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Sweet Impact Mama

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Everything posted by Sweet Impact Mama

  1. I was perusing through the thread, saw these and said "Wait! I've seen those somewhere before." Lol! It was Instagram... I've been drooling over your stuff for weeks now. Love the Lemon Pepper chocolates idea! I've always paired lemon and chocolate, but never thought of pepper in it.
  2. Forgot to say "thank you" again. You're very kind. I use the back side of a paint brush to mix the cocoa butter... then I wipe it off with a paper towel. The dusting brushes don't get used with wet stuff. I only have ever just dampened them to use with my dusting powders, to get a stronger color. I like them kept on hand, fluffy.
  3. Ya'll give me waaaaay too much credit, when it comes to planning or organization. I'm highly intuitive about this stuff. (Which probably means it would freak out anyone who does large production.) Literally, I play with cocoa butter like I used to play with paint on ceramics. I did the little detail elements, and then I started with white cocoa butter - added a bit of yellow- then painted the first swipes on all of them. Then I added more yellow, until I liked the color, and painted another swipe, with one edge behind the lighter one, but most of the swipe going the same direction, but parallel. Then I took the straight yellow and went around the other side. I could probably never get them to look exactly like these, again... but my color sense is really "picky" so they'd be close. My cocoa butter sits in a 1/3 hotel pan, and a heating pad sits under and around them, inside the pan. I use a microwave or heat gun to get them closer to melted, and shake. Then I play with the color in little sampling 2 oz cups. I have a tiny crock pot with a warm setting, that I keep a cloth in (sort of a bit browned onthe bottom now... keep forgetting to dampen it.) and if the cocoa butter cups need a rewarm, I stick them in there for a little bit.
  4. For the swipes of color, i use various sizes of these: https://www.amazon.com/Royal-Brush-Golden-Taklon-Filbert/dp/B0018N4M5M/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1523541590&sr=8-7&keywords=royal+crafter's+choice+paint+brush (Picked them up a a craft store. My criteria was plastic handles that could handle the regular hot water/sanitizer washing that food service demands. These are my favorites for detail. The short bristles are amazing for control. https://www.amazon.com/Wilton-5-Piece-Decorating-Brush-1907-1352/dp/B00IE6Y6J8/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1523541708&sr=8-3&keywords=wilton+paint+brush+set And these are my dusting ones: https://www.amazon.com/Wilton-1907-1351-2-Piece-Dusting-Brush/dp/B001WT22AE/ref=pd_bxgy_79_img_3?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B001WT22AE&pd_rd_r=0PRQ2SH7XBW8N5NNMVPA&pd_rd_w=I9yWl&pd_rd_wg=9LO2E&psc=1&refRID=0PRQ2SH7XBW8N5NNMVPA
  5. I think this is done by hand. Basic abstract color theory, in terms of order of application, plus possibly a smudging sort of color muddling? Jim D. said you might be interested in these that I just did last night. Not entirely happy with the color results, but it was all done by hand. (I'm sure you experts will be able to tell that right off the bat... ) The hardest thing I've found about doing these sorts of designs is remembering to reverse what colors need to show up in the front. It was just a splatter of (all natural) cherry red, then i put on the green stripe (oops - should have done the lavender first), lavender dots along the green, and then degrees of intensities of yellow were added with a paint brush. These are my Lemon Lavender truffles.
  6. Good thing my husband/bookkeeper can't see this! This is the bane of his existence... I keep trying to reassure him that I say "No" to faaaaaar more than I ever buy.
  7. The lowest prices is $248 and the highest is $380 per kilo. And by my estimation, the ration of powder to cocoa butter is approx. 1/3 of an ounce to 8 ounces of cocoa butter. Oooh - I just realized something! I wonder if they've tested whether mixing it in cocoa butter changes the shelf life at all?
  8. They sent about 4 ounces of each color. I could probably used 8 ounces of it, on my own, per year, pretty comfortably... maybe closer to 12.
  9. None that I've been able to tell, and I have a pretty strong sense of order or texture or taste discrepancies.
  10. I'd have to ask them. Not entirely sure how that might work on their end, since I think they only package in 1kg containers.
  11. Well, since they haven't done much testing on chocolates under lights, I'm not 100% sure. Most of my chocolates don't stay in the counter more than a few weeks, these days, but since they are at a wholesale customer's location, I don't have quite as tight of controls. I get the impression that they have not broken into the colored cocoa butter world at all. They seem to have been focused on markets such as cereals, beverages, baked goods, etc. I think they've gotten into candy coatings, but that's it. The company seems to be huge and their R & D department paperwork and sample distribution is serious... top notch paperwork, sample packing, etc. At this point, I'm quite happy with what I've seen with the blues and reds. But, like I said above, my biggest problem is that I'm just not able to go through their minimum size purchase, fast enough. 1kg of powder, when it only takes about 2 tsp max to do an 8 oz container of cocoa butter....One has to go through a LOT of each cocoa butter color in a year, to need that much.
  12. You guys are really kind. The top and middle pics are the only ones that were particularly worked on. The red & pink shiny ones were just pure play, to see how the reds worked out on dark chocolate.
