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  1. Has anyone made the Meltaways from the Greweling book? What is the purpose of tabling the mixture? You can't temper peanut butter, and they're covered in powdered sugar for handling so you can't tell if they're perfectly shiny. I was wondering if it's just a question of agitating the mixture while the fat molecules are doing their thing in the cooling process, why can't you just put it in a mixer with the paddle on low speed? Wouldn't that essentially do the same thing? I was wondering the same thing about a small batch of cream centers, instead of using the giant ball mixer which takes 30 minutes to clean, could you add the whipping agent and cool them while they thicken in the Hobart? Thanks, Reb
  2. Forgive me if this question has been asked & answered before. I tried doing a search but scouring through 40 pages of search results was taking too long. I'm wondering if it's okay to use hardware store tools that aren't necessarily designed for use with food when working in the kitchen. Specifically, I want to get a scraper that's about 8" wide to use on my chocolate molds. Ones available from JB Prince, Chef Rubber or other pastry/confectionery supply companies cost $20-$35. An 8" drywall taping knife from a hardware store would cost less than $10. If the blade is made of stainless steel, cleaned thoroughly and used only for this purpose, is there any reason why I shouldn't use these less expensive tools?
  3. Parts of this show are interesting, especially the ideas they come up with using chocolate. It started Tuesday on TLC and appears to be on for the next few Tuesdays. Is anyone else watching it?
  4. I have been up in Manitoulin Island for the last few weeks working and I always like to bring along a new project to work on that I can't find time for at home. You might recall that last year it was making a silicone mold for chocolate (that would be the groundhog that everyone found quite amusing). This year, prompted by Lloydchoc's suggestions in this thread I purchased a copy of American Cake Decorator magazine of May/June 2003 to help me get started and worked my way from there. So follow along and see what we have accomplished so far. I started by obtaining the emulsion. This is the stuff that is applied to the screen. The American Cake Decorating magazine said to get Ulano TZ/CL (CL for clear) as it is food grade. In speaking with Ulano directly, they told me that while this is the one everyone uses for chocolate transfers, they have never gone to the expense of having it declared so by the FDA. Essentially it is a mixture of poly vinyl alcohol (PVA) and diazo dye. Diazo dye is light sensitive and causes the PVA to harden when it is exposed to light. The first problem I ran into was that no one in Canada carried that particular emulsion so they would have to order it from the US. By the time all was said and done I was forced to purchase 4 - 4 litre containers of the stuff. Once you have mixed it up you need to use it within several months, so I poured off 1 litre, weighed out 1/4 of the diazo dye and mixed that. I couldn't help but notice that the base - the PVA - smelled and looked just like white glue. A little research online has convinced me that it really is just white glue, so right now experiments are underway to test this hypothesis. These are pictures of my screen. It is an 80 mesh which means it has big holes compared to the usual silk screen. It means that your print won't be quite as crisp, but lots of coloured cocoa butter should get through. The two sides of my 80 mesh 'silk' screen. Polyester actually. I purchased the screen at Screentek, the same place I got the emulsion. Andria there gave me a quick lesson. Originally I had planned to expose the screen using a 150 watt light bulb as shown in the cake decorating magazine, but Andria convinced me that she had a great customer who lived on Manitoulin Island and she had already told her what I wanted to do, so I should go and visit her to expose my screens in the most professional way. I stopped in at Bebamikawe Studios the first day I worked at the clinic in Wikwemikong. There I met Georgina, the proprietor. She is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art and runs a very sucessful business making signs, screen printing on fabric and other items, and embroidering traditional native designs on clothing, moccasins and various other items. She was rather intrigued with this whole chocolate idea, but was rather unclear about what a chocolate transfer was. The following pictures are to illustrate applying the emulsion to the screen, this is Georgina at work. Note the even, smooth strokes. Nothing like my application. But like she said, she does have over 20 years experience doing it. This is actuallly the experimental emulsion that I made with white glue on one of her reclaimed screens. The emulsion is poured into the applicator. The emulsion is applied to the screen with the applicator in a thin layer. You do the flat side of the screen first then the raised side. In this way you end up with a thicker layer of emulsion on the side that will be down when you are printing. The emulsion then needs to dry overnight protected from light. A couple of days before I went down to Wiki, Beth (Beth Wilson on eG) from the Manitoulin Chocolate Works and I spent the