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About patris

  • Birthday 01/03/1969

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    Buffalo, NY

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  1. Microwave- and Heat-Safe Bowl

    Amen - I bought some for my annual friends/family chocolate making day and while they were a bit large for that particular task, they are now a go-to for all kinds of chocolate and non-chocolate kitchen projects.
  2. Like many who have contributed to this thread over the past decade, I have been nursing a jar of vanilla for several years, started back in the good old days when a pound of perfectly serviceable beans could be had for sub-$20. A few weeks ago I happened on a forgotten stash of those beans, which I was even happier to discover were still vacuum sealed. Recently I came across an article about infusing vanilla in the pressure cooker so I decided to give it a shot. I filled 5 eight-ounce mason jars with 20 grams each of chopped fresh beans and beans fished out of my working bottle, then added 60ml each of cheap vodka and everclear. An hour in the Instant Pot at high pressure, natural release, resulted in a lovely dark, nicely perfumed infusion - has a fairly sharp alcohol aroma and flavor, but less than I expected. Definitely a great way to jumpstart a batch. For comparison, below is a photo of the bottle into which I dumped a bunch of the used beans and equal amounts of vodka and everclear just now; the pressure cooked batch; and the bottle that has been brewing in my basement since sometime in the late oughts. The lighting is not the best, but the color of the pressure cooked bottle is virtually indistinguishable from the legacy bottle.
  3. Dunno if you will find this to be good news or bad news, but the serving size is THREE cones for 260 calories!
  4. Meltaways

    Chiming in late, but definitely can verify that the refined/deodorized stuff is what you want. Wasted a whole batch of peanut butters with unrefined stuff from Trader Joe’s because I didn’t taste or smell it first. Not a terrible flavor, but not right either.
  5. Meltaways

    Mixed up a 100 gram batch and ghee does work nicely from a texture standpoint. I used the EZTemper silk and meant to add about 2% or so, but my scale has trouble with such tiny measurements so I likely went over. The sun butter itself is a bit grainy compared to the Jif I usually use in the PB version, so that comes through a bit - but not offensively so. The flavor seemed a bit flat; I added a bit of salt and that improved things some. No one is going to mistake them for the original, but they’re not going to necessitate an EpiPen or a trip to the ER for my sweet little Violet, so I’d consider them a success.
  6. Meltaways

    My gut says that the texture wouldn't be so nice and soft. I'll try the ghee first and report back.
  7. Meltaways

    That was my plan, but I figured if someone knew it absolutely wouldn't work I would spare myself the trip to Wegmans. Thank you, as always!
  8. Meltaways

    My apologies if this question has been answered elsewhere - is there a good substitution for coconut oil in meltaways? I wanted to make peanut butter meltaways for our family Christmas celebration, but I have a great niece who is extremely allergic to many things - including peanuts and all things coconut. I figure I will try SunButter to sub for the peanut butter, but wondered what I might sub for coconut oil. Ghee, maybe? Any advice would be appreciated!
  9. Last week our local paper ran an article about a candy company (Landies Candies) that makes stuffed pretzels - they sell them on QVC, apparently. The idea intrigued me so I had to try them. I usually put together a variety of chocolates and confections for gift giving, so the time was right. Pretzels, both regular and ring-shaped, with a layer of chocolate to create a base for the stuffing: Then filled - peanut butter meltaway in the regular ones, salted caramel dark chocolate ganache in the rings: Finally dipped and decorated - sprinkles made from Bravetart's recipe on the regulars, caramelized white chocolate drizzle on the rings: These will make nice holiday gifts this year, provided I do not eat them all.
  10. Sure thing - it’s Bravetart’s.
  11. So here are some notes - let me know if you have questions. - I provided chocolate and people brought things they wanted to use for barks, clusters, etc. Since just about everyone wanted peppermint bark last year, I asked them all how much of that they wanted and made it ahead of time, leaving it in big pieces so people could break it up as they wanted. I also made marshmallows (plain, peppermint and cinnamon) and peanut butter meltaways (with and without feuilletine) for people to dip. I had people keep track of how many pounds of chocolate they used and charged an amount per pound that covered my costs. I use the Orchid line from Albert Uster, which is reasonably priced and tastes pretty good. I charged per pound for the peppermint bark and by the dozen for the marshmallows and meltaways. The extra confections are definitely not necessary but I can’t help myself. - Chocolate melters and an EZ TEmper are indispensable. I had a 6 kg melter full of dark, and 3 3 kg full of milk, white, and caramelized white (no one used white this year, so I may skip that next year). We showed everyone how to use the scale to weigh the chocolate they took and calculate the amount of silk they needed, and then how to add and incorporate the silk. Everyone got perfect temper every time. @Kerry Beal did a lot of re-warming for people to keep the chocolate workable. - In terms of space, a good rule of thumb is to allow about 3 feet of workspace per person - 6-foot folding banquet tables are a great option if you lack counter space and will accommodate 2 people. Also make sure you have PLENTY of space for people to set their goodies aside as they crystallize, and then even more space for people to work on packing stuff up. You seriously cannot have enough space for this. - Having enough bowls, spatulas and dipping tools is super important. I had one bowl and one silicone spatula per person, plus a couple extras so there would always be dry ones at the ready. A huge pile of clean dish towels also helped - I use IKEA tea towels in the pottery studio so I brought those home - probably a couple dozen - and they were really handy. - I made some snacks and people brought some things to share. There is always too much food. This is not a complaint. - The 5 elves went through about 10 lbs. of peppermint bark, somewhere north of 15 lbs of chocolate, 20 dozen marshmallows and 15 dozen meltaways. In all, it was a delightful day and though it was a lot of work, I would say that it was fairly low stress - but I have a feeling I might not say that had Kerry not been a part of it! Happy to answer questions or expand on anything.
  12. I’d be happy to - will put something together in the next few days.
  13. Suzi - Swiston's is about 5 minutes from my house and in all my years here (10 since I bought it, but close to 50 since was born - it's the house I grew up in), not once have I eaten there! Beef on weck was never one of my favorite things, even when I was an omnivore. Now Anderson's roast beef... that was another thing entirely, mostly because after the roast beef sandwich came the frozen custard!
  14. What a grand day it was! I mostly forgot to take pictures, so I am happy to see Kerry found the time whilst shepherding folks through tempering and general chocolate maintenance and somehow doing an awful lot of dishes not only to take photos but to post them. How she does it all I will never know, and once again I forgot to take notes... Anyhow, a bit of the bounty as people were packaging it up: I didn’t bother with photos of the aftermath like last year because there wasn’t too much to photograph - I learned lots of lessons about streamlining this event and it was so much more relaxed. I cleaned up and put everything back where it belongs at quite a leisurely pace, and it took maybe 90 minutes to get everything back to normal, which looks more like this: Just a few leftovers that I will enjoy over the next day or so. i just love this event. It brings together all the different facets of my life - family, a dear colleague, fellow potter friends, and of course @Kerry Beal who is in a class by herself - and it’s so lovely to see them all enjoy themselves and click so nicely as a group. Talk about the spirit of the holidays!
  15. Delicious - definitely moreish.