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Posts posted by tammylc

  1. These are for my husband. I've made in the past a kind of Wagon Wheel dessert treat. I take a slice of banana, stick a toothpick in it, wrap a flattened Kraft caramel around it, dip it in melted chocolate, and them roll/sprinkle with fine chopped peanuts.

    He loves them. They are a mess to make and don't come together easily at all.

    The banana won't stay on the toothpick. I've tried them "raw". frozen, and semi-frozen to no avail.

    The caramel won't stick to the banana. I've prgressed to sticking the caramel to the toothpick and sorta enclosing the banana inside. The caramel flattens ok but is sticky and odd shaped and hard to work with. One piece of caramel rarely is enough to enclose a slice so I have to get 2 pieces to stick. It's a nightmare.

    The chocolate dips ok but lots of times the whole mess falls into the chocolate. The peanuts stick fine.

    So... I was thinking there's got to be a better way! I was thinking what if I make caramel and pour it into a pan... either over a layer of bananas or pour it and then place the bananas on top. Let it set up. Cut into shapes around the banana slices, stick in a toothpick, and dip in chocolate/nuts.

    BUT... would the bananas and caramel stick together this way?? From my prior attemps with the wheels it seems that it's the banana juice that oozes out and prevent the caramel from sticking to the slice. Should I dust the slices with confectioner's sigar and/or cornstrch first?? Are there other tricks to make them stick together??

    All help is appreciated!

    Hmmm, if i were making these, i'd probably make caramel and pour it into caramel rulers or a lined pan. Let it cool, then spread the top with melted chocolate, and use that to adhere the banana slices to the caramel. Once that's set up, cut around the bananas (I wonder about a cookie cutter that's the right size - that could make it faster) and then dip in tempered chocolate and roll or sprinkle the nuts. You talk about using a toothpick - I'm guessing that's to keep it together and also as a dipping tool? Skip the toothpick and find some of the forum posts on dipping technique using a fork - you don't need to "spear" things to dip them (and get better results if you don't).

    I wouldn't pour the caramel over the bananas, or put the bananas on when the caramel is hot, as hot caramel is very hot, and would cook the bananas.

  2. This is really interesting. How do you think the Sumeet would work for making a praline paste? In Schotts, he makes a praline filling by caramelizing sugar and pouring it over toasted hazelnuts, then grinding in the food processor. It's good, but pretty sandy in texture. Would the Sumeet handle something like this, and generate smaller particles?

  3. I can take a trip down to his store (actually Anna and I will take a trip) and check out the true situation if you find you are unable to order it.  He's not open on Mondays and he's not the greatest at returning calls (he is a delightful fellow however) so try to call on a day when you might catch him in the store.

    I just ordered one. I didn't get any "out of stock" messages, just a note to allow 3 weeks for shipping. So I guess I'll let you know in 3 weeks...

    I'm excited to have a new toy to play with!

  4. gallery_34671_3115_13506.jpg

    So here is the final gianduja.  I tempered it by seeding.  It required cooling down to about 25º C. 

    This is a 500 gram bar mold, so it took a while to cool and as you can see acquired cooling marks on the top of the bar.  I thought that having added some random oil (I think it was sunflower) might interfere with the temper - but it seems OK. 

    It's interesting to see the eutectic effect of the different oils on the cocoa butter in the chocolate when you add the hazelnut paste to the melted chocolate.  It's like adding coconut oil to chocolate when you are making meltaways.  Melted chocolate that is fairly viscous suddenly becomes runny. 

    Anyway the texture is nice - not silky smooth, but not granular in any way.  This would be a perfectly acceptable gianduja for a product you want to sell.

    I forgot to mention - the proportions were about 350 grams of milk chocolate to about 150 grams of hazelnut paste.

    Kerry, thank you so much for such a thorough experiment. Your gianduja looks beautiful... I want some! It seems by what I read that the Sumeet Multi Grind isn't available anymore. I will call and ask to be sure. It seems like the Asia model is just a more complex and bigger unit that will do just as well as the Multi Grind. Would you have any idea of how a Vitamix would work for this purpose? It has a very powerful motor but I don't think it has the proper blades to get the smooth effect that the Sumeet gets. Thoughts anyone?


