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Jim D.

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Everything posted by Jim D.

  1. Jim D.

    Shortbread

    These go into a dome, so the curved bottom wouldn't hold the cookie. The appearance of the cookie doesn't really matter since it will be surrounded with gianduja (or a meltaway or chocolate); the issue is that it almost dissolves if it is too thin (and if it's too thick, it take up too much room in the cavity). Let me see if a photo makes it clearer: The crater at the left is the problem. The cookie gets too thin at that point. They work, but they could be better, and (I am discovering) if they are thicker, this issue doesn't happen as much. B
  2. Jim D.

    Shortbread

    I don't have that particular issue. I make shortbread cookies as inclusions in chocolates. They are about 3/4" in diameter. It's difficult to explain, but the bottoms often come out with indentations; the tops are fine, the bottoms are almost lacy in appearance. It doesn't happen with every one of them, and when I have leftovers (and the cook feels like a little shortbread reward), I cut the dough into larger pieces. With those, the bottoms are perfect. It has something to do with the size of the circle, but that makes no sense to me. I have posted this issue before and have tried all t
  3. Jim D.

    Shortbread

    @kriirk, earlier in this thread, in your discussion of the NYT shortbread recipe, you stated that one should not make rounds from it: "Please also note that low flour content means non-suitable for making 'rounds.'" Can you explain why this is true? I ask because I often make round cookies from shortbread and have had some difficulty with them and am always looking for a solution.
  4. I found this on Ecole Chocolat: And this:
  5. I am not so positive as pastrygirl about the opacity of the colored cocoa butters available. If they contain a great deal of white (identified--if you have an ingredient list--as titanium dioxide), they will be mostly opaque. This includes yellow, most blues, greens, and the metallic colors. Since I hate spraying that extra layer of white (which creates a huge amount of cocoa butter sprayed into the air), I am paying closer attention to which colors absolutely need the white. For example, I made a filling with orange flavoring and wanted the shell to be orange; I did not spray with white.
  6. Filling the cavities with colored cocoa butter would take an enormous amount of c.b., and the cost would be prohibitive; the layer of c.b. would probably be too thick, depending on its viscosity when you pour it in. The only alternative method I have ever found (to using an airbrush) is to use a fairly large paintbrush and brush in the color. Depending on one's ability, this usually leaves streaks as the c.b. tends to run and leave empty gaps in the colored shell.
  7. I have been buying from slofoodsgroup.com recently and have been satisfied with the quality. The Tahitian ones are especially fat and juicy. At the moment they have 25 Madagascar beans for $60 ($89 at beanilla.com).
  8. I sent the link to the confectionery course to my friend. I did also find that adding baking soda is a recognized way of encouraging the fudge to set.
  9. A question on fudge: A friend (who does not belong to eGullet) asked me the following question. I am posting it here for suggestions, as fudge is well beyond my knowledge and experience: One of the treats I made for Christmas was a white chocolate raspberry fudge. It was very easy to make, tasted good, but had a terrible, sticky, gooey consistency. I read that adding baking soda would thicken it and give it a more fudge-like consistency. Have you ever had a similar experience? What do you think about the baking soda suggestion? Thanks for any suggestions.
  10. Never having tried bacon in a chocolate, I must ask what texture the bacon has. Flabby (like undercooked bacon)? I would think crispy bits might make for an unpleasant experience--bacon can get very crispy. If I recall correctly, in previous chocolate-with-bacon discussions on eG, it was concluded that using the bacon fat is the best way to achieve the desired result.
  11. As has already been suggested in this thread, you must have oil-based colorants when working with chocolate. Water and cocoa butter don't mix (unless, of course, you are deliberately making an emulsion with them). I don't know what country you are in, but look for "oil-based" before you buy, regardless of whether it is pre-mixed colors or powder that you will mix with plain cocoa butter yourself. You also wrote about backing colors with white. Unfortunately, that is required with some colors, and you really know which ones only by experimenting. It often depends on how much tit
  12. I suppose buying your own cow would be too much trouble?
  13. Yes, similar, but it has more white chocolate (and no plain cocoa butter). I also add some dark rum.
  14. Sorry, didn't see this earlier. Wybauw has a banana and passion fruit caramel that (in my most recent measurement) ends up at .50 Aw. He uses cream plus banana and passion fruit in the caramel. The problem with it is that it is impossible to cook it to a usual caramel temp because it splatters so much and the banana tends to burn. So he calls for adding some white chocolate at the end, which eventually thickens the mixture. The butter tends to separate, but I mix the whole thing in a food processor, and it comes out beautifully and is delicious.
  15. With your expertise in all things baking, you will master this--but perhaps best at a slower time of year! As you already know, you will find all the help you need on eG on tempering chocolate. Chocolate always has its surprises, but once you "get" tempering, it will not seem so mysterious.
  16. You could get colored tissue paper, which might look a bit better. As you said you include a pad, which I do as well, I assume people will realize the extra paper is for protective reasons only and probably throw it away.
  17. I have had the same issue, so I add waxed paper (or similar flexible paper or bubble wrap will work) between the top of the chocolates and the pad. Chocolates are sturdier than they look, so I make sure I fill up the space as much as possible so that there is as little wiggle room for them as possible.
  18. That should work. If we really want to see what effect time has on Aw, I could take several samples just after the filling has been made, then put on the lids (yes, the tiny little cups come with tiny little lids) and test them over a period of days. An after-Christmas project.
  19. As Kerry pointed out, the machine cannot read the sample until the it and the sample are approximately the same temperature. It makes sense to me that the sample should be measured when it has crystallized, but, for a filling that eventually firms up quite a lot, it's very difficult to get it into the little cup if you wait, especially since the entire bottom of the cup is supposed to be covered for best results but there isn't supposed to be any of the sample at the top edge of the cup--in other words, the "target" area is quite restricted. I have no scientific evidence about this, but it s
  20. I was thinking of you but didn't want to reveal your inmost secrets on eG.
  21. Most people use an immersion blender to mix the cocoa butter with colorant. That's what I have done. It takes more effort than it might seem to get them mixed, so I'm wondering if the gentle action of the Chocovision bowl turning would accomplish that. Some people also strain the mixture afterward to get out any remaining lumps. If you use this method, be sure and have a deep container to prevent coloring your kitchen walls.
  22. So you didn't try the seed method? It's so much less messy. Or perhaps you enjoy playing with chocolate? 😄
  23. I agree with what Kerry wrote. I can't imagine a situation where you would need enough colored cocoa butter (of a single color) to use a Chocovision machine (recall that the machine needs extra to make sure the thermometer is covered at all times). You can just follow one of the usual methods of tempering chocolate: (1) raise the temp, then cool the c.b. down, then up again or (2) raise the temp, cool the c.b. down to around 93F/34C, then add seed (you could use fresh cocoa butter for that), then lower temp to 86F/30C, then test the c.b., you will have tempered c.b. Just don't let the temp
  24. These are not pro tips, just the way I temper a small amount of chocolate (standard procedure, I think). Here I'm speaking of dark chocolate (temps are, of course, a little different for milk or white). If I am using "used" chocolate, I melt it to over 43C to melt out all the crystals. Then I add some more chocolate (whether it's more used chocolate or new from the bag doesn't matter as any Type V crystals are going to be melted out--the purpose of this step is to cool down the chocolate as quickly as possible). When it is in the 35C area, I add the seed. It's easier if you have a block,
  25. Why not try using seed? Since it rarely (if ever) fails, at least it would restore your confidence. And it's so much less messy than tabling.
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