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    Buffalo, NY

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  1. Oil spot glazes if I'm not mistaken - gorgeous!
  2. patris

    Lunch! What'd ya have? (2018)

    It's an off-label use, but I will allow it for such a gorgeous meal!
  3. An extremely kind and generous friend gifted me a large quantity of Belgian chocolate, which was a wonderful addition to Santa’s Tonawanda Workshop this year. I wanted to pay this generosity forward, so I contacted a food pantry/soup kitchen/general community resource on the West side of Buffalo to ask if they would accept a donation of chocolate treats made in a private home. Happily they said yes, so I spent today working on some goodies for their holiday meals and festivities. There’s about 6 pounds of peppermint bark, 5 dozen or so pretzel rods wrapped in caramel and dipped in milk or dark chocolate, and 3.5 pounds each of chocolate clusters - milk chocolate with salted peanuts and cornflakes, and caramelized white chocolate with toasted coconut and heath toffee bits: I will drop these off tomorrow and hope they brighten the season for the agency’s clients, volunteers and staff.
  4. I use regular Foodsaver bags (no VacMaster here!) ... and now I am wondering whether that”s a good idea 🤭 They do withstand the pressure (cooking) with no discernible ill effects though.
  5. Me neither. I wanted to save some time on a big project and bought 4 of those molds. Regardless of technique, I am disappointed in the result every damn time.
  6. 8 ounces of water, chocolate on trivet, high pressure, quick release. I always double-bag the chocolate as insurance against a bad seal. I often do several packages over the course of a day, leave them sealed up, and store them with my other chocolate. Takes several hours in a melter to get it to a stage at which it is ready to temper, and usually requires an immersion blender to un-lump it, but I temper lots more than I need so I generally have a good quantity ready to use.
  7. I do. All credit for the technique goes to @Chocolot, who posted it at length here somewhere. White chocolate, vacuum sealed (I do it in 500 g packages), pressure cooked 2 packages at a time for 90 minutes in my Instant Pot. You will think you have ruined it but it will thin out some as it cools. Add cocoa butter to thin out further - I usually add around 20 percent of the weight of the chocolate - and temper as usual. Works great every time.
  8. 25 pounds of chocolate, 12 pounds of peppermint bark, 30 dozen marshmallows, 21 dozen peanut butter meltaways, and countless varieties of assorted barks later, Tonawanda Chocolate Fest 2018 is in the books. Once again @Kerry Beal kept the wheels on the bus in ways I never could. Everyone seemed to have a wonderful time, and I enjoyed every second. Here are some pictures of the middle of the activity: My poor dear Boris hid in the basement, as is his wont when other people are around. He came right back upstairs when he heard there was tuna for dinner though:
  9. Nope! 12 inch drywall taping knife. Makes pretty quick work of them. It was another thoroughly delightful day. The last guest just left. I have a shockingly minimal amount of cleanup to do, and then I must head to the grocery store to replenish some supplies the elves used for their projects that I need for my next project. I did take some photos of the day, which I will post later.
  10. It’s today! Managed to sleep until nearly 5 am (Kerry got a fair bit more sleep, which seems like a pretty good karmic rebalancing given all she does for me and others), and have been busily reordering and organizing. All is nearly ready for the joyful hordes to arrive in about an hour and a half. Milk, dark and caramelized white chocolates melting: dipping bowls at the ready: Tally sheets, mixing bowls and little bits and bobs from my candy closet for people to use up: 15 pounds of peppermint bark, ALL THE MARSHMALLOWS in plain, peppermint and red hot cinnamon, and smooth and crunchy meltaways: now off to finish the cheese ball and accompanying crudités and most importantly feed Kerry a decent brunch!
  11. After the workshop orders I spent some time working on a 2.0 design - now they are slightly oval, which offers a bit more dipping room. We shall see what the focus group thinks tomorrow!
  12. If there is an advantage to insomnia, it is that waking up at 4 am means you can get a lot done before 9 or so. After indulging in two cups of coffee and more than half of the first 2-hour episode of the new season of the Great American Baking Show, I set to work on the rest of the confections. All the marshmallows are done, and will rest until I cut them up this evening or early tomorrow: and the peanut butter crunch meltaways (about 200 grams feuilletine in about 1 kg meltaway) are behind (within?) bars to crystallize. Later they and their smooth friends will get a foot of milk chocolate and be cut for the elves to dip as they please. The chocolate for the peppermint bark is melting in those cunning little 3 kg Croquade melters - love those things. i did run into something I hadn’t really seen before - the meltaway slab I made last night has this odd streaky look. The texture is perfect, and it seems perfectly tempered, so I don’t think it matters, but it got me thinking - I bought some cocoa butter (says it’s organic and fair trade) from a source that is new to me, and when it arrived I noticed that it was very light in color - more cream than the faint butter yellow I am used to - and it took a rather high temp (34.5ish) in the EZTemper to make silk of it. I am assuming it is indeed cocoa butter, but found the streaking curious. It’s a big slab, and I didn’t refrigerate it at all, so perhaps it was just latent heat throwing things off a bit. I am off to do some grocery shopping and other errands, and hoping to have time for a nap after lunch to make up for lost sleep.
  13. Ho ho ho! ‘‘Tis the season for the elves to return to Tonawanda. Sunday is the big day, and I’ve taken tomorrow off from work to allow me to retain my sanity while I prepare. @Kerry Beal will arrive Saturday morning, so I am trying extra hard to get all the prep and scut work done so we can get up to whatever trouble finds us. After work this evening I got started on the confections - a hefty slab of peanut butter meltaways and three pans of cinnamon marshmallows. On deck for tomorrow will be another batch of meltaways (this one with feuilletine mixed in), two pans of peppermint marshmallows, one of vanilla marshmallows, and around 12 pounds of peppermint bark. I’ll try to remember to take pictures along the way.
  14. patris

    Dairy-free ganache suggestions

    What about doing meltaways? They use coconut oil (refined will give virtually no coconut flavor) and I imagine you could flavor them with a number of oils - mint, lemon, orange, almond, etc. Tempered properly (true confessions: I have an EZTemper, which makes it easy) the texture is wonderful. You could either slab and dip, or fill bonbons.
  15. As it happens, she is already in possession of a couple of them - I gave them to her on her last visit!