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  1. The Hershey’s recipe, which is all cocoa powder with no chocolate, is 2/3 cup for 1 stick of butter. It’s pretty good. For that style of frosting.
  2. You can up the amount of fruit purée and reduce the dairy (cream and butter). If you want a fruit-forward filling, yes, add everything but the butter at the beginning. Do not caramelize the sugar and deglaze. That would bring out the caramel flavor. The nice thing is that with a bonbon filling you have so much room to play around because it doesn’t have to hold its shape, not stick to the cellophane, etc. 104C will give you a more liquid caramel, 107C will hold its shape better but still ooze. A more fibrous purée with hold it’s shape better than a liquid one, but I generally stay between those temperatures. Does any of that help?
  3. Cottage food in my state is extremely limited. Can’t sell online or out of state, can’t accept payment online, very low threshold for sales, etc. Thank you for all the input and information!
  4. Yes, that is a concern. I tried to call my local department of environmental health to ask about licensing and if ice cream would need to be in a separate production space and did not get any answers. She basically told me I’d have to have the space first (built out) and then someone would inspect and determine if it met the requirements (insert eye roll). Thanks for the heads-up!
  5. This is my exact concern. I hadn’t thought about an ice cream kitchen. Mostly because my plan for a retail space was to do chocolate and ice cream to off-set each other. I’ll think about this suggestion some more. Thank you!
  6. Thank you! There is an culinary incubator in the next town over and that’s where everyone is suggesting I go, and you can schedule your times to work. But I’m in one of the bbq capitals of the country and it’s a pretty open space. I just worry about the heat and the smells. There is one gluten-free space that’s closed off (I’d have to make sure I’m not using gluten in any of my products) and might work a bit better. I’m just so used to being able to semi-control the temperature, leave things to crystallize, go grab something if I forget it. The logistics of a space where I cart stuff in and out all the time feels daunting.
  7. Thank you so much for your thoughts and advice! I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to post and then just disappear. I really appreciate you taking the time—so many good and important things to consider!
  8. Is it really possible to run a chocolate business out of a shared kitchen space? I’d love to hear your experiences (good and bad). What were the challenges? What helped things to work? Size? Who do/did you share with? What products do/did you offer? We were all ready to have contractors come out and bid on a production/retail location and then COVID hit and the world changed. Trying to brainstorm how to continue moving forward.
  9. I got my current starter from a friend a month or two ago. When I was pregnant with my last baby I developed a weird aversion to my starter. I couldn’t even look at it or think about it without throwing up. Then I could never face the prospect of a freezer full of waffles to start my own from scratch again. But quarantine... so I jumped back on the horse, but started with a well-developed micro starter this time.
  10. Between about 76 and 78% on these, I think. I wet my hands a lot with mixing and folding, so with a smaller amount of dough it affects the hydration. And I agree about the waste. When I started my first starter about 6 or 7 years ago I just couldn’t throw anything away for the first month or two. It hurt too much. I think I probably had over 100 sourdough waffles and around 50 soft pretzels in my garage freezer at one point in time and then my family was like, “Stop, Mom, please. We can’t take any more.” This is so much more manageable. I’ve actually had to build up my discard on purpose to be able to make things with it.
  11. I’ve been feeding 3 times a day and keeping a very small starter, as recommended by @fullproofbaking on IG. She has a bunch of tutorials on YouTube and IG. My approximate and often flexible schedule: I feed 5g of starter 10g flour (bread/ww mix) and 10g water at 7:00 a.m. (1:2:2) 2:00 p.m. discard all but 5g and feed 10g flour mix, 10g water. (1:2:2) 9:00 p.m. feed 5g starter 25g flour mix, 25g water. (1:5:5) The morning I want to mix dough I feed 15g starter with 30g flour mix and 30g water and use that in the bread mix for a ~650g loaf about 5 hours later and have just enough left over for my mid-day feed. 6 years ago I kept a 67% stiffer starter and did 1 part starter, 2 parts water, 3 parts flour and fed twice a day. I liked that I had to knead to mix it—i could be sure everything was well incorporated, and it was more dramatic when it rose. But more recipes are written for a liquid starter and I got tired of doing the math 😂. But I’m really liking this micro starter. It’s very sweet and so much less waste. I just throw the spoonful of discard in the freezer and hold on to it until I have enough to make pancakes or waffles. These loaves were baked on that schedule with different amount of bulk fermentation (almost 5 hours, 6.5 hours, 8 hours). They all turned out pretty well.
  12. You may be right! One thing I’ve done with soft fillings is freeze the macs upright right after filling, then turn them on their sides for storage in the fridge after they’re frozen. Because, as you said, the shells draw moisture out of the filling, and I find that once I bring them out of the fridge they are nice and sturdy.
  13. Even a 1:1 ratio of white chocolate to cream seems like it would be veeeeery fluid and unlikely to set up to me. I’ve seen recipes go as high as 4:1 white chocolate to cream for macarons. As far as the dark recipe, a change from 68% to 70% shouldn’t make a huge difference. I’d give it a try and if you find it too firm, just add a smidge more cream the next time.
  14. I really like Solstice and Amano. They’re both US companies, out of Utah actually. Maison Marou out of Vietnam is really yummy too.
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