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Everything posted by psantucc

  1. I've just had an idea for the Saturday night business discussion which parallels the Friday night 'showoff your work'. We could bring samples of the local competition to share as an illustration of the environment in which we each work. I might have had the idea because my local area is just large enough to have local candymakers, but not so big that I can't afford to supply samples, so I certainly won't be offended if it doesn't sound like a good idea to others. I thought it better to mention the thought now than to show up with a few pounds of Bon-Bons that I don't really like B-}=.
  2. I'm glad to see the agenda shaping up; I think it looks fine, except that I would like to be in both the concurrent Saturday sessions. I suspect that will be a common sentiment in this group, but I don't see any way to improve it. It isn't a problem, either. I've got the time off I need from my day job, so I'm a definite 'yes' on attendance and will be paying soon.
  3. Certainly. I confess it never occurred to me to look for a standard conversion; When I made the batch specifically to test the recipe and check the volume to weight conversion, I just weighed the two egg whites I had separated. I got 107g, and rounded down for convenience. When I make it I just pick the two biggest eggs I have to hand and don't bother to weigh, but I might have to edit the recipe. We get our eggs from a small farm and they do tend to be bigger than most I see in supermarkets. Since I've made the recipe about 10 times and only weighed once, I can only guess the exact amount of egg white isn't critical, but I should probably mention that in the recipe. Do you think the notation "2-3 egg whites (100g)" or "2 large egg whites (100g)" would be clearer? You're most welcome. Please tell me how it turns out for you, and how much egg white went in.
  4. Many thanks to those who praised my previous post. I've been inspired by some of the lovely things I've seen here, but all my pre-Christmas treat making time has been taken up by stuff already planned; I may have to do some post-holiday experimenting. I've had enough time to post the Torrone recipe to recipeGullet - Follow this link. If you make it, please send me a message to let me know if it turned out well for you, or if I can offer tips beyond those in the recipe. I haven't been able to transcribe the Irish Cream fudge yet; I can type anything at work and it looks like work, but having an open Candymaking book on my lap does not. I haven't forgotten. In my not-at-work time, I've been making these: Coconut Bon-Bons (Kendrick and Atkinson recipe) Chili-Lime Caramels (my recipe, still under development) Cappuccino Truffles (my recipe) Bourbon Truffles (Gourmet Magazine recipe) Black Walnut Apple Caramels and Raspberry-Chambord Truffles (my recipes) Trust me, I'm a better confectioner than photographer - they look nicer in person and taste better than they look. Only pralines and marshmallows left to go!
  5. My own recipe, though influenced by many sources. Santucci's Practical Torrone (Christmas Nougat) 180g honey (½ cup) 100g egg whites (2 eggs) 350g sugar (1 ½ cups) 50g water (2 tablespoons) 450g (1 pound) roasted nuts 5-10 drops orange oil 2 sheets (8 ½” x 11”) Ostia (aka wafer, edible paper) Combine honey, water, and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to the boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Skim foam (if any is seen) off the honey when it reaches the boil. In a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Cook the honey mixture to 280° F (137° C). Remove from the heat. With the mixer on high speed, slowly pour the mixture into the egg whites. Continue to whisk until volume has increased by about half and the mixture just starts to lose gloss – only about 5 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed and add the orange oil and nuts. When they are thoroughly mixed in, spread the resulting nougat over a sheet of Ostia. Try to cover the sheet as evenly as possible- the nougat is sticky and will make things difficult. When it is evenly covered, top with the other sheet of Ostia. Leave to cool and crystallize completely in the open air before cutting, preferably overnight. Note: I call this 'practical' Torrone because the recipe is made for home confectioners of reasonable skill to be able to easily understand what and how much to buy and what to do with it. The ingredient portions are biased for my country, the USA, but I saw no point in using English ounces for the weight-based version – those of us who prefer weight generally prefer it in grams. Tips and tricks: 1.Keep nuts in a warm oven ( about 150° F / 65° C ) until you add them. Adding room temperature or colder nuts will reduce working time. 2.Getting the nougat spread between sheets of Ostia is the trickiest part of the process. I use buttered caramel rulers on the outside edges of the bottom sheet, pour and press nougat in place, and then press the top layer on with an offset spatula. If you don't have caramel rulers, try spreading the nougat with an offset spatula, topping with the other sheet, and rolling with a pin to smooth. I advise against trying to cast the slab in any kind of fixed side pan, as the stickiness will make it very difficult to remove. 3.Score the top layer of Ostia before cutting through. Once scored, a straight down cut with a Chef's knife works well. Cut into six 8 1/2” long bars and wrap in parchment or waxed paper to store, then cut into smaller rectangles to serve. 4.There are many possible alternate flavorings. 1-10 Lemon oil or 1 t. (5 ml) vanilla or almond extract work well and are traditional flavors. Candied orange peel and/or orange zest can also be added. 5.I use half pistachio and half almonds as the nuts. Hazelnuts (filberts) are also traditional. Any common nut should work. 6.Ostia is available from confectionery suppliers. I get 8-1/2” x 11” sheets from www.sugarcraft.com under the name 'wafer paper'. This recipe is copyright 2009 by Patrick J. Santucci. Contact the author on eGullet under the username psantucc.
