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  1. I finally took a moment to dig back and figure out why I thought I could use a refractometer to make caramels. I just assumed so. No one recommended it. So maybe the reason it doesn't work for me it that it doesn't work, period. Now I have to figure out why. Since I don't really know how to use a refractometer at all, maybe I'll start by using it for something it should work for and see where we go from there. I'll see if my Thermpen gives the results I'm looking for, too. Thanks.
  2. My problem exactly. I do find the water test more helpful than temperature, but it takes so long to get a result that I don't know how one can ever get it just right. I went so far as to get a refractometer, but I've never used it. By the time I've cleaned it from test one, the answer to test two is "burnt". Anyone have a technique that works around this?
  3. Looks ace, of course! How are you panning? Hand, or mechanism?
  4. Missed you too, and the conference - it was thinking of you that finally made me get off my bum and at least post. My twin sons turn 18 in a month, and I confess I wasn't prepared for the degree to which the demands on my time and funds would increase. Whenever I squeezed in a confectionery session for most of this year I ended up without time to organize my thoughts before haring off to the next thing. Someday I shall return!
  5. Latest test model. I figured that the open sides really chilled the probe and 1/3 pan more than I thought likely, so added insulation - blue foam wrapped in foil. Heat deformed the foam somewhat, but the results were good - center temp between 1 and 4 degrees C over setpoint, depending on time in the heat/cool cycle. When set to hold, center was steady at 2 degrees over setpoint with less than 1 degree C variance. Made bourbon cordial cherries with it, still setting up. Note: moulding fondant around a small, pitted, wet cherry does not result in a better or easier piece than dipping in melted fondant. They're both pretty tedious and subject to fault, at least when I do it, but I really like the flavor better than the firm candied cherries.
  6. My favorite recent project: a precise chocolate warmer on a budget. Still in testing; this is the first attempt: Total parts cost $50.00. Note the genuine thrift shop Revere warming tray (as used by Kerry Beal!) I can't believe I found one. Water for this test as I wasn't ready to risk chocolate. Two short tests later shows it rigged for dipping. It worked, and the extra hot pad space kept my spat ready to go. Though it kept the chocolate within 1 degree C of center point, the difference between the real center and set point grew as the level of chocolate fell - and the chocolate was warmer than the probe. I nearly lost the last bit. This year's Easter production came entirely from the warmer.
  7. Torrone: and Marzipan squares: Art show opening at a beer and wine shop
  8. Beginning a post binge. These aren't exactly "lately"; my first public sale last November: Before going to the venue, clockwise from top: Irish Cream fudge, Cappuccino Truffles, Raspberry rustic truffles, white chocolate amaretto chocolate shortbread sandwiches. Candy on the sale table Wide shot. My wife makes the beautiful cookies.
  9. I'll second that. I use mine almost exclusively.
  10. Lovely work and presentation, as always, minas6907! Congratulations on candies and wedding. Extra special thanks for carrying the non-chocolate confections banner. I know chocolates are the sexy, and there's a whole lot they can do, but really well made taffy or marshmallow or fudge can be even harder to get.
  11. No starch mold for either type of cherry - I followed Grewling's method, heating the fondant to liquid in a bain-marie and dipping. Stems make that process a whole lot easier. Thanks for the marzipan compliment. I was very happy with the final product, particularly the texture, and it wasn't nearly so difficult as I feared to make them.
  12. Glad I could share ! This was a piped butter ganache, so I made them all in one go, about 3.5 hours start to finish, and the song just kept coming back, alternating with the Australian philosophy song.
  13. A bit of catch-up (not ketchup; I haven't made that ganache since workshop 2013).... Bourbon Sour Cherry Cordials: They turned out very liquid. Next time I'll wrap room-temperature fondant rather than dip in liquified; I think my layer was too thin. Also, dipping stemless is a right pain. Oktoberfest Marzipan, from scratch: I had trouble leaving fork marks on the sides of each piece. Chocolate too viscous, maybe? I also want whatever knife they used to cut the chocolates in Grewling's book. Looks like I used a cleaver! These are Lumberjacks, and they're OK: Maple and smoked sea salt ganache in semi-dark chocolate, sprinkled with turbinado.
  14. I made it myself. It does some things, like this kind of frame, better than traditional rulers, but you can't use it to roll out to even thickness. It's what mould-makers call a "clinker box". I didn't even know that until after I made it B-}= It's very simple to make. I got Aluminum Angle from OnlineMetals.com https://www.onlinemetals.com/merchant.cfm?id=63&step=2&top_cat=60 6063-T52 ALUMINUM ANGLE 1-1/2 X 1-1/2 X 1/8" ALUM ANGL 6063-T52 Two Ft. (24") Length 3 piece(s) Cut it to length, cut short pieces for the clamp tabs, and fixed them in place with JB Weld metal adhesive, taking care that no adhesive spread to the food contact surface, as I don't know it's food safety.
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