afternoon in her brother in law's print shop getting our images prepared. It is important that the image be crisp and clear and that the lines are thick enough to show up when printed. For example a flowing script that has a loop in a letter may not actually end up with a loop when you are done. I had Keith take the script from my label and rearrange it in a way that should print well. Beth had him take an image of Manitoulin Island and add the initials MCW for the chocolate works under the island. Two transparency copies are made of the desired image and taped together to make the image as black as possible. The image is placed on a table that contains some extremely strong lights. The frame is placed on top of the image. The screen is placed over the image. Care must be taken in determining which way is up, you want to end up with a backward transfer so that when you apply it to your chocolate it is the right way around. A vacuum is applied to the frame with it's attached transparency. This holds everything in place and minimizes extraneous light. After about 8 minutes under the strong lights, the emulsion has hardened and you are ready to wash the screen. After exposure to the light a strong steam of water washes away the areas masked from the light by the black printing. Now we were ready to try to learn to print our transfers. Beth and I taped a piece of overhead projector acetate to the counter and prepared the coloured cocoa butter. I mixed some melted cocoa butter with powdered PCB dye on a piece of marble. I worked it until it was starting to firm up but wasn't so stiff if wouldn't flow. I used the heat gun to warm it again if it got too stiff. The coloured cocoa butter pool. Note the tongue depressors taped to the frame. This holds the screen an 1/8th of an inch or so above the transparency so that it springs back after the squeegie is applied. Getting ready to flood the screen with the coloured cocoa butter. The initial squeegie to push the cocoa butter into the screen. Note that I am holding up the end of the screen that is towards me in order not to print on the acetate yet. The final squeegie to push the cocoa butter onto the transfer. Beth's transfers in blue. Very early on the learning curve as you can see. Beth's transfer in dark chocolate. My first attempt in blue. The chocolates with the transfers still in place. After peeling off the transfers. My trials with gold coloured cocoa butter. After showing the dark chocolate and blue transfers to Georgina she showed me how she floods her screen for printing T-shirts. So on this attempt I dragged the squeegie over once to fill the script, then went back over it a couple of times to make sure there was lots of cocoa butter over the lettering. When I pushed down for my final squeegie application I got a reasonably good application. Of course you have to work quickly before the cocoa butter starts to firm up or your screen will glue itself down to the acetate. There is a bit of a problem I have yet to sort out, the edges have more intensity of colour than the middles. When I get back home I'll take my screen and cocoa butter etc and head back to screentek and get Andria to watch my technique and give me suggestions. This is what happens to transfers after the dog hauls them out of the box and licks each one to get the chocolate off. Not a single transfer escaped his tongue. Total cost - $74 Cdn for 4 litre pail of emulsion, $22 for applicator, $17 for squeegies, $20 per screen. Cost for Georgina to copy our images on to the transparencies and expose them $55 for both screens. We could have saved $30 by printing our images to the transparencies ourselves.
  5. Hi, I was wondering if anyone out there has experience in vacuum sealing their chocolates before they are frozen, as mentioned in the Peter Greweling book. Any info, would be greatly appreciated. Luis
  6. After thumbing through some old threads, I ran across the name of Raindrop Chocolates, regarding placse to get Gelato in Houston. After dinner last night, we decided to stop in and check it out. They have wonderful gelato. My wife got the blood orange/chocolate, and I got the lemon custard. The intensely nuanced flavors of each, plus the fact that we were having something made from blood oranges in September, led me to ask the owner where he got his citrus. He said he orders them from Sicily. Everything is fresh and wonderful. We will definitely make this place a regular after-dinner stop.
  7. [Moderator note: This is part of an extended topic that became too large for our servers to handle efficiently, so we've divided it into shorter segments; the preceding part of this discussion is here: Homemade Marshmallows: Recipes & Tips (Part 1)] I just made the most beautiful marshmallows. I made peppermint marshmallows with peppermint oil. I swirled in red food coloring. After about 18 hours I cut the marshmallows into squares. Then I microwaved a bar of Lindt 70%. I stopped before it melted and stirred until smooth. I dipped the top into the chocolate. I sprinkled a little crushed peppermints on top. For the first time ever my chocolate stayed in temper. They are gorgeous, I wish I had a picture to post. They are also incredibly delicious. I made MS marshmallow recipe. It is smaller than the recipe here. So that 1/8 teaspoon oil was pretty strong. I stopped when it tasted great. Yum!
