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  1. I've included a link to a video where a food engineer explains how the various textures and characteristic of nougat are achieved. Cocoa butter is sometimes added to torrone recipes for a more tender texture. Greweling's book has a soft chocolate nougat (think Milk Way style) recipe that includes fat (chocolate and additional cocoa butter) and dry ingredients (milk powder, cocoa powder, and confectioners sugar) and the sugar syrup is cooked to 245°. It produces a soft, short textured (crystallized) nougat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdWmulnsVQw
  2. A lot of kitchens aren't very compatible with chocolate work. Too hot, humid, and too many ambient food odors like garlic, onions, etc. I'd inquire with local ice cream shops. I know someone who was able to start out sharing a space with a small ice cream business. Where I live, this is an ideal situation since chocolate season starts ramping up when ice cream season winds down.
  3. I'm hoping to attend, but I'll know for certain closer to the date. You can put me down as tentative.
  4. For a 100% hydration starter (this means the water weighs the same as the flour) you would use equal amounts, by weight, of the ripened starter, flour, and water. You could take one ounce starter and add one ounce of water and one ounce of flour - reserve the rest of the old starter in the fridge as a back-up, just in case. To cut down on wasting flour and having my starter take over the entire kitchen, I usually do a small amount like this until I am planning to use it. Then I will give it frequent feedings and increase the amount according to how much I will need for the recipe.
  5. Candy cups come in a number of sizes. Do you know what size you tried? You should be able to find one that will fit appropriately to secure the pieces and keep them from moving around.
  6. It really depends on your taste. Also, you're right, ginger can vary a little, and some may be more potent than others. If it were me I would try it out with a small batch - maybe a couple lbs total for all ingredients, and I'd probably just throw a few 1/8" thick slices of ginger in when the cream is added and cook with the caramel until it's done. Just remove the slices before you pour out the caramel to set. You can always taste the caramel as it's cooking and add more ginger if you don't think the flavor is pronounced enough. If you want to add more ginger but your caramel is close to being done cooking, you can just add a little water to set it back and give it a little more time for the additional ginger flavor to infuse.
  7. Since chocolate liquor/baking chocolate is roughly half cocoa butter and half cocoa solids, you could probably mix equal parts by weight of your favorite alkalized cocoa powder and cocoa butter. If a recipe called for 2 ounces of unsweetened chocolate, you could melt 1 ounce of cocoa butter then stir in 1 ounce of cocoa powder and proceed with the rest of the recipe.
  8. For unsweetened chocolate, I like Scharffen Berger. I see that Target has the 9.7 oz bars for $5.99. That's still going to be closer to $10/lb though.
  9. My Matfer dipping forks are my favorites. Tapered plastic handles that are narrower where your fingers grip and a little wider at the end. I think the newer ones have a slightly different shaped handle now though. The ones I have look more like the Martellato forks I've seen online (Ateco has a set that looks similar too). Padernos have a chunkier handle, but I don't care for the shape - seems like it might be a little more awkward to hold. Still, the second I can afford a Selmi Plus with the enrobing attachment, I'll be ecstatic to never have to dip by hand again.
  10. A lot of cash and carry places will sell to the public. If you live near a city large enough to have any bakery supply companies, they might sell to you if you ask. You might have to buy 50 lbs of cream fondant, but you will likely get it cheaper than a much smaller amount elsewhere. It keeps for a long time, and you'll probably use it for other things as well.
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