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Everything posted by Chocolot

  1. Remember that you simply removed too much water when you over cooked the caramel. therefore, you only need to add water back to the batch to recook to the proper temp. By adding cream, you added extra fat and it couldn't handle it all. When you have cooked out too much water, just add water back.
  2. What about doing low-tech marshmallow Easter eggs? Everyone has flour at home and could easily make different flavored eggs. Decorating them would be the fun part.
  3. I don't know what your pan looks like, but the size and the fact that it has a heavy bottom sounds good to me. It might be small for real production, but for small batches it seems right.
  4. 2000 pounds!!! Tell us about the logistics of an operation so large. ← It was an interesting 10 days. We did 12# of butter at a time. Cooling was the big problem. When it was finally cool enough to open windows, production moved quickly. Most days we did 6 batches but on a good day we did 8. My husband has never done anything in the kitchen besides burn toast and I made him a toffee maker:-) He also scrubbed the pot. Packing takes a long time. I learned a lot--mostly to never take an order that large again!!
  5. Having just finished making 2000 pounds of "English toffee", I'll jump in here. My version is the crunchy, brittle type covered with dark chocolate and dry roasted chopped almonds. In answer to what went wrong. Wrong size pan that you already figured out. You probably should have just halved the recipe. The crucial step is dissolving the sugar completely before starting the cook. I start out on low heat and let the sugar dissolve, then turn it up and stir the whole time. I cook it until I get a puff of smoke, stir it down and wait for the second puff. It is around 300 degrees. When it is poured out, I spread it with an offset spatula to the thickness I want. Some people don't touch it after pouring it, but that makes it too thick for me. I cover a sheet pan with the almonds, so that a very thick layer sticks to the back of the toffee. When the candy is just starting to cool, I throw a handful of callets on top and when they are shiny, I spread out and cover with more nuts. I don't want tempered chocolate on the toffee because when it contracts, it lifts off the toffee. If you want to dip completely in chocolate, pour out on parchment, score when cooling, break apart and dip when cool. You can roll in chopped nuts. You can also put raw nuts into the batch when cooking, but I prefer the other method-just my way of doing it.
  6. Sorry it didn't work for you. The butter has water, so it should have dropped the temp. Are you sure your thermometer is accurate? If it is not brittle, you didn't cook it to a high enough temperature. I think this time you are just going to have to rename it--not much you can do with it at this point. Were the nuts warm when you added them? I'm not sure what you mean "toffee like". If it is that brittle, you should be ok. If your idea of toffee is soft, then it is a different toffee than I am used to.
  7. Thanks Darienne, but I have a different color label and weights for each size. They are similar but different colors. It would be easier and less expensive if you could use the same one for several.
  8. Always the questions. The online dictionary says a ballotin is the officer who has charge of the ballot box. What exactly is a ballotin box? My confectionary partner and I are not in business , have no licence to sell and thus give away much of what we make. But we do have a logo...the little lop-eared bunny in my posts...I just adore him...and a name "Cheers & Chocolates" and using the computer are able to make lovely sticky labels that we can stick to anything we package. And we have a business card...same method. Not professional at all, but it works for us. Ruth Kendrick of Chocolot has a very lovely box with a very clever and useful multipurpose sticky strip label. I would post a photo of it with her permission. ← Go for it. I would do it myself, but I have issues with posting photos ( I can't remember how)
  9. I am far from experienced, but I found two things that work for me. First, don't make too big a mess to begin with and you have less to clean up Second, I use cotton terry towels instead of paper. I hit the molds with a hair dryer and just wipe off/out the chocolate. In class, they told us to never wash them.
  10. Thanks Ruth, Your comments are very useful. I'm up at 4000 feet and normally I live at about 600 feet. Wow! No one has ever called me a 'flat lander' before. Here's another factor. The humidity here is about 40 % and normally in Ontario it is ALWAYS over 80%. Would that make a difference? The caramel looks and cuts fine this morning. I'll cut it and coat it later. I think my thermometer is fine. How can I test it? In Ontario, I would test it in boiling water, but does water boil at a lower temperature up here? (The DH has just said, yes it would. OK. Now we do a test.) I must admit I love the endless complications of it all even while I am frustrated dealing with them at the time. ← Yes, water boils at a lower temp. That is why you reduce the temp on your sugar solution. Test your thermometer in boiling water. Note at what temp it boils. It usually lowers 2 degrees for every 1000 feet you go up. Water in Moab probably boils at 204. Standard at sea level is 212. Subtract the 204 from the 212. That will tell you how many degrees you need to subtract from the cooking temp. Thus, if your recipe calls for 240, you will cook to 232. It is the air pressure that is less, therefore the water boils sooner and the moisture is driven off at a lower temp. I'm surprised the humidity is that high. Must be the river. If it gets over 15% here, we all think we are dying. Dry humidity is great for chocolate and hard cooked candies. R
  11. Darienne, You obviously know what you did wrong this time--not enough cream which reacts the same as over cooking (too much liquid removed). Some other things to remember next time-- check your thermometer. You are at 4000 feet now, and should reduce your cooking temp by 8 degrees. Most flat landers overcook everything when they come to the mountains:-) Is your thermometer a good one? The cheap ones are worse than no thermometer. Good luck.