  8. Hi to All, I have been reading the chocolate/confectionary related posts for a while now and have finally gotten around to upgrading so I can start asking some questions! Something I have been wondering is what makes the liquid centers in moulded chocolates? (eg., a lemon myrtle or violet cream where you bite into it and a "syruppy" centre runs out). Is it something I can make at home? Is it a fondant that has something added to make it form the liquid? Any help appreciated
  9. Hard to believe there isn't a topic on this one yet! I try to go to Lady M (at 78th and Madison) at least once every couple of months to sample the Mille Crêpes and an individual pot of the Lady M Grey tea. I've found the service to be...um...not so much lacking as it is ditzy. Everyone is sweet as pie, but it can be a nightmare getting seated or asking for the check. Today it was the former. I met my brother around 4:45, and we went in. There was a small line for tables, and we put our name down. A couple came in behind us and put their name down as well, then ran out to check out a store. They came back in, stepped in front of us, and were seated ahead of us. Not usually a problem (and not the couple's fault at all), but my brother was in a time crunch, and I was peeeeved. We ended up being seated quickly after that, and all was fine. Jeremy had a sort of banana cream pie type thing (sorry, they don't allow pics, and this one isn't on their site) - it was fabulous. Crisp, super-flaky pastry. Mountains of cream. And bananas galore. It was perfect with his hot chocolate. I made myself deviate from the usual Mille Crêpes and instead went for the Choux fromage (labeled Gateau au Citron on the website). It was delightful - cheesecake filling (though light as air and lemony) sandwiched between layers of pate à choux. Our check came uncharacteristically quickly.
  10. I'll be heading out west again, and have a hankering for some delectable chocolates and cakes. The last time I was in Vancouver, I tried Thomas Haas chocolates (Yum! Esp. the Campari ones...) and Ganache Patisserie (delicious and very well-constructed mini cakes). Are there any other can't-miss chocolatiers and patisseries in town that I must try? Thanks!
  11. After Kerry's marvelous explanation of the making of molasses honeycomb chips, I was moved to wreck my cookbook budget for the next few months and pick up "Choice Confections" by Walter Richmond. (Well, okay, I also picked up Morimoto's cookbook.) Although I've only had a few hours to glance through it, it brought up a couple of questions I have for experienced candymakers...regarding English Toffee. First, he talks about adding "Baker's Special Sugar" to the mix to start the graining. Now, I'm confused about this ingredient. Some sites refer to it as basically superfine sugar (so I'm thinking Domino's superfine will do the trick). Others seem to list Baker's Special Sugar as being a coarser grade than superfine, so I'm wondering if superfine will work. I would think so, but I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with this. Second, he talks about aging the toffee for a week before selling it. I'm wondering if this will accomplish what's been my "holy grail" of English Toffee since I started making it: creating a toffee that doesn't stick to your teeth when you chew it. It seems to me that much commercial toffee doesn't stick to your teeth; it somehow seems a little "drier" when it's chewed. My homemade toffee, which always gets eaten in a few days, tends to stick when chewed. I'm pretty sure I've got the temperature right, so I've been thinking it's a matter of ingredients...but Choice Confections has me wondering if it's a matter of age instead. --Josh
  12. I just got email from www.notterschool.com announcing their new 24 week pastry course. It's in Florida and is just under $18,000. Taught by Notter, Anil Rohira and celebrity guests. I met Chef Rohira in Maryland last year and really liked him. He is an easy personality and wants to share information and help his students succeed.
  13. My friend just got back from Belgium and England (bringing lots of chocolate to taste) and said one of her favorites were the creme fraiche chocolates (and these she didn't bring back for me to taste). A quick internet search shows that a number of chocolatiers offer them, but there is no description of the praline itself. So does anyone know, is this a ganache using creme fraiche in place of the cream or something else? A very basic recipe would be welcomed.
  14. This is one of a series of compendia that seeks to provide information available in prior threads on eGullet. Please feel free to add links to additional threads or posts or to add suggestions. Jacques Genin and Pierre Marcolini Chocolate Recon Lovely chocolatier Questions about a la Petite Fabrique Chocolatiers of Paris NYT Buche de Noel C Constant
  15. Ummm I have done some mint chocolates in the past and I have used the peppermint extract, but I feel that the taste isnt that soddisfacent,so I did another batch with fresh mint instead ( I saw many chocolatiers make it with fresh mint ),so i did it , and finish up the chocolates. Unfortunally I tryed one yesterday and the taste its very very weird , too weird to be selled , the only positive thing is that it leaves a great fresh back taste in your mouth , but the firts taste I dont know how to explained but it is weird like you can actually taste the plante inside , I would say not too appealing. Now I am going to try a different appoach just to experiment something, I made some fondant and Im going to mix it with som epeppermint extract ( I need to find some mint syrup ) and the fill the chocolates with that. What are your experience with mint? And did this weird taste ever accour to any of you guys? Thank you
  16. I worked out the details to colour the coat on these bunnies and showed one of my students how to make them. She is trying to make 30 of the middle sized rabbits for someone in time for easter, and is molding them solid rather than hollow. She has found they are frequently breaking at the neck or feet. I have had similar problems with some of my figural molds in the past. I have a lovely Antoine Reiche mold of 3 rabbits and a basket and when molded solid it often breaks across the neck of one of the rabbits. I also have a fabulous chef mold that breaks at the feet almost every time. The chocolate appears to be well tempered, it unmolds cleanly. Any thoughts?
