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ChocMD

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  1. Hello folks, I have been a occasional lurker when I have had a specific question, but have recently drilled down through the confectionary topics, and the knowledge and friendliness there are amazing! I confess that when I browse (for instance) Your Daily Sweets What are you making and baking 2017 - I am thoroughly intimidated. I am very much not achieving the level of elegance and precision demonstrated there. I would feel better if I knew all those folks are professionals, but I think they're just really good....
  2. ChocMD

    Vanilla caramel recipe woes

    PG I was laughing so hard that the dog gave me a funny look. I am so happy to see someone else who has food coated thermometers! If I get Kerry's nice Chefalarm I might have to keep it clean....
  3. ChocMD

    Vanilla caramel recipe woes

    Oooh, that looks amazing! Definitely next on my purchase list.Thank you so much for the recommendation!
  4. ChocMD

    Vanilla caramel recipe woes

    My bad, in two ways. First I didn't realize there is a multiplicity of threads on caramel and Greweling. And the way I manually checked that batch of caramel was not well done. Made another batch of Greweling's recipe, turns out that all my thermometers are inaccurate, by up to 8 degrees. I have not been able to purchase a truly accurate thermometer in several years.
  5. Hi folks, I just made this year's batch of caramel twice so far. First time was my old recipe, which *once again* had terrible cold flow, fell off the precoat and was very difficult to dip. Next I tried PPG's recipe using sweetened condensed milk, and I think there must have been too much milk solids in it because it set VERY chewy and ultimately rock hard. Does anyone have a good-tasing caramel recipe that doesn't exhibit cold flow and has fairly short bite but not too hard? Thanks so much for any assist!
  6. Thank you all for your very informative replies. I went with Penzey's as I have had good luck with them in the past. Special thanks to Toliver who opened my eyes to the astonishing *eighteen* pages of do-it-yourself-vanilla enlightenment. Going to try that for the long-term supplies, if I can find any decent beans that aren't $8/bean. Will look on eBay, thank you Lisa.
  7. Hi folks, I have finally run out of my jug of carefully hoarded Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon vanilla extract from about 2015 or so. Maybe 2014. Now I don't know where to look for a replacement. I am disturbed by the reports coming out of Madagascar regarding beans being harvested green and vacuum-packed, which collapses the flavor profile (in addition to being illegal in Madagascar, but there's money to be made and it's not really enforced, apparently). So beans are purchased (or stolen) green, minimally cured, and vacuum packed. Apparently when the beans are vacuum-packed for later curing you can also get a moldy (!) flavor. There are Nielsen-Massey 32 oz. bottles for sale on Amazon.com that are apparently knock-offs. I hope. Because if they're not it implies disturbing things about NM's buying policies. The NM sold on King Arthur Flour website has gotten some bad reviews for flavor lately also. Pretty much everyone in the industry is keeping mighty quiet about this. But there's such a shortage anyway that we're all buying them despite the horrific prices. Does anyone have a decent brand that they've found to have consistently reliable flavor recently? Obviously I am not looking for supermarket vanilla. Here's an article: https://vanillaqueen.com/will-2016-vanilla-crop-see-easing-prices/ That references another article: https://mg.co.za/article/2018-03-16-00-vanilla-fever-fear-sours-the-sweet-scent-of-madagascars-success
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