  12. Can you give us an idea of the cost of their fruit powders? ← Sorry--it has been years since I ordered and to be honest, the samples they sent lasted a long time:-) I think all FD powders are pricey per pound, but you use so little. I don't remember them as being outragiously priced. Years ago, I bought directly from Oregon Freeze Dry, but they no longer sell in small quantities and they referred me to Van Drunen. They have a large selection. You can even choose seeds or no seeds in the raspberry. They offer drum dried for a lower cost, but I don't think the flavor is as good.
  13. I order from freeze dried powders They will send free samples. I also buy large cans of whole FD strawberries and raspberries and pulverize them myself. I have used them in fondant centers for years and now use them in my ganaches.
  14. Wonderful accomplishments in such a short time. Continued good wishes.
  15. I cleaned out my garage today and came across a melter I made several years ago and thought someone might be interested in seeing it. On the inside is an $8 accent light from Lowe's for the heat source. I plugged it into a dimmer switch (the most expensive part of this project). The first one I made, I cut the hole in the bucket with a knife. Using a hollow door drill is much easier and safer. The bowl is $5 at WalMart. If you have a 5 gallon bucket already, you are into this less than $20. Not great, but the price is right. I used it (actually several of them) for years especially when teaching classes with sparse facilities. You have to watch white chocolate carefully as it will tend to burn. It is slow, but if you plan ahead, it works fine. I used a dinner plate for a lid.
  16. Kerry's liquid caramel is wonderful and keeps forever.
  17. Yup ← Kerry, do you really put down the foot before pouring the ganache or am I reading this wrong?
  18. I have a sample of Novacart's square cups. They are cute with stripes, but the smallest size is 1 3/8". That is a bit too large for me. They have an adorable boat shaped cup, but it is either too small or too large, nothing in between. I can't remember the pricing, but it seems like it was 3 or 4 times the cost of traditional cups.
  19. I have used dental floss successfully to cut layers evenly. Just line up the floss and when you are satisfied, cross the ends and pull.
  20. After spending the week in chocolate, I have come to the conclusion that cloth towels are the best way to go for me. I bought a BIG bag of them at Costco, washed and bleached them. I grab them all the time while working in chocolate. I used to go through a lot of paper towels. I can use one cloth towel to clean 20 mold trays. I would go through a lot of paper towels to do the same job. I just toss them in the washer with bleach, and don't worry if the stains come out. It also has to be better for the environment than paper.
  21. Make my pecan brittle. RUTH’S PECAN BRITTLE 4 cups pecan pieces ¼ cup whipping cream ¼ cup light corn syrup ¼ cup water 1 cup sugar ¼ cup butter ½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon vanilla Butter a half-sheet pan; set aside. Preheat oven to 200*. Place pecans in a 9 x 13 baking pan. Keep warm in oven while candy is cooking. In a heavy 2-quart saucepan, combine cream, corn syrup, water and sugar. Place over medium-high heat and stir with a wooden spoon until mixture comes to a boil If sugar crystals are present, wash down with a wet pastry brush. Cook to 285* Remove from heat. Stir in butter. Continue cooking to 270* Stir in salt, soda and vanilla. Add warm pecans. Stir to coat nuts. Pour onto prepared baking sheet. Using 2 forks, and working quickly, separate brittle into fairly large pieces. Allow to cool completely. Store in airtight containers.
  22. Chocolot


    I think that might be the problem. Some of the shells were so thin they broke. I'll try making them a bit thicker. Thanks.
  23. Yesterday, I unmolded 20 trays. Some of them (the ones I really like) just softly plopped out--it was a joy to behold. Then some of the others needed a lot more help. I had to refrigerate and then beat them until I thought the mold police would arrest me for abuse! Does ayone else have this problem? I think the chocolate is in temper-after all, some of them plopped. All of them looked great once they were out. I clean the molds and polish with cotton balls religiously. I never wash them. It didn't seem to matter the design-some plopped and some didn't. I think I treated all of them equally when shelling and filling. Do you ever get to the point that they ALL plop? Someone please give me hope.
  24. Check out the Martha Stewart video with Heston Blumenthal linked above in a previous post... he did it with the dry ice, but it didn't seem like he carbonated the ice cream - Martha and some other guy (maybe the producer?) both said it was really smooth textured, but no once commented on a fizzy feeling... it didn't seem like he added that much - and he didn't add it all at once either - he started the mixer then added a spoonful, the another spoonful, then another until he thought it looked right... Another thing Blumenthal mentions in the recipe attached to the video is that the base should be chilled in the refrigerator before freezing with the dry ice... maybe that would keep it from getting to fizzy??? I'm going to try to do a test this weekend - will post how it goes... ← People around here are always making home made root beer for large gatherings and putting in the dry ice to cool and fizz it. No one ever thought about it not being food grade. Also, there is a commercial ice cream guy that goes around to parties and makes ice cream on the spot with Liq N. He stirs it up and flavors it in front of the guests. I have had it and it is very smooth. Here is his website.http://www.subzeroicecream.com/
  25. Have you checked into Colorado's cottage Food rule? I'm not sure what they call it, but you have one. You can make candy in your home with a home kitchen. You have to be inspected and have all your permits, but you don't need a commercial kitchen. Utah and Colorado are 2 states that I know have it.
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