Merry Berry

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About Merry Berry

  1. Flavored Caramels

    With regards to the crystallization factor that everyone seems to stress over, I find it is much to ado about nothing...for the most part. I am way too lazy to constantly brush down the sides of the saucepan so I skip that step. Now, what I find to be the most important part to preventing crystallization (at least for me anyway) is to make sure everything is clean and spotless from the very beginning. Pots, tools, sugar does not have any foreign objects hanging out in there, etc. I find if I follow those things, watch the heat, AND do not scrape the sides of the pot, I never have to worry about crystallization. When my students are working with caramel, the number one thing they do to ruin it is not watching their heat and scraping the sides of the pot. You scrape the sides of the pot and reintroduce the sugar stuck there, the caramel in the pot will oftentimes "follow the leader" and start forming crystals. Game over from there. And other times, they do not clean out the pot very well before they start their caramel and the foreign object causes it to crystallize. Of course, it may vary for you all, but something to think about if you are having issues with sugar crystallization. Hope some of this helps.
  2. Intricate chocolate molds

    Thoughts on the Micelli molds? Their normal ones I mean.
  3. I think you are being a little hard on yourself about the colors. I do not know what you were going for, but I really like what you have in the picture. After all, it is always nice to take someone's creation and make it your own. I especially like the black specks embedded in the red since they look like the seeds in strawberries. Nice job.
  4. Whew, that is good to hear!!! I would hate to give up my chocolate and coffee combo!!!
  5. I wonder (and I may be way off on this) if they do not have some kind of flexible template on the stick or something and then they spray around it, picking it up, moving to the next cavity, spraying, moving to the next cavity, etc. I too have seen the talk about the tape, but I just cannot wrap my mind around that. I want to work fast and efficiently in the kitchen and trying to tape 300-500 cavities at a go seems too tedious to make any money off of it. But like I said I might not even be close. I too am curious what others are thinking.
  6. Hmm. Won't let me upload the last one. Even this site does not like the Bailey's chocolates haha.
  7. I have been lurking for a long time here and have learned a lot from following the posts here. A few Sundays ago we had a chocolate charity event and made 4 different varieties of chocolate bonbons with the theme being a New Orleans Sunday brunch. Even though the event did not really have a theme, I like to have one anyways haha. So I did a mimosa starter, lemon-goat cheese "salad", banana fosters dessert, and Bailey's cafe au lait digestif. Special thanks to all of you that contribute to this forum. Even more special thanks to AnythingButPlainChocolate for their lemon-goat cheese bonbon and lebowits for their banana foster ganache. The only problems I ran into was I do not have a melter and the chocolate would set up so fast, it was difficult to back them and scrape them quick enough. A lot of the backs were definitely not to my liking. And, I could not get the orange hue I really wanted with the mimosas. I wanted that OJ kind of look to them, but the yellow and red cocoa butters I was using were not cooperating haha. I was really surprised that the lemon-goat cheese was as popular as it was. It was one of the first to run out behind the mimosas. I figured it would be too polarizing. Much to my (personal) dismay, the least favorite was the Bailey's. I adore anything and everything coffee related and I really like the combination of coffee, cream, and chocolate. Unfortunately, not many people like coffee like I do I guess. I saw a thread the other day where posters were vehement in their dislike of chocolate and coffee. I always thought they were great together. I like playing with coffee caramels too. Oh well, I stand by my love of coffee and chocolate, but it might make me think twice about selling it my shop one day.
  8. Bonbons with cheese?

    Aldrins, If you look on page 1 of this thread, poster AnythingButPlainChocolate posted a lemon goat cheese recipe that I recently used to great success. I did a play on New Orleans Sunday brunch theme at a charity event that started with a mimosa, then the "salad/entree" portion of the lemon goat cheese (hence why I colored it green), then dessert of bananas foster, and finish it off with a Bailey's coffee bonbon. I got a lot of strange looks from people when I mention goat cheese, but some were converts once they tasted it and the others...well not so much. I personally loved them and for the people that already liked goat cheese, they were hooked. I am going to try an attach a picture of them, but the recipe given by ABPC was nice and I will make it again.
  9. Macarons: Troubleshooting & Tips

    Yes, I understand, to each their own. I tell my students all the time, many times, there is more than one way to get to your final result and sometimes no one way is the "right" way as long as it works for you and you can make money on it. I personally do not like the extra steps involved with the Italian method since time is precious in the kitchen. But if it works, why mess with it? Although I am always trying to tinker with my techniques and recipes trying to find a better and faster way. Who knows, one day I might convert to the Italian meringue method haha. MB
  10. As PG said, it should not take an hour of stirring and really it should not be so hot that it is burning on the bottom that requires constant stirring. Hmm. If I had to guess there is a technique being lost in translation here. Can you give us a rundown of how you cook everything and when you add it?
  11. Macarons: Troubleshooting & Tips

    Sorry it took so long to post this. I had to upload it to youtube. Hope it is all right to link things here. If not, I will take it down. Hope it helps.
  12. Macarons: Troubleshooting & Tips

    Thank you for the welcome KB. I have lurked for a long time and even signed up about a year or two ago. I teach culinary school and hope to one day (soon? haha) to have my own chocolate shop. As to the macarons, I always feel people make them way harder than they need to be. Mostly because there is so much whodoo and misinformation out there. They have been making them for a few hundred years now without fancy equipment although granted they might not have been as pretty as they are today. Over Christmas I showed my niece how to make them and she had it down after one demo. I have a demo video and beginner recipe I can share if anyone is interested although the video is pretty low budget haha.
  13. Macarons: Troubleshooting & Tips

    Haha. I hated hearing that in school. What exactly is magma consistency? I mean, I have seen plenty of nature documentaries that show flowing lava, but I would never exactly know how it should like when compared to macaron batter. I teach my students to move their bowl side to side (if it slowly oozes over you're good) and to check how fast it flows off the spatula. Again, when I was in school, I would fold it too many times and it would be like piping water. Now I understand it needs to barely flow off the spatula onto itself and should sink together within 30 seconds.
  14. Macarons: Troubleshooting & Tips

    Are you being too gentle when you fold the meringue and almond flour together? I used to have a host of problems until I finally realized I was folding the two together carefully like you would do with any other folding technique. Macarons do not need the air from the meringue left in them. They need to be smashed against the bowl when folding together. Since I discovered that I rarely ever have a bad batch. Also, when you cure it, are you sure they are not sticky anymore? I have had to wait up to two hours before until they dried out enough. It is always dependent upon kitchen and humidity conditions. And what kind of coloring agent are you using? I find some gel colors cause the macarons to get too wet. I typically only use the Americolor if you are familiar with it. Hope some of that helps. If not, then I have a few other things for you to try.