    The website Kerry linked to let me add the Multi Grind to my cart, although I didn't finish paying or anything. Where are you reading that it's not available?

  5. Tammy

    There are also several 3 day classes over the summer at the callebaut Academy in Chicago this summer at 1/2 the price ($580). You might also consider those.

    Thanks Mark. I've sent off a request for information.

  6. I am still doing it. Tonight, in fact, so I came back to the thread to look up an old meal that I'm re-running tonight. I rarely cook anything new these days - just rotate through a menu of staples and favorites, so I never feel inspired to update the thread!

    Tonight is pecan-crusted tilapia with brown butter sauce, cajun rice, and green salad. I mostly don't cook this one anymore because it's so labor intensive to fry all that fish. But cooking on the 23rd of December I figured people would be out of town and I'd have a small group, so it wouldn't be too bad, and that was indeed the case - only 29 diners (19 meat eaters, 3 vegetarians, and 7 kids).

  7. Another Wybauw class is coming up at the French Pastry School, and I'm trying to decide whether or not I should go. It's 4 days this time, and $1200, so it's not a casual decision. Is anyone else from eGullet thinking of going? Details are here:


    And, just as ChristopherMichael asked to start this thread, will it be worth it? Will I feel like I'm learning enough, or will I be bored? Any thoughts/opinions?

  8. From LeAnn's Bravo blog:
    The fridges had been overloaded with hot food the night before and one of them broke down. The problem was with Radhika, Hosea, and Melissa's food. After speaking with Liz, one of the exec producers, we saw that technically we could still give them 2 hours to do something before they had to get in a van to come to the ballroom. I told Angie that Radhika should use the leftover duck legs in the fridge, but Radhika didn't want to use the legs. I told her that the closest grocery store would probably only have chicken breasts, which she agreed to, so Angie and Peder ran out and came back with 20 lbs of chicken breast and 2 whole pork loins. It was the best they could do in Bushwick at the last minute. By the time they got back the duck legs were already being cooked (thank goodness). I had spoken with Bengt and heard that all of the contestants were pitching in to help so we were confident they would be able to get it done in time. At this point the producers already knew they couldn't send anyone home because of the fridge incident (it unlevels the playing field, therefore we can't eliminate anyone), but the chefs didn't know this.

    How does it unlevel the playing field? They put a ridiculous amount of hot food in the reach-in. That's Food Safety 101. All 3 should have been sent home.

    I think it would be more appropriate to blame the inadequate cooling equipment provided to the contestants. The should have a proper walk in, not wall fridges...

  9. Sorry, to clarify, my melted chocolate is starting at 115 and I'm using pistoles straight from the box to seed it; the pistoles are in fine condition.  I also tried taking the melted chocolate up to 120 yesterday, but the resulting temper after seeding didn't improve.

    Have you tried switching thermometers? Maybe you're not really hitting the temps you think you're hitting?

    (I can imagine how frustrating this would be, so I hope that you've figured out something by now!)

  10. John,  I would complain diplomatically and ask they exchange it for a new product. Purveyors usually want to keep their customers happy to ensure repeat orders. I don´t think you lose anything trying if you do it nicely. Or ask for a discount.

    I agree - there's certainly no reason not to at least broach the situation with them.

  11. There's a small chocolatier here in town who has a setup much as ejw50 describes. Her store is a single room in a gourmet food and wine shop. She does all her enrobing by hand, with no guitar for cutting pieces. Last time I talked to her about it, she didn't even have a vibrating table for molds - I was telling her about the DIY model, since it's so cheap and easy.

    But like ejw50 says - she knows what her margins are and what she can cover.

    what do you mean by the DIY model? i also don't have a fancy vibrating table...i just fill, tap tap tap tap, pour out, scrape, tap tap tap, scrape and set upside down. it might just be my molds, but for every 200 pieces, i might only get 6 air bubbles... :)

    Here's the thread on making your own. Cheap and easy. http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=88503&hl=

    You must not be using flat top pyramid molds. I can vibrate and smack those around all I want, and I still get bubbles in the corners!

