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Stephen Beaumont

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Posts posted by Stephen Beaumont

  1. On 7/14/2021 at 9:34 PM, Kerry Beal said:

    @Stephen Beaumont welcome to eG. Sorry we didn't properly greet you back in March. 


    When you say Lakeshore - which lake are we talking?


    Lake St Clair - near Windsor, not far from Michelle from Sweetness Chocolates. No problem about not greeting me :)  I have been lurking a lot on the eGullet forum and it is fascinating. Learning a lot and everyone is so helpful. My little sideline chocolate business has taken off faster than I could have dreamed  (@Chokfinechocolates on IG and FB) and I can't wait to be able to meet people in person again, hopefully soon.

  2. On 7/11/2021 at 12:09 PM, Jim D. said:

    Regarding the use of Bird's custard powder:  I made the powder from an online recipe (confectioner's sugar, cornstarch, nonfat milk powder).  First you mix the powder with a little cold milk (I used cream), then whisk it into the rest of the milk/cream and bring to a simmer.  Of course at that point it has no taste (but then neither does crème anglaise nor pastry cream at that stage--the flavoring is essential).  I then treated the mixing of the custard and some white chocolate as one would a regular ganache.  I used proportions of about 55% Opalys chocolate to 45% custard.  It formed an emulsion, but the fat in the Opalys was too much, and it separated.  So I beat in some more custard, and that fixed the issue.  Therefore it seems that a 50-50 mix might work.  That would be a significant change from the usual proportions required for a cream ganache.  Then I tried out my new fiori di Sicilia flavoring; the resulting taste was very good.  But would this ganache set?  Within a few hours It had set enough that cavities could have been sealed, and by the next day it had set even more but was still creamy and somewhat soft.  I can see this ganache paired with an apricot pâte de fruit.


    Another crucial question:  would this creamy, custardy ganache have the high water activity level I anticipated?  It did not--the reading was 0.70.  I'm guessing that the added solids (cornstarch and milk powder) were responsible for that.  I haven't begun experimenting with added sugars (glucose, invert, sorbitol).  The breaking of the ganache would also suggest that even less chocolate could be used.  The advantage to this filling for me (over, say, a regular vanilla cream ganache such as Notter's or a buttercream using fondant, butter, and chocolate) is that it needs less chocolate to get it to set, thus allowing for more flavoring to come through.  Perhaps even that elusive blueberry flavor or, the most challenging for me, peach flavor?


    Further experiments will involve using dark chocolate instead of white and adding vanilla seeds and extract for a buttercream/crème brûlée filling.


    If anyone can point out any pitfalls in this experiment, I would welcome that information.  For example, does cornstarch do something terrible inside a bonbon?  Is this filling more likely to have mold grow?  I don't think Aw can fully predict mold growth, but am not sure about that.


    This recipe reminded me a bit of Notter's lime ganache, in which he uses pectin to thicken the ganache, allowing for less chocolate to be used and for more lime juice to be added for a stronger flavor.

    This is fascinating. I've been trying to replicate a Nanaimo Bar in a bonbon and trying to achieve that Birds Custard creaminess with the chocolate flavour coming only from the shell and not resorting to a coconut/vanilla white chocolate ganache. Being a Brit I am very familiar with Birds and will have a go at this ganache using the shop-bought version (which is pretty easy to find here in Canada). Thanks for the info!

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  3. On 10/11/2020 at 7:43 PM, Jim D. said:

    A few things I learned in my long packaging search:  Early on I decided I wanted trays to hold the chocolates rather than putting them in individual cups.  Trays speed up the boxing process so much that I think of them as a necessity.  But trays also carry huge restrictions:  You have to find ones into which your chocolates will fit, and although there are many, many trays available (mostly sourced from Mod-pak), I was surprised at how restrictive they are.  If you make small bonbons, you will be fine with what's available, but if, like me, you make larger pieces, problems ensue.  Speaking from experience, I can say that custom trays are very, very expensive, and finding a company that makes them in relatively small amounts is daunting.  These manufacturers are used to making 10,000, maybe 50,000 trays at a time for grocery businesses and usually can't be bothered with a boutique business.


    And then there are boxes.  Again, if you make small bonbons, you have lots of choices, but obviously, if you use trays, the boxes need to fit the trays.  But the height of bonbons is something I didn't think of at first.  I need boxes that are 1.5" high, and very few of those exist (that I could find, at least).  So I had to go with custom boxes.  I like them very much, and I finally found a reliable company that would make them in lots of 500.  But they equal (at least) the cost of making the chocolates themselves.

    As I read this I was nodding the whole time. I’m at the point of looking for some custom boxes for all the above reasons and wonder who you ended up using?


    I have also started making some cylindrical “snack bars” which are popular and open some decorating opportunities. I would like to find a box (probably square) with a tray that will separate 3-5 of these snack bars but have not yet been successful in sourcing anything. Anyone have any advice on these?


    By the way this forum is a gold mine of information. Thanks for everyone’s input!!

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