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Jim D.

society donor
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About Jim D.

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  • Website URL
    www.santiagochocolates.com

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  • Location
    Staunton, Virginia

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  1. Jim D.

    What to fill in a Bon Bon?

    I would suggest that you obtain Peter Greweling's Chocolates and Confections and/or Ewald Notter's Art of the Chocolatier. Both have lots of recipes as well as basic discussion of the various fillings available to the chocolatier, shelf life, problems and how to fix them, etc. In addition, this eGullet thread and this one will give you lots of ideas. There are many other helpful posts on eGullet in various threads when you have time to browse.
  2. Here it is on Pastry Chef (it's a large quantity, but it lasts forever). I've done some more looking online, and aside from L'Epicérie and the Amazon link you gave, that's the only source I can find.
  3. I have used Pastry Chef for larger amounts, Chef Rubber for smaller, and (most often) L'Epicérie. "Pouring" fondant is what you are looking for. If you have freezer space to spare, larger amounts will save you money, but unless you produce a lot, you need smaller containers into which to put them for freezing.
  4. Considering that on beanilla.com, the same vanilla beans are $9.95 each, that is an amazing bargain. The test will be how moist they are since (as is obvious) there isn't much one can do with a dry vanilla bean. I just ordered two tiny containers of ground vanilla beans (no additives) from Beanilla to see if they measure up (I hate scraping vanilla beans).
  5. I'm going to give it a try--though nothing as complex as some of those designs of yours. Unfortunately for me the GUM device brings back bad memories of a dental hygienist I encountered once who was obsessed with making her patients use such a stimulator. I agree about taping. If there isn't bleeding under it, then tiny bits of the adjoining cocoa butter drift into (or get blown by the airbrush into) the stripe. PVC tape works the best. Of course, much depends on when the tape is removed.
  6. It is beautiful, but I would guess that "simplicity" refers to its final appearance more than the steps it took to get that appearance.
  7. @Artisanne, those are beautiful and elegant designs. Your eGullet name is richly deserved. I would bet the GUM stimulator company is wondering right now why it is experiencing a sudden upsurge in sales!
  8. Jim D.

    Troubleshooting Caramels

    It makes sense that cooking the caramel longer (with the addition of a little water as necessary) would darken the color and increase the caramel flavor, but does the baking soda add more caramel flavor or does it just darken the color and thus is a "cosmetic" effect?
  9. Jim D.

    Troubleshooting Caramels

    My first reaction to this idea was to wonder how I would cope with the sudden changes sometimes required in caramel making. When, for example, the caramel temp goes high too quickly, I remove it from the heat for a little while and turn down the gas a bit. I can't imagine that the Presto cooker temp would drop that quickly. I suppose if it's not too heavy, I could take it off the heat the same way. How quickly does the temp control respond to a change? Or do you use it more or less as a regular pot without too much attention to its temp controls?
  10. That is interesting because I thought that in order to get the spreading of the cocoa butter/chocolate to make the dendrite, whatever is used for the "stamp" had to come into close contact with the cavity wall (as an artist might make a dendrite by pressing two sheets of glass together with paint between them).
  11. Jim D.

    Troubleshooting Caramels

    Thanks for that suggestion. I didn't know you are a former chocolatier. When did you come to your senses and get out of the business?
  12. I used the same thing, and with the first clay "stamp" I used, the stick came out after just a few times. After that, I removed the stamp from the cavity with the aid of a small knife inserted slightly into the side of the clay, and that solved the problem.
  13. Jim D.

    Troubleshooting Caramels

    In continuing my quest to become adept at making caramel, I think the next step is finding the right pot. I have Rose Levy Beranbaum's caramel pot, which is fairly tall and narrow--ideal for making small batches, but I question whether it really qualifies as the heavy pot caramel requires (it is really quite lightweight, tipping over easily, and I am surprised that she would put her name on it). In any event, as I make larger batches, it is definitely not large enough. My next size up is an old Le Creuset pot. It certainly qualifies as heavy and works well for medium batches. But as I discovered yesterday in making Peter Greweling's Soft Caramel, it is not large enough when the foaming starts. My largest pot is a "ceramic nonstick" Greenpan, but it too is not heavy. So what do people recommend for fairly large batches of caramel? I suspect a Le Creuset of adequate size might require a bank loan, so perhaps something else?
  14. Jim D.

    Troubleshooting Caramels

    Bob, thanks for that insight. I know you have a lot of experience cooking caramel.
  15. If you would like to pick up a substantial amount of $$, bring some of those frogs to Staunton for the "Harry Potter" festival the weekend after next. I'm told that last year parents were seen handing over major amounts of cash for all sorts of junk, including some jelly frogs. Imagine what they would pay for a chocolate one! Apparently they play a role in the Potter books.
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