  6. Thanks, Darienne! Though I say it myself, I think it tastes even better. Too bad we can't download flavors... I'm willing, but lazy - the recipe exists only as a note in my copy of Kendrick and Atkinson's Candymaking. If you happen to have a copy, use the Golden fudge recipe and swap heavy cream for the water and Irish Cream for the cream. It's well worth buying if you don't have a copy, especially if you are a beginning confectioner. Amazon has it here. If I can scrape a few minutes I'll transcribe it here, along with my preferred post-cooking treatment. I like to play with my fudge like the tourist places do rather than just let it set overnight. Pat
  7. Two so far ready to photograph - Irish Cream Fudge: And for the first time, Torrone - I finally got my recipe to the point I wanted: Truffles and caramels yet to come!
  8. The Gimlet is also my 'safe' choice when drinking in bars I don't much respect, such as casinos and rapid-service family restaurants. Unlike a Martini or Manhattan, if I specify that I want Gin in it I generally get a cocktail I can enjoy. I'd like to try the JAZ version, though - I've got a bottle of Plymouth looking for friends.
  9. Another topic request for your consideration: Basic Pulled Sugar I've never quite managed the right combination of heating, holding, and cooling to pull off (sorry) even something as simple as Candy Canes. I think it's an area of study best done live. Does anyone else feel weak in this area?
  10. I've mostly used Trader Joe's 'Pound Plus', but haven't been very happy with it as couverture - entirely possible that it is weakness in my technique rather than the chocolate. Nonetheless, it's easy for me to bring some, and I like the flavour very well.
  11. I'd love to learn more about using formulas to predict the effects of differing ingredients, humidities, and time at temperature on finished candy, particularly for high-cooked sweets - though I'm also interested in similar qualities for ganache. As a corollary, perhaps a brief guide to understanding figures that come from suppliers, such as viscosity ratings. I also support all the prior topic suggestions. And all the ones from the last conference. Greedy, that's me! Pat
  12. Please move me to the 'yes' list. I can bring my 'Sinsation' temperer (roughly the same as a Revolation 2). Thank you for organizing!
  13. Thanks for sticking with and taking the time to verify. It was a digit transposition - I-1387 is pretty small, I-1378 is the one similar to a standard Reece's cup. I think these are Chocolate World numbers - they are consistent between Chocolat-Chocolat and Tomric web sites. I've taken Kerry's fundamental advice to heart, too - it is easy to mislead oneself as to what the mold one is ordering will look like in person. I suspect I'll get better as I order more, but as a newcomer to the market I wish I were seeing photos of both mold and product with a familiar object for scale on seller's web sites. But for now, I've found my peanut butter and mallow cup mold, and I thank you all for your help! Pat
  14. Curiouser and Curiouser. I'd place a small bet that the Tomric link I posted is to the same Chocolate World mold being offered by Chocolat-Chocolat. It's the same model number and given dimensions, but that Tomic have not listed the weight. Darienne, are you sure this is the same mold you have that's only 1.18" diameter? That's only about 30mm, 20 less than advertised. I'm getting confused. Pat
  15. Of course - thanks for the offer. A 'standard' Reese's cup is 50 mm upper diameter, 40 mm bottom diameter, 13 mm depth at the centre - officially it weighs 3/4 oz, or about 20g; of course, that's mostly peanut butter. Pat
  16. Judging size certainly is tough! The Tomric catalog says I-1378 is 50mm (1.96 ") x 16 mm - assuming that's diameter x depth, it's actually bigger than a Reece's (see next post B-}) but 11g is about half the weight... and the Tomric catalog doesn't give a weight. Arrgh. Thanks for the tip. Pat
  17. Chocosphere! That was the one I couldn't remember! I've had quantity problems because I was only shopping manufacturer's websites - El Rey and several others will sell direct, but in 5kg minimums. I bet I can go a long way on this tip. Thanks very much. Pat
  18. I have problems with too thick a coating and too big a foot- fairly sloppy looking. I don't know the cocoa percentage. The stuff I have been using isn't sold as couverture; it's meant to be eaten as candy and doesn't offer the figure on the label. If I had to guess I'd say the milk I've used is about 40% and the bittersweet about 60%, based solely on flavor. I have never added cocoa butter, shortening, or any other substance. I do temper the chocolate. My centers are room temperature when I dip them. I've tried both fork and literal hand dipping, and had better luck with my hands.
