ChocoMom

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  1. Wholesaling your wares

    When I sold to an actual candy shoppe, they had a case refrigerated and humidity controlled - designed for confections. Since I did not supply any packaging, I would give them "wholesale" prices. SS caramels were $1.10 to $1.25 each. They sold them for $2.25ea. Tipsy Tortoises I'd sell for $3 each; they'd sell for $4.75. Bon Bons depended on which chocolate, what flavor and size. But, anywhere from $1.00 to $1.50, which they'd turn around and sell for $2-$3 each. Its the packaging that kills me on pricing. If a company wants the packaged items...its another story. As for licensing, I operate under Michigan's cottage food law, so I have to do chem $(18) and bacteria ($15) tests, get the health department's blessing on my septic system, and then I get the permit after inspection for a lovely $143. Per year.
  2. Honey in Ganache

    I used creamed honey in a dark chocolate ganache, and found no crystallization whatsoever. ( The use of creamed honey was precipitated by my kids using up the more liquid form, and I had a small container of creamed honey for spreading on toast. So, I used the creamed.) I was merely experimenting with the flavors, and I found that the honey flavor was pleasant when coupled with Guitard's 72%. Customers enjoyed it as well, so I'keeping that one on the standard production list.
  3. Food funnies

    I gave my brother a collection of goofy hot sauces, and thought I bought them from Penzy's years ago. I don't think they carry it anymore. Had a huge catalog of them. I do remember getting him the Nuclear Hell hot sauce, the Colon Blaster, and the Grim Reaper- complete with the black hood and cloak, and a few more. He thought it was hysterical and kept all the bottles.
  4. Hubby plowed /disc'd the garden yesterday for the second and third time. Then he planted 7 90ft rows of heirloom corn to feed the critters in the fall. I'll get him some sweet corn to plant too. (I'm allergic, but no one else here is.) When all chances of frost are gone- next week I hope...I will start planting outside too. For now, its inside plants only. OH! Hubby surprised me with a Mr. Stackey last week. Its a cool little doodad for growing strawberries. Kind of like a fountain, so the berry plants can grown their little runners, and plant new plants for 4 or 5 levels. Way cool!
  5. Nothing nearly as fun as @kriz6912.... but an interesting change from sea salt caramels this week... These are Greweling's Thai Sticks. I followed the directions to the letter, with the exception of infusing the chili a bit longer. There was no noticeable heat after 5 min, so I had to do it longer.
  6. @rarerollingobject That is so incredibly beautiful!!! Seriously....how could anyone cut into that???!!! You are amazing!!!!
  7. I ended up casting a mold with the super white confectionery coating, filled with the ganache, and backed them off with the coating. Turned out wonderfully! I delivered them this afternoon, and my friend was so excited- she opened the box right up and tried one! Not sure if they will last until tomorrow! Thank you again!!!
  8. @Kerry Beal Thank you so much for the reassurance!!!! You're wonderful!!!
  9. Greetings all! Quick question ...Has anyone used confectionery coating in ganache, and been successful? I'd normally not do this, but I have a very dear friend who is allergic to chocolate. Her son is graduating from high school, and she hired me to do chocolates. We'd all like for her to enjoy something from the selections at the reception. The only pieces I can do for her without any chocolate derivatives is of the white chocolate variety. So, white confectionery coating is the only alternative I can find to sub in. Now, with the actual chocolates, I did a butter ganache with white chocolate, mango puree and coconut. (Tastes amazing, btw.) If I do the same method with the softened butter, glucose; then mix in melted confectionery coating, will it harden up when I add the puree, or stay soft? I tend to think it would be okay, but I absolute hate the idea of wasting that puree. So, thought it best to ask here and see if this a disaster in the making- or a decent alternative... Thank you for any help and advice you're able to lend. As always, your expertise is very much appreciated! Andrea
  10. My Baker's creek orders arrived, and I started planting some things indoors. I've not yet finished tiling the porch, but darn it! I want my plants!!! I've started pots of basil, parsley, green onion, sweet pepper, spinach, kale, lettuce, beets, purple dragon carrots, potatoes and sweet potatoes. Ended up with their sweet potato variety pack x 2. Okinawa Pink, Korean Purple, Myanmar purple and Jersey Yellow. I love, love, love the vines on these....so....I bought large black storage tubs, put rocks and sand in the bottom for drainage, mixed up my soil varieties, and planted the little starts. My son will carry the rest of them up to the balcony (indoors), and position them to grow through the balusters down into the living room. I am so excited to see them flourish!!!!
  11. Burger King

    If I had to choose between only McD's and BK...I'd probably go with BK just because they have onion rings and McD's does not. Fortunately for my waistline, BK is too far away to make a munchie-trip. McD's is much closer, but I just can't stomach it. So, the only other options I'll even entertain are Culver's or Hardee's.. Culver's is home to the Butterburger, frozen custard, and glorious onion rings! Hardee's has my lo-carb thick burger, wrapped in layers of lettuce. A little pricey, but still better than MCD's and BK. On the upside to McD's...I was at McD's over the winter sometime with my youngest daughter...she had scored 100 on a math test and spelling test- so that's where she chose to go for her attagirl ice cream. They were selling these wicked pumpkin -cream pie things, and the gal at the counter came over and offered us each one- no charge. Well, who were we to refuse that???? Good Lord, that was rich. Pretty darn good with the fresh coffee.
  12. Food Waste @ Home

    My hubby and I were just marveling over how little food waste we have now. The chickens and turkeys eat darn near anything like veggie or fruit peels, apple cores, bread crumbs, or misplaced left overs. And now with the sun shining more---I am consistently getting eggs from my "girls". (The droppings do wonders for the garden, too.) After we eat eggs, I let the egg shells dry, crush them up and feed it back to the chickens, so they continue to get their grit and calcium. Im doing so much more pressure canning now, there isn't much at all that goes to any waste. I'm quite pleased with how far we've come . I've learned to render the fat off our beef, and use that for food preparation now too.
  13. Cooking for 100+...ideas anyone?

