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ChocoMom

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  1. I'll start doing the molded fellows next week, but for the last craft show I'm participating in....here's part of the batch: (There's one last tray of 80 dark chocolate sea salt caramels awaiting dipping/salting, but other than that-- everything is done. Just have to finish packaging. )
  2. 63 Tipsy Tortoises....for a Christmas craft show on Saturday. I usually put 6-7 in presentation box, and they go like hot cakes. Free samples are the key. =)
  3. Just finished canning 15 pints of chili with beans. Its pretty mild, so seasoning can be added to meet one's own tastes.
  4. We are making an effort to shut down the industrial meat freezer to save on electricity. That thing is a beast. So, I moved several cases of beef and chicken from that freezer to the smaller freezer -gifted to us by my father in law. There was some beef that would not fit, so I've been canning away. Managed to do 16 pints of ground beef with onion and seasoning- last night. The small mouth jars aren't my favorite, but Wallyworld had them on Black Friday special for $5/case, so I picked up a couple cases. Also discovered that with the small mouth, I can cram 16 jars in the canner, whereas only 14 fit with the wide mouth.
  5. So, alternate the heat with the cold air? I had the air blowing in there at 61F. I have a hair dryer strictly for chocolate use, also to the left of the panner. I used that to clean the panner our before the glazing phase. So, I could also use that to alternate with AC? I'm just not sure how to go about that- as in, at what point would I know to use hot air instead of cold? It did seem like a fair amount of chocolate was wasted on the area where the agitators are attached- on the back wall of the panner. The chocolate was tempered, and at 88.6F, I believe. (I used the little chocovision tempering machine to the left the panner.) I have an Idylis AC unit that stands the right of the panner, on the floor- which is my cold air source. I salvaged / swiped an extra piece of the stretchy aluminum tubing during the home rebuild, exactly for this purpose. So, I taped and sealed one end of the tube onto the AC vent, ran the tubing through a wire coat hanger, and rigged it so the other end would blow on the area where it looked like the majority of the beans were landing. The cold air flow was pretty impressive for such a goofy set up. I used a ladle to slowly pour chocolate in an even manner over the beans as they tumbled. I had them going at med-slow, then increased it to medium. Once they were dry, I took them all out, wiped down the interior quite thoroughly, poured the beans back in, and then proceeded to drizzle in the 40g of confectioners glaze. I let run for a good 30 min just to make sure everything was completely coated. (And to get rid of that horrid stink from the glaze.) I wasn't sure what speed to run the espresso beans at, and if I should have used agitators. It seemed like the agitators were necessary to break the beans apart some. But, I am not fully convinced of that now, because I think it might have dented the coating. Which, would be true for anything, wouldn't it? I can't think under what condition the denting/uneven finish wouldn't happen with those inside there. I have some malt ball centers that I can run for another trial. Not for trial are the Montmorency dried cherries- which I have no intention to waste. I'd love to get those panned, to sell. I am really looking forward to learning how to work this little beast properly, and make some nice products. Thank you for all of your help!!!!
  6. OMG! I just tried panning for the first time!!! FUN!!!! Should not have done espresso beans for the first attempt, but I did. So there we go. Must have morphed into a human Tigger, eating them....'cause I'm bouncing off the walls right now. Process: started with ChocoVision's panner. Left in 2 of the agitators. 450g espresso beans, coated with gum arabic. Pics include the set up, and the final product. Used approx 900g of 72%, tempered. 40g Confectioner's glaze..and damn! that stuff STINKS!!!!! Will maybe leave the agitators out next time, cause I am inclined to think they are responsible for dinging the chocolate coating and giving a blotchy/ coat. I was irritated at first because, honestly....deer poop looks better than these do. Like, more uniform, you know? (Not that I examine deer poop extensively, but we have a lot of the up here, so I see a lot of it. Whatever.) Anyways, I had the air at 61F blowing in there. I thought I'd need the agitators to break apart the chocolate covered beans, but maybe if I did less at a time, it would be easier to manage. So here it is. (Not proud of it, but thought it was fun to play with.)
  7. Dinner 2017 (Part 6)

    Made pasties tonight with a mix of venison and beef, and the usual veggies of rutabega, potato, carrot and onion. They were delish! Dessert was pumpkin pie made with the pumpkins from the garden. Also made pumpkin whip-dip for my grandson who is allergic to eggs. Graham crackers are the perfect tool for transferring the dip to his adorable little face. =)
  8. Pressure canned 14 jars of venison. 11 were taco seasoned, ground venison, and 3 were chunked stew meat. Next round is going to be for chili- so I will add salt and chili powders to it, along with onion and garlic.
  9. Dinner 2017 (Part 6)

    Venison burritos, courtesy of the deer that hubby bagged on opening day. In the blind 15 minutes, got the deer, and here we go:
  10. According to the specs, 11 grams per cavity. Can't wait to see what you make!!! =)
  11. @curls The mold is Fat Daddio's Topsy Turvy Square- model PCMM-05. (Not sure if the item number is one that Kerekes assigned to it, or if it is a Fat Daddio item number.) I think the transfer sheet came from Kerekes, as well. I was a little puzzled at the mould's design name, as the finished product doesn't look very "Topsy Turvy" to me. It isn't terribly deep, either. I liked the angled cube mould a little more, esp. for making liquor cubes. On the up-side, this square has a little more surface area for displaying the transfer sheet designs.
  12. If you have some Bounce dryer sheets handy, lay them around the area where the mice are frequenting. They HATE those dryer sheets. Or, those super-sticky trays do wonders at trapping the little buggers. Although.....we placed a few trays out in the barn, and one of them just disappeared. Not sure what stepped into it, but it must have been big!
  13. Forgot about these little guys...Honey-coconut-rum in 72%. I loved the transfer sheet, so I keep trying to incorporate the creamed honey into chocolates.
  14. Having a marvelous time in the new chocolate room. One of my elderly customers (91 yo) at the retirement home ordered a whopping 22 12-piece boxes of chocolates for all his "sweethearts" for Christmas. Needs them before Thanksgiving as he is having a couple surgeries coming up. This is the beginning of his order: Key Lime, Chocolate Mint, and Shotts' Vanilla and Triple Espresso
  15. Taco Bell 2014 -

    My youngest kid (12) has gone on this Taco Bell kick for an after school snack, before she goes to work. (She cleans horse stables.) It all started with those Mountain Dew Freezy things this summer. My kids all have issues with dairy, so instead of going to Dairy Queen- right next to the Taco Bell, I hit the Drive thru at TB thinking I could get a Dew for them. Then I saw the freeze, and the ad for $1 Freeze during happy hour which is 2-5pm- which seemed like a perfectly reasonable cold treat. (should be happy HOURS). Anyway, the kid saw it, started drooling over the chicken Quesadilla pic, so I gave in to her incessant whining, and got her one. Now, on her once-a-week Friday drive-thru, she goes for the Quesadilla Box, which has the Chicken and Cheese Q, a soft chicken taco and a Dorito shell crunchy taco. Plus a freeze. Then she goes to work. Im not crazy about the place like the kids are, but they do have a couple good salad choices, which are okay for a quick fix. I never get sauces there, either. I guess all late night trips to Taco Bell in college, sitting there with friends, cleaning pennies in the hot sauce - made me wary of the contents.
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