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Posts posted by tammylc

  1. I wish there were a way to put this so that I didn't look like quite such an unthinking beginner...but so be it.

    I don't have the Wybauw book, but I did photocopy a few pages, including p.120, 'Ganache as a basic cream'.  I set out to try it, and soon realized that I didn't have the quantities called for.  I halved it, halved it again and then .66% it and finally had enough stuff to start.

    Because the recipes in the books make so much, I always start off by putting the recipe into a spreadsheet, and calculating the percentages of each ingredient. Then whenever i want to make that recipe, I can just decide exactly how many grams of the finished product I want, and scale the recipe to exactly that amount. For example:

    A B

    1 Cream 100

    2 Chocolate 200

    3 Glucose 20

    4 Total 320

    And then I add a column to calculate the percentages:

    A B C

    1 Cream 100 31%

    2 Chocolate 200 63%

    3 Glucose 20 6%

    4 Total 320

    Then you want to replace all the calculations with the actual number you generated (paste special>values is the quick trick Excel).

    At this point you can just look at your percentages and multiply in your head - if you want 100 grams of ganache, you can just use the percentages. For 200 grams, you'd multiply by 2, etc. [1] Or, if you want to be able to customize to any amount, then you can replace the ingredient amounts with a formula that calculates how much you need.

    so it looks like this -

    A B C

    1 Cream B4*C1 31%

    2 Chocolate B4*C2 63%

    3 Glucose B4*C3 6%

    4 Total enter your desired quantity here

    This probably seems really complicated if you're not used to using Excel, but it's actually a really easy formula to setup, and is really useful for ganache recipes that have a lot of ingredients in them (unlike my quick little example here).

    [1] Note that if the recipe you're using already has percentages in it, you can use this same trick to easily scale down the batch - just multiply up from the percentage to the finished amount you want, rather than halving or quartering ingredient amounts.

  2. I'm cooking a big batch of risotto today. Not nearly as large as Nancy's - I'm only aiming to feed 36 people. There's no buffet line - bowls will go out to tables family style, so I don't have to be concerned about it getting gluey in a chafing dish. But I do have a time that I need it to be ready for, so getting the timing right is going to be a trick. Any advice on how long it will take to cook? I'm planning on 10 cups of rice, assuming one cup will feed four as a side dish. I'm thinking I should do it in two pots, with 5 cups in each. Does that sound right?

    Making in advance tricks aren't really going to work for me given the time constraints on my cooking, so while I know the trick for spreading partially cooked out on sheet pans, that's not particularly useful for me today.


  3. I wonder if because of their size they need more time to cool, or need to be refrigerated or otherwise chilled down? The cloudiness you're describing makes me think of cooling marks, and it sounds like these are pretty large eggs.

    I think you'll definitely want a thicker shell for larger pieces - it may be your shell isn't thick enough to contract enough to get out of the mold?

  4. I added a similar reply to the Chocolates with the Showroom finish thread, but was wondering if anyone has had any experience using the Interference Colors that Tomric has on their website?

    From looking at them I don't think they're any different from the pearl powders, lustre dust etc that people describe in this thread. Chef Rubber sells FDA approved pearl powder in smaller quantities (ie. smaller prices) than on the Tomric site.

  5. I make a Twix-like candy bar. I use the cookie recipe from here, and then use my own caramel to top them. I don't do a chocolate layer between the caramel and the cookie, and had no problems at all with moisture migration. But I'm using a slightly firmer caramel than on a typical twix. I actually make these with a chipotle caramel, and dip in milk chocolate - it's delightful!

    I am interested in the addition of chili to food where it might not be expected. This is certainly one! What other types of goodies do you add it to?

    I make a chipotle dark chocolate truffle as well, and i'm working on an ancho-chile & cinnamon hot fudge sauce.

  6. I make a Twix-like candy bar. I use the cookie recipe from here, and then use my own caramel to top them. I don't do a chocolate layer between the caramel and the cookie, and had no problems at all with moisture migration. But I'm using a slightly firmer caramel than on a typical twix. I actually make these with a chipotle caramel, and dip in milk chocolate - it's delightful!

  7. I do truffle-making workshops for groups of 4-8. They're totally hands on - make ganache, temper chocolate, dip and decorate prepared centers. They leave with 24 finished pieces, and a bit of ganache to do something with the next day. I charge $55/person. They usually last about 90 minutes to 2 hours, but there's a few hours of prep time (and material cost) in making the centers, etc.

    I don't do a lot of them, maybe twice a year, although I wouldn't mind doing more - as you say, the profit margin is pretty good!

  8. I looked at the previous posts relating to canned air and emailed Badger to see what they have to say.   I just want to know what in the propellant is not "food safe".  Like I said before, the science background is catching up with me and I get obsessive about these things.  From what I can find out, the tests have probably not been done (or published) to evaluate our use of the propellants, so it's probably best not to use them.  Inhalation is definitely a bad idea, though and enough reason to switch to a compressor.

    The other issue that we have raised before and must be considered is the safety of aerosolized coloured cocoa butter. Given the amount of aerosol produced by the little Badger - a particle mask would be an excellent idea.

