite as well as the first, slabbed batch.
  4. The only problem with that is -- as with all mammals -- humans need that NaCl to do its chemical duty. Governments and companies may find a flavor substitute, but good luck finding one that won't destroy the species. Does anyone really believe that one day the government would actually start forcing some strange chemical contrivance upon the people and that salt will be banned and treated like cocaine or heroin? Because that notion itself is utterly ludicrous. I don't think ludicrous is accurate. Ask any smoker ten years ago if they thought they wouldn't be allowed to smoke in their own home someday and they would tell you that idea was ludicrous. Nothing is out of the realm of possibility when government believes that their citizens want them to regulate their lives.
  5. I would like to make the nougat recipe from the book (not sure which one yet, probably torrone). I have a giant container of meringue powder (Henry & Henry Kwik Fluff to be exact) left over from my cake making days and I was wondering if it would be possible to use it instead of the egg whites (dry and fresh) in any of these recipes, and if so, what the conversion might be? For example, the torrone recipe calls for 10g dried egg white and 100g fresh egg white. Obviously I would need to moisten the meringue with water so I'm thinking something like 75g meringue with 35g water? Should I be trying to sub by weight like this, or is there a better method? Is this even a good idea? I know meringue powder includes other ingredients so I don't know if those ingredients would ruin the recipe. Just trying to use up this meringue!
  6. Thanks b, that's what I'll do then. I have a good place to store them so they should be fine overnight, and I'll fill before dinner. sparrowgrass, I could make "deviled eggs" with the meringue and curd!
  7. I'm hosting Easter dinner at our house for the first time this year and I'm trying to put together my menu. I'm a decent cook, but not a pro like most of you. I'm an above-average-home-baker but again, no pro. My family is not picky, at all. I really really want to make meringue "baskets" filled with lemon curd and strawberries for dessert. I've researched the "lemon curd" thread and come up with a few recipes I'd like to try. My problem lies in the meringue. I've made Italian Meringue buttercream for many cakes so I'm familiar with the process. However, I have a huge bucket of H&H meringue powder leftover from my cake days that I'd really like to use. I seem to recall it has a few recipes on the side, one for cold and one for baked meringue. Will it work to follow the "baked" recipe, and pipe and bake baskets? Assuming I can follow that recipe and bake the shells, how long will they last? Obviously I'll be busy on Easter making the rest of the meal so I'd prefer to avoid dealing with baking and filling meringue shells too, but I will if I have to. I'd prefer to bake them the night before, let them sit somewhere, and fill them just before guests arrive. I'd actually like to fill them the night before too but I think the moisture from the curd will spoil the meringue shells, right? TIA for any help or advice!
  8. Could you tell us what the machine method was? Thanks ← That's pretty much it: cook the syrup as usual, slab it on marble until cooled a bit, then transfer to the mixer and use the hook attachment on low until it's ready. ← Good to know!! Thanks you.
  9. Yup, I tried butter mints just a day or two ago that crystallized on me too. And I *did* wash down the sides of the pan, but I must have missed a rogue crystal or two. Are unmelted sugar crystals the only thing that can cause crystallization? Not flavorings or anything like that? I think my problem was scraping the bottom of the pan where a large hunk of gunk seemed to have collected. I'm not sure how it collected there since I stirred the whole time, but it was there and I think the culprit.
  10. Well, just about an hour ago I tried a fudge recipe from my fancy new Greweling book and it crystalized into a giant blob right in my hands. I don't make fudge often, and tried it using his tabling technique (also new to me). I assume it cooled too fast on my granite countertop, thereby blobbing on me. There was a time many, many years ago when I first started making candy that I tried to make nougat. I didn't have a thermometer, so I 'eyed' it and obviously overestimated the temperature. I poured it onto a flat baking sheet (all I had at the time) and rushed it into the freezer once I realized it wasn't setting. I opened the freezer about an hour later to find the nougat had continued to flow off the sheet and all over the freezer. That was a lot of fun to clean up.
  11. We have a new gas stove with a high power burner and "wok ring" in the middle. While I'm sure it's far from professional grade it's better than anything I've had in the past, so I'm on the hunt for a wok. I know non-stick is out of the question. I'm assuming carbon steel is best? Can anyone recommend a good brand/model? It doesn't have to be huge since I only cook for two normally, so 14" maybe. All help appreciated!