  12. Also they have the organic line of colors, I havent try them my self yet, maybe when I get some more business I will try them out. I remember we talked about luster dust on another thread , maybe was the chocolate with showroom finish etc, about some kind of colors be less safe than other or something like that. I usually get the luster dust that have the non toxic label, usually no greens or blues, but again they are for decoration only so should be used in moderations.

    There's less variety in the natural colors, and no shimmery jewels. And, they are about twice the price. I have one bottle of natural red now, and may switch to the others as I run out of things - but at my current pace of use, that's probably not for another 3 years. :biggrin: A little goes a long way.

  13. There is a line of FDA approved dusts that you can buy from Cal-Java or Pfeil and Holing; I haven't tried them but the difference is that these new dusts are ok for food use, where the other ones you already know say non-toxic, not meant as a food additive.

    From what I remember, the dusts are mostly silver and white.

    ChefRubber has them too - they call them FDA Approved Pearl Dusts.

  14. There's a small chocolatier here in town who has a setup much as ejw50 describes. Her store is a single room in a gourmet food and wine shop. She does all her enrobing by hand, with no guitar for cutting pieces. Last time I talked to her about it, she didn't even have a vibrating table for molds - I was telling her about the DIY model, since it's so cheap and easy.

    But like ejw50 says - she knows what her margins are and what she can cover.

  15. The ChefRubber colored cocoa butters are FDA approved. I'm not sure what makes the Jewel ones sparkly, but the Artisan colors are just cocoa butter with artificial FDA numbered colors (ie. red 40, yellow 2, etc).

    Now, people may have all sorts of concerns about artificial colors, but they are FDA approved (for now, anyway).

  16. I just sent out my Christmas email to my mailing list today. I'm making egg nog, mulled cider, blackberry, and cardamom filled chocolates. Plus dark chocolate dried cherry pecan bark and white chocolate peppermint bark. Also, peppermint marshmallows, and hot fudge sauce.

    It's my first sale doing this many products (usually I just have chocolates, and maybe on other thing) but I decided to add some variety this time around, particularly with longer shelf-life and less labor intensive items like the barks and hot fudge sauce.

  17. I would like to include some of my caramelized cacao nibs (thanks Kerry) in a butter ganache which has a coffee flavor and don't know how to go about it without a recipe.

    To keep the nibs crunchy, you need a butter ganache.  Would I simply put the coffee grounds straight into a butter ganache?  Or make some sort of liquidless...or essential liquidless?... paste of the coffee grounds?

    Greweling has no coffee butter ganache and Wybauw has had to go back to where he came from, so I am asking for some aid.  :huh:


    i think the texture of a putting the grounds into the ganache would be rather off-putting. You could use espresso powder and mix it with a small amount of water - perhaps that would be enough to add the flavor without adding too much moisture to the ganache.

    You could try just infusing the butter with coffee flavor by putting a stick of butter and some coffee beans/grounds in a closed container for a while. Butter is well known for picking up flavors, so that might work...

  18. Wine is a totally different than using a liquor. It's much more difficult.
    Out of curiosity, what makes it more difficult to work with? If it is just that there is less alcohol content, I’ve used other liquid flavorings than liquors and have not had problems. I just rework my chocolate amount to maintain my ratios.

    IME, the intensity of flavor in wine is much less than a liqueur like Grand Marnier. So it's difficult to get enough wine flavor into the ganache just by adding wine in the same way you'd add a liqueur.

  19. Unless you think higher business volume will dramatically reduce your costs, then I think you shouldn't undercut yourself. It's really hard to raise prices later.

    And you're right that packaging is huge, both from an expense and time perspective. I can offer pretty competitive pricing if someone just wants individual pieces which they could package themselves (or even that I could provide inexpensive ballotin boxes for packaging). But good packaging that's able to sell the product drives the price up a lot - I could save a lot of money using non-window boxes, but I think people need to see my product.

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