    Agreed. When I started blowing my nose in technicolor, I figured out that I probably didn't want to be breathing this stuff in! :biggrin: Also coats my glasses, which i'll often not notice until the next morning, when I'm wondering why everything's so blurry...

  9. Thanks for all the advice. Gave it another shot tonight with equally poor results. The only thing I can think is happening is that the cocoa butter is clogging the tip almost immediately when the cold air hits it.

    Are you using a compressor or canned air? If using canned air, it gets very cold and can cause clogging problems.

    Ah yes, this is a significant problem. Try putting the can in a bowl of warm water to keep it from freezing up too quickly.

  10. Thanks, but the cocoa butter was very liquid and I hit the nozzle and the jar of butter with a hair dryer on high a couple of times.

    Did you check the adjustment of the paint tip on the airbrush? I've had times when nothing was coming out, but if I played with the height of the paint tip I could get it flowing.

    The right height is definitely important.

    I've also had a time or two where a bit of cocoa butter has gotten jammed not in the part of the airbrush where the air comes out - that can be really tricky to clear, but completely blocks the airflow so it doesn't work.

    Sometimes if I'm having trouble with the tip, then the cocoa butter will thicken up in the tube, and i'll have to rinse everything out in the gun part to get it going again.

  11. So I made an attempt this weekend at using an airbrush to spray colored cocoa butter into some molds. I've nver used an airbrush before. It was a complete failure. After an initial thin spray, the butter stopped coming out altogether. The nozzle did not seem clogged an I cleaned it several times with a pin anyway. This was one fo the cheap Badger airbrushes referenced ealrier in the thread. Is there anything obvious I am doing wrong?

    Your cocoa butter probably needed to be warmer. You want it quite liquid for best airbrushing.

  12. What proportions are you using in your truffles? Have you done any shelf life testing? Most truffles that don't have really soft centers or high proportions of liquid ingredients will have about a 3 week shelf life. Using glucose syrup or invert sugar in your centers also helps to bind water and extend shelf life. Because I do one big production weekend for my sales, and have to allow time for shipping, I usually end up making my chocolates a week to 10 days before the holiday they're aimed at, and I just mark the boxes with a best before date that allows for the 3 week shelf life.

    Freezing is certainly an option, but if you're talking about having to start a week early instead of just a couple of days, I'm not sure it would be worth your time - the freezing process takes multiple days going in and coming out of the freezer anyway...

  13. I'm still trying to get the hang of airbrushing.  I tried out using an angle when airbrushing to get two tone chocolates, but I guess that the angle was too steep.  I ended up with one color on one side and the other on the other side.  And then when I put a layer of white in back, I ended up with a white stripe down the middle!  On top of that the orange cocoa butter was much thinner than I expected when I sprayed it and it started to pool in the bottom of the mold. I guess that it was probably too hot.  Kind of an interesting effect, though.  This is obviously going to take a lot of practice!

    The green ones were just green backed by white.

    Sorry about the over exposed picture.  Photos of my work are not my strong point!

    I have to agree with everyone else - these look great! My experience with decorating molds is that it's really hard to get any kind of exact or precise effect, and that whatever you end up with almost always looks great.

  14. agree that closeups are always appreciated!

    Thanks for the description of the technique.   Changing the angle of the mold  seems so obvious after you mention it!

    Question on the red/orange ones.  To get the red/orange to 'show' through, do you find you have to put a really heavy layer of cocoa butter?  Assuming dark chocolate,  I always end up spraying or painting white cocoa butter behind my reds/yellows to get the color layer to show up.  but maybe I'm missing a trick.

    I don't know how it would work with spraying, but when I finger-paint moulds in yellows/greens etc and then back off with dark, I always mix a bit of white chocolate into the coloured cocoa butter to help make the colour stand out a bit more. Like I said though, I'm not sure how that would work when you are spraying.

    I usually add a little bit of white cocoa butter to my dark colors to help them stand out against the dark chocolate. (For both spraying and other techniques)

  15. My experiments with maple syrup caramel all resulted in a crystallized mess. I think maple syrup is quite prone to crystallization, sadly, and that's probably what you're picking up. I'd also be interested in any potential solutions...

  16. Wow - sorry to hear that about your holiday sales, Anna!

    I'm not Randi, but if we're reporting on sales here... I had a good year, up 30% over last year, mostly thanks to a few people who basically did all their holiday shopping with me.

    Another thing I did that impacted sales was to diversify my offerings. Last Christmas I made my usual filled chocolates and peppermint marshmallows. This year I did both of those, plus two kinds of bark and hot fudge sauce. So a lot of people who would have usually ordered just a box instead ordered a box and something. And a I sold a bunch of "Taste of Tammy's Tastings" combos, with one of everything. The new items were lower cost and lower markup than my chocolates, but also a lot less labor, so while my food costs are up, I was able to generate more net income for my time.

  17. You rock Kerry. I've never even considered making my own gianduja. All that skinning hazelnuts... :blink:

    I am lucky to have a convenient source of blanched hazelnuts. That makes making hazelnut anything so much nicer!

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