  19. I understand perfectly - it was my 'real' jobs that made me miss last year's conference. I think I've got notifications set up now to allow me to get email when the topic is updated so I can relax. As far as topics go, my knowledge is spotty enough to benefit from almost anything. I'm concentrating right now on dipping technique. If I get some decent molds soon, I'll start working with them and see how much I really know and don't about that process. I bought a temperer when the process of trying to learn tempering by traditional means became too frustrating, so a loop back through that area might be fruitful. I'd love to do the bean-to-bar demo, too. I don't think there is any content whose presence or absence would make or break my decision to attend; I really want to do this! Pat
  20. I'm trying to get better at hand-dipping, and think part of the reason for my troubles may have been my choice of chocolate - Trader Joe's 'Pound Plus' bars, which I like for flavor, but which seem very high viscosity to me. I've seen a few topics here at eGullet that have left me confused as to my choice. I love the flavors of El Rey, but it seems to fare poorly here, and requires a greater quantity (and thus greater shipping cost) than I need. In my web searching, I found Chocoley: http://www.lusciouschocolate.com/realchocolate.htm Which seems to have chocolates that fit the bill, and flexible quantities. It looks too good to be true - do any of you have experience with them - or a favored alternative manufacturer with a supplier that will sell 5 lb. or so quantities?
  21. Been a while since the last update, and I very much don't want to miss this year's conference - is it still likely to happen? Nervous thanks- Pat
  22. I've come across this topic at an opportune moment. I'm making my Christmas list, and some proper molds are right up at the top! The hobby molds I've been using are limiting my technique. I've taken some of the notions previously posted - I know I want the JB Price Geodesic, and I've got some good leads on a squarish mold both at Price and Tomric. I really want a good peanut butter cup mold, a la Reece's. I haven't spotted one that seems right to me, having looked at BakeDeco, JB Price, Chocolat-Chocolat and Tomric. The closest I've seen is Tomric's: My linkhttp://www.tomric.com/ItemDetail.aspx?cmd=local&item=4060 If you have experience with that one, or a different favourite, please tell!
  23. Many years ago now, in my teens, I set out to make Cotton Candy with very strong flavours, as opposed to the vaguely fruity sweet which is all that makes it through most commercial sugars. What worked best for me at the time was making a batch of ordinary boiled sweet/hard candy/hard tack with about 50% more flavoring oil than I would want for usual purposes. I pulverized the batch in a food processor once it was cool, and mixed it 50/50 by volume with regular granulated sugar. This mix worked well in both a toy machine and my current Gold Medal Tornado, though it does reduce the life of the head (in the toy) and ribbons (in the pro machine). If you should try this method, airtight storage with a desiccant is necessary. Hard candy is quite amazingly hygroscopic. With the greater knowledge I have today, I believe I could get just as good a result by slowly tumbling sugar with the flavoring oil, introducing a little oil at a time to avoid clumping. I've seen references to old machines made by Gold Medal that do that very thing from the time before they introduced pre-flavored sugars. I haven't tried to do this yet... but am hoping to any time now. I also never went for a savory (at least not since I looked up the melting point of salt B-}+), but did manage a nice range of sours by sprinkling citric acid on the floss as it formed. Citric acid in the head will burn and turn very nasty indeed! Let me add to the list of powdered flavors finely shaved or crushed chocolate. One of my most popular flavours was a mint-chocolate chip with shaved chocolate sprinkled on the floss as it formed. Good luck with your experiments - you've inspired me to dig out the Tornado and try again!
  24. I bought one of the last 'Sinsation' models just after the change to the Revolation name at a closeout price - $250.00 shipped. For that price, it's been worth it. I've never had much skill at tempering, and this machine got me over the hump. It's very slow going, though - if I made chocolates more than a few times a year I'm sure I'd get frustrated with the pace and limits of a 1.5 # capacity, and if I'd had to pay list price I'm not sure I'd still consider it a bargain. I certainly wouldn't consider it for any sort of commercial production. That said, I've been using it for 4 years or so and not had any trouble, and with Lior's tip in this thread may well find new life in it.
  25. I've been puzzling over how one could possibly place molds on their sides to set chocolate, and finally realized I missed step 1: Don't use thin hobbyist molds! Maybe the face down on parchment technique will work for me until I give in and spring for some new toys...
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