  13. Last month, I posted about the trouble I was having with the cocoa butter brand I was using that was over-spraying terribly. Kerry Beal was totally correct - it was the melting point. I switched to Callebaut's cocoa butter and it works perfectly. But the reason I was working with coloring my own was because I'd gotten in a bit deep on finding a source for all-natural dyes that work in cocoa butter. Only 3 colors from Chef Rubber's line have worked consistently well for me. One of the yellows, the Peruvian Purple and their white. And NO red or blue have come close to true colors that blend and are strong. My deep dive led me to https://sensientfoodcolors.com/en-us/ They've sent me their 3 microfine blues to sample and 2 of their reds. When they sent me the samples, the size of them sent me into both joy and dread. They were nicely generous, based on how little it takes to color several ounces of cocoa butter. The colors are VERY strong. But dread, because that probably means they'd need me to purchase more than I needed to have. (They have a 12-18 month shelf life. I have yet to ask if they can be frozen or anything to extend that time.) I've played around with them. Apparently, one of the big issues in the past, with natural colorants, is their ability to hold true color under lights, for very long. I haven't totally finished my tests, but the sales rep has been straight (i think) about which colors have been dependable and which ones aren't. Blues and Reds are apparently great. Their yellow, green and orange aren't the best. I'm attaching some photos from my "play time" with the colors. I've sent them and my experiences with the colors, to Chef Rubber's rep that handles their all natural color line. He hasn't responded yet (5 days and counting). Shouldn't be too surprised, since I'm not particularly of notice to companies that large. If I can't get them to consider working with Sensient, I'm probably going to have to go it alone. Which means I'd love to find a couple of other smallish chocolatiers who might be interested in splitting orders with me. Not sure if folks do that around here. So, here's the red and the blues. Any thoughts or ideas that this community might have, regarding how I can proceed from here, would be wonderful!
  14. Me too! It's on my list, before worrying about getting a tempering machine. I'll just get larger melter/holding tanks and use EZ Temper.
  15. *Jaw Drop* Stunning and so much fun!! You do gorgeous work, Kerry!
  16. Kerry, I would LOVE to go to this next year. Just seeing the conference now, so it's too late to make it work for our schedule. (Oldest is graduating high school shortly after the event... she's gonna be a basket case for the month of May. ) Is there a way to get on a mailing list of this, for next year? I have friends close to where you hold the conference and it would be an amazing chance to meet some of you in person, learn a bunch of things, and catch up with said friends!
  17. Lol! I hear ya. My biggest concern was that I don't currently have enough molds of any one kind to knock them out that fast. And I'm one person doing all the mold painting and all chocolate work. I'd need to order a bunch of stuff before I could start... which takes shipping time on the front end. Heavens, I'm still working with just 2 3kg Mol d'Art melters that i use after hand tempering. Getting a $5K order done in that short of time would have required a bit of scaling up. The hand dipping of all my Tipsy Turtles and Bourbon Salted Caramels was what had me in the biggest quandary. It takes forever to toast all the pecans, assemble and then dip/drizzle all of them. I can bang out a few dozen of them in a couple hours, but not on top of doing all the other stuff. Sucks to be middle aged.
  18. Hi! I recently had to turn down an order for a corporate event for 150 large, luxury chocolate variety boxes, because they weren't going to make a decision until mid next week and needed the product in North Carolina by April 23rd. Since all my product is made fresh, I was fairly certain that we couldn't get it done and shipped (or flown down if they needed us to set it up), in 10 days. So now I'm curious, what sort of lead time to you require from customers? If you keep stock in hand, how much? How much time would it take for your company to get 150 luxury boxes (customer choice), 1500 custom truffles, 300 Dipped Caramels, 150 hand painted bars, and 150 hand dipped turtles? I know I'm too tiny to pull it off in their time, but I'd like an idea of what the competition can handle.
  19. Thanks everyone! I'm doing a deep-dive search on the books and such. I didn't realize that Wybauw's book had the water activity attached to the recipes- that would be helpful! And Vistagardens, thanks for the tip on how to search all of Craigslist! I could not figure out how to stop it from only searching within 200 miles of my zip code. Drove me batty. Jim D., the consignment idea seems like a good option. I hadn't thought of that. And Pastry Girl, I'm a step or two away from limiting my wholesale to the stuff you mentioned... Those have much more stable life spans, when they have to be out of a temp controlled candy counter. I just have to work on transitioning my market regulars to make their purchases there. Off to scour the used options for Wybauw's book... Thanks again! And if anyone happens to spot a refurbished or used PawKit, please give me a shout out! :-D
  20. Hi there! I've poured over the threads where this subject has come up, in the past, and just want to make sure I've got the most accurate, current information. We're trying to decide if we should go the route of more "wholesale" sales for my company or focus on growing the retail. One of the problems with retail is, with one teen starting college next year and the other one only two years behind, we aren't ready to take the risk of starting up our own shop quite yet. My online sales are growing steadily, but the only retail options I end up having are Farmer's markets, which are so fickle, in terms of weather and people's interest in sweets, that it hasn't particularly done much more than get my name out there. One of my biggest concerns with pursuing more wholesale locations is the issue of shelf life. I try to stick with the Valrhona technique of ganache making and Peter Grewling's book, for recipes and proportions, but am nervous about what to tell locations, when it comes to how long certain items will last, on their counter. aW meters, as far as I can tell, are far out of affordability for us. Which leaves me looking for options of local testing laboratories (about $40 per sample), and/or software. I'd love to hear about any experience folks have had with software options out there, that can calculate this sort of thing, based on ingredients. Also, if anyone has a recommendation of places to look for used aW meters, that would be excellent. thanks in advance! -Kristi
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