    @pastrygirl I'll have to ask hubby about the grill. I tend to think it is charcoal, but I am not sure. I will have access to electricity, running water, and a full kitchen facility with worktables. The pavilion comes with tables and chairs- so no worries there. ... just need some tablecloths and decor. I am slowly rebuilding my arsenal of food serving items, like chaffing dishes and larger roasters. The only restaurant supply relatively close is GFS- Gordon Food Service. And, I have already purchased a large amount of the serving bowls/trays from there. If need be, I can move one of my worktables from the chocolate shop down to the pavilion, but I doubt that will be necessary. All of clean-up/garbage necessities are taken care of. The pavilion comes stocked with all of that, for our use. The venue is completely booked for 45 days straight, so I don't really have the option of getting in there except the day of. It would be lovely if I could, but not going to happen. Its a very popular spot. I've got two pick up trucks, an SUV, and...my daughter's WRX- for REALLY FAST emergency trips. Might take the Jeep out, if needed. Its only two miles from our house, so not a huge worry if we forget something. In addition to myself and three pals- who are somewhat experienced with events of this scale- I also have my two sisters-in-law, and 9 strapping lads to help do set up and cleanup.. (My two daughters-in-law already have wee ones to take care of, and one is due with grand-kid number 4 on July 23....so she will be in no shape to help.) I'd love it if we could afford to hire culinary students, however, we don't have a school anywhere near us. I will ponder some of these cold-entree ideas. However, my inlaws are 80 now- kind of old-school, and are entirely into eating a hot meal for dinner. I may throw in a cold option though, for others who would appreciate it. I'm really loving the Kabob idea for the graduation though. Maybe snack and dessert kabobs for kids and teens? I did some for one of the kids' parties some years ago- strawberries, pineapple chunks, marshmallows, banana chunks--drizzled in chocolate. that might be an option. ?
  14. Cooking for 100+...ideas anyone?

    OH wow! Thanks everyone! Such great reminders and points you've all made!!!! As for the facilities...it is a pavilion at our local park. Quite nice. There is a full kitchen, with ample refrigeration and stove/oven space, and a massive outdoor BBQ pit. Many of the local groups utilize the facility things like the Fire Dept- BBQ chicken fundraiser, the Lion's Club, etc, and lots of wedding receptions. In refining my thoughts a bit, the "burger bar". Plates/utensils/napkins and buns on the first table/station. Next station, hubby will be handing the grilling of burgers. Next to that, a table w trays of ice (actually thinking of using my planters or aluminum tubs), setting large platters on the ice with tomatoes, lettuce leaves, pickles, onions, cheese(?), peppers...then set the ketchup/mustard/relish at the end of that. Next. another large tub(s) of ice, with salads...fruit salad, lettuce salad, maybe potato salad or something. And, for another option...I LOVED the idea from @Lisa Shock about the chicken salad! That would be simple, and can be made beforehand. I have entertained doing the vat of sloppy joe. It is a family recipe handed down from Uncle Carl (RIP), and the whole family adores it. So perhaps we will go with that. I want to run all of this by my kids- as it is primarily their friends who will be devouring the majority of it. (Honestly, the kids are flexible and will be grateful for a spread of food. I could probably put Fruit Loops and Taco Bell out there, with a cooler full of RedBull, and all would be happy. ) I planned to set up the tables so there would be two sides from which the food can be gathered. I am certain there will be plenty of kids still around for the anniversary party. @Nancy in Pátzcuaro... yes, my kids and several of their friends have hollow legs, and have had them long before graduation was ever on the horizon! I think the two older boys (28 and 30) may still have a hollow limb, come to think of it. I do like the idea of having a full ribeye to slice from. Gramps would probably dig that. I will have chaffing dishes available for the potatoes and mixed veggies. In the next couple weeks, I am going to experiment here at the house with the whole meat/fish thing, figuring out a way to prep it nicely, and transfer into the chaffing dish....or plate it and serve. I will likely nix the pasta. It is just too iffy- as to whether it would stay edible. Thank you for that pointer, @Lisa Shock. And, I adore the idea of Kabobs!! I had not thought of that---but will seriously consider doing that in lieu of- or in addition to- a burger bar! We took a cow to the butcher a couple months ago, and have some beef to work with. I will likely do chicken too. I can make plenty of the foods before hand, but am able to start right from scratch in the pavilion's kitchen with other things. @JohnT - I will have helpers who are more than capable of pulling this sort of thing off. I did this for my friend's daughter's wedding reception and another friend's daughter's MASSIVE 16th birthday party. so I will enlist them (and a few others) for this. I am just so terrible out of practice. Before the house fire, we've hosted over 100 at our home/outdoors for weekend 4th of July festivities. I cooked for all of them, no problem. But then, not doing it for awhile...I've gotten a bit rusty in noggin- trying to work out the logistics. So...I'll get the pen and paper and start scratching things out. Keep the ideas coming!!! Thanks a million, all of your glorious, wonderful people!!!!