  12. Thank you. Actually, our stream is one of the cleanest in the state, which we just learned. We had a group from Ohio State come by last year asking to do some testing in our waters because our creek is considered the "closest to pure" as they can find. We were very happy to hear that! Thanks for the tips... I'm not sure if we'll do it or not, but it seems a shame not to try!
  13. Hello everyone, We have property in Ohio with a stream, and in this stream seems to be an awful lot of crawfish. I know very little about crawfish, other than the boiled crawfish I had once on a trip to NOLA. I did a search on crawfish here and saw lots of posts about crawfish "season". I seem to recall seeing crawfish in our stream year round. Is it better to catch them during a certain season than another? If I, this midwestern girl, were to want to try a crawfish boil with crawfish from our stream, anyone have any advice on how to start? I know catching them is probably going to prove the most challenging part. After catching them, I assume I need to keep them in a bucket of water or something until I'm ready to boil them? I know I can find recipes online for seasoning the boil... but here comes the midwestern girl... how exactly do we eat them? It was years ago that I had them in NOLA and I honestly can't say I remember the experience very well, probably because I was young and tipsy. Thanks in advance for any advice!
  14. Thank you, I had no idea those ingredients caused elasticity. So, if I were to play with my recipe, can anyone advise how I adjust the gelatin/glucose to make it more stretchy? I don't have the recipe memorized but assuming there were equal parts of each I'm assuming I could up each ingredient an equal percentage and go from there. Is there anyway to save the bunch that I already have made? Can I knead in more gelatin/glucose or is it too late? edited to say: sorry, I meant gelatin/glycerine, not glucose!
  15. Yeah, I've had a couple people mention the marshmallow fondant now and I would really prefer not to go that route. I don't want to have to keep a special ingredient on hand (like marshmallows) just to make this. I normallly have all the other ingredients for a normal fondant recipe available. Also, I've made the MMF in the past and really don't like working with it. Thanks though.
  16. I normally buy SatinIce fondant and really love it. I ran out, I don't have time to buy it and get it in time for an order I have this weekend. I can live without it (do buttercream instead) but would like to try and make some instead. I tried a batch yesterday, the recipe from Scott Wooley's book, and although it tastes great, it doesn't stretch worth a darn. This has always been my problem with homemade fondant, tastes great but doesn't work. I require stretch and lots of it because I am fondant challenged. What in the ingredients provides the stretch? I don't see anything other than the gelatin that might make this product stretchy, hence my problems (I'm assuming) with no stretch. Does anyone have a surefire recipe I can use that will make STRETCHY fondant? And yes, I know fondant is the devil, but it makes lovely dresses on doll cakes!
  17. There are a lot more experts here than me but I've heard that baking them at a higher temperature actually helps stop them from spreading. Something about the high temperature helping the outside of the cookie "set up" before it spreads too much... anyone know if this is true? edited to add that I just compared your recipe to one I use and it's almost identical but mine doesn't use brown sugar, only granulated, and only a cup. I wonder if the molasses in the brown sugar would cause spreading? Also, my recipe has me bake at 400 degrees and they never spread.
  18. I have a 20qt made by Toledo (the scale people). Found it on Ebay and didn't know much about it but DH looked at it and said it looked heavy duty and that Toledo makes reliable stuff. It's been great, although I've scaled down my business and never use it anymore. I should sell it. It weighs an absolute TON though.
  19. No, no icing... that was part of the plan. I wanted to avoid having to ice them if at all possible. The chocolate stuck to them just fine.
