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Jim D.

society donor
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    Staunton, Virginia

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  1. @heidih, you certainly brought back memories. My Aunt Polly, a "home economics" (as it was called then) teacher, and I made that recipe from that same cookbook as our first "gourmet" effort together. I learned so much at her side over the years. I can still remember finding a proper wooden board to hold the baked Alaska, soaking it in water so that it wouldn't burn, then putting the dessert into the oven, never believing for one second that the ice cream wouldn't melt. Guests were in awe--and so were the bakers!
  2. As I write this, I have just finished using my Delta, so everything is fresh in my mind. I can provide what I have learned over many batches made with the machine. I heat my chocolate to somewhere in the 110-115 range. I do it overnight in a dehydrator before using the Delta, so it is ready to be poured into the machine. Before I had the dehydrator, I melted the chocolate in a large bowl in the microwave. Either of those methods will speed the melting process along. But before melting, I remove 250-300g of the chocolate and set it aside (small pieces work best). You are right that one dr
  3. I temper with silk from the EZtemper and test each time before spraying.
  4. I also continue to try to find the "right" procedure, while having the suspicion that there may not be a right way. I dutifully temper the cocoa butter and test it before use. I do not work in an especially cold space. I think one factor that has not been mentioned is humidity, and I often wonder if that is important. It will always be a mystery to me: In a recent batch, most bonbons released with no issues, but some (far too many for my sanity) left cocoa butter behind in the molds. I can't think of any sensible explanation for these erratic results. The adjoining cavities were washed,
  5. I'm inclined to think the temp has more to do with it. There are professional chocolatiers with shiny bonbons who don't use alcohol (in one case I know of, the molds are not washed at all between uses). Dubovik does not use alcohol, and his bonbons are blinding (so to speak). On the other hand, as much as I admire your stamina, when I translated 18C into 64.4F, I knew I would need to continue sacrificing some shininess--it's difficult to make chocolates in an overcoat!
  6. Thanks for checking. I think it would be fine. Melissa's info is available on a Cacao Barry site, and Wybauw's in his books. Is this FB group open to those interested in chocolate?
  7. The Art of the Chocolatier. The other book you mention was authored by Peter Greweling.
  8. How fine were the cookie bits and how did you manage to pipe them while still leaving them large enough to have crunch? That's the question!
  9. I used ground graham crackers for my experiment (totally ground). The issue with leaving "bigger than sand" pieces is that they won't pass through the tip of a piping bag (and if you cut the opening to be larger, it's impossible to pipe without making a huge mess).
  10. You bring up the issue I encountered when I tried to make a pipeable cookie layer (rather than inserting an actual cookie and surrounding it with something to keep it crisp). I ground up cookies and added chocolate (I tried various chocolates as well as cocoa butter), and it worked in terms of being pipeable and being much better at filling up the cavity without leaving gaps, BUT the layer was no longer crisp. I know of a chocolatier who regularly makes a pipeable layer of ground graham crackers for a cheesecake bonbon, but I had no success with it at all.
  11. That's what I was assuming. Here gingerbread is a soft cake.
  12. Sounds very good. If you don't mind, I have more questions: What made the third layer crispy? Did you use something like gingersnaps ground up or ... ?
  13. @Rajala, tell us what the layers are in the gingerbread filling.
  14. @Muscadelle, beautiful but I am confused. Does the color come from the "highlighter dust" or do you also spray with metallic cocoa butter? And can you explain what the dust is, some sort of luster dust?
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