  20. Well, I just wanted to update for anyone that was interested. Today was the day my customer picked up this order. I was VERY happy with the way these ended up, although I undercharged. I knew I would though and told her she was getting a deal for being my guinea pig customer. She was happy and so am I now that I know exactly how to do these in the future. Thanks to everyone for their tips and input. I baked 9" square, 2" high cakes and used a cutter to cut out each cake. I then split and filled each one individually (not sure why I did that, should have probably split and filled the whole cake before cutting). I melted white and dark chocolate mixed with a little corn syrup (hopefully to keep the chocolate a little softer) then dipped the acetate sheets in the chocolate and wrapped them around the cakes. When they were all wrapped I topped them with icing. Each cake was decorated with ribbon on top of the acetate, then elastic cord wrapped around that and an individual candy pacifier on top. The guests will just have to take off the cord, ribbon and acetate and the chocolate wrap will remain. The bases were sugar cookies and the cakes were attached to the cookies with chocolate. I have no idea how much these cost me to make. There was a ton of waste from the sheets I used to cut these out of. Then of course there was the labor. After I got rolling they got easier but they were still a bit of a pain, especially the candy pacifiers!! I'm thinking $6 each, should I ever sell these again in the future. Anyway, there were 36 total and here are the pics! (edited to fix pictures)
  21. I did some testing this weekend and found a method I think will work ok for me. I melted some chocolate with a little corn syrup (in hopes of making the chocolate less hard) and dipped the acetate strips in the chocolate.... wrapped the strips around the cut cake and froze quickly. After a few minutes I took them out and let them sit. The acetate peeled right off leaving a perfect chocolate wrap around the mini. I let them sit for a day and tested them the next day and they were still moist so the chocolate seals them well it seems. I'm going to sell them with the acetate still on, and then wrap ribbon around the acetate to decorate. Thanks everyone for all the help!!
  22. Sugarella, you are a wealth of information! Thank You! I fixed the link to the pans in my original post, sorry about that. I may go ahead and order that pan, if they'll ship to the US. I've spent so much money on cake stuff over the years, what's a little more. I will keep all your tips/hints/warnings in mind and do some playing this weekend and see what I come up with. I'll post if it's anything good. Thanks again everyone!
  23. Ah, thank you very much. That was my concern that the acetate wouldn't seal the cake completely and therefore leave it exposed to air and drying, making it inedible. I bought a 2.25" cutter, so that was going to be the size (2" tall with one layer of filling). They will be individual cakes, not tiered. I was probably going to offer them boxed in those little decorative acetate boxes. I'm sure the cut edges are going to be a pain for me. I should probably look into buying that pan in my previous post. Ok, obviously I'm going to have to rethink this a bit then. I'd love to know what easy method there is to icing these tiny little buggers. If it's with that icing tip, that never seems to apply the icing close enough to the cake to seal it for me. I've had issues with the icing falling off of cakes when applied this way. Any thoughts on using the chocolate "wrap" instead?
  24. Stickers... great idea! Thanks! Regarding the waste vs cupcakes idea... this is all because I absolutely HATE doing cupcakes. Putting those stupid little papers in the tins... filling the papers with batter dripping all over the place, over fillling them and making a mess, tops over cooked or too high or too round. Ugh, I just despise doing cupcakes and refuse to do them. Maybe there are tricks and I could learn to hate them less, but I'm doubtful. Therefore, I'm OK with the waste as long as I don't have to deal with cupcakes. I saw some totally awesome pans at online that are basically a bunch of little tiny molds all in one pan for doing minis Squires-Shop.com, but I don't know that I want to buy yet another pan for something that I'm not sure is going to be a big seller. I'd like to try this idea first and if it flies then maybe I'll look into the pans. edited since I was posting while others were posting answers to my questions!
  25. I want to start offering a different kind of mini cakes to my customers. I already provide "fancy" decorated, tiered minis but they're very expensive and I rarely get orders for them. I decided to try offering minis that are cut from a sheet cake then wrapped in acetate and frosted/decorated only on the top. It's hard to describe and I can't find any pictures and haven't done any samples yet, so please use your imagination. I will of course try some samples and see how they go before officially offering them but I was hoping for some help with a few snags I foresee. First, I'm not quite sure how to use the acetate. I bought these: Acetate Strips My intention is to split and fill a sheet cake, then use a round cutter I bought to cut individual servings from the sheet. Wrap the edges with acetate (to prevent drying) then fill the top with icing and top it with some sort of quick gumpaste flower or something. 1) How do I hold the ends of the acetate together? 2) Will wrapping the acetate around the cut cakes keep them moist for a day at least? I really want to avoid icing the cut sides of the mini, hence the acetate wrap. If this isn't going to work though, I'm considering using the strips dipped in chocolate then wrapped around the mini, but only if the acetate alone doesn't do the job. Would this solution be the next best? Any tips/ideas appreciated.
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