  17. I'm looking at buying confection frames for ganache centers. Does anyone know where to buy them other than Tomric (they dont stock anything and I don't want to wait 3- 4 weeks) or Pastry Chef (to expensive)? Here's a link to what I'm looking for. http://www.tomric.com/ItemDetail.aspx?cmd=local&item=4969 Thanks in advance.
  18. Hello to the EGullet community. I own a small artisanal chocolate company, and I'm in search of a good supplier of custom European-style candy boxes. Currently I'm covering 2-pc boxes by hand; very pretty but it just takes up too much time. [Time I'd rather spend making chocolate!] I'd like to find a supplier who can furnish the hot-stamped box, candy pads, candy trays (blisters) and custom-stamped ribbon. The level of quality I'm looking for is similar to what you would find in La Maison du Chocolat boxes. Does anyone have a recommendation? Thanks in advance!
  19. For my first eGullet post I thought I'd do something meaningful, so therefore it involves two favorite things - beer and chocolate. For the grand opening of my husbands brewpub, I'd like to surprise him with some themed molded chocolates, the theme being beer. I'm thinking about a stout flavoured filling and perhaps something made with malt syrup and maybe a hint of hops. Anybody have experience with any of this? I've dabbled with making a stout flavoured ganache (Young's chocolate stout, cream, chocolate), but the stout flavour was way to subtle, ie. basically non-existing... All ideas regarding this theme are most appreciated. I've only got the kitchen in my home, but a good supply of chocolate-making equipment (and experience) as well as access to good quality chocolate and all sorts of beery ingredients. Thanks Mette (no longer an eGullet virgin)
  20. Minister of D®ink and I are thinking of venturing out in the real world after a few more inches fall. I've never not gone to a bar on a snow day since I've been of boozing age... Minister's still partially honoring the early stages of the South Beach Diet...and I'm pretending to follow in his foot steps. So, where can we go to get a hot drink that's cooler than our Tazo teas at home? Someone said Oyamel for hot chocolate? Why is this? Please help! Our wagon is out of fuel.
  21. I'm looking to order some chocolates for Valentine's day. In the past I've ordered from Jubilee Chocolates and Vosges Chocolate and really enjoyed them. We like to try something new every year, and here are some places I'm looking at this year: http://normanloveconfections.com/ http://www.elbowchocolates.com/ http://www.chuaochocolatier.com/ http://www.recchiuti.com/ Has anyone tried any of these places? I would love to hear some opinions. Thanks!
  22. Hello all - can anybody school me on pralines? I live nowhere near the south (I'm from NY) and have never been there with the exception of Florida when I was 9 so I have nothing to reference this on but, what is the proper texture for a praline? I had never seen them before except on tv so I attempted to make my own, and they look like all the pralines that I've seen but I was a bit surprised at the texture. It was almost like vanilla fudge with nuts in it. Are they supposed to be a little bit gritty/lightly sandy? Is that how it's supposed to be? I used Shirley O Corriher's recipe that she has in her book, Cookwise. She has two recipes, one from a friend of hers, and another her own. I used her friend's recipe and it was supposed be all authentic and stuff.
  23. I would like to send a gift of caramels to a friend but am not sure it is feasible. I am planning on freezing them and then shipping the caramels overnight. Fed Ex won't do it so I guess I am stuck with UPS. I can't be the first person to do this, can I? Is this absurd? Can I do it? How? Help!
  24. I asked a friend of mine to build a guitar cutter for me. He is a professional fabricator and based his design on specs found on this website and other pictures I could find online. It's a beautiful piece of equipment. The problem is that it doesn't cut through my caramels. I cook them to just below the hard ball stage then set them in a caramel ruler. When I try to cut them, the wires just don't make it all the way through, though it perforates enough where I can then follow the lines with a pizza roller. So my question is this, am I having problems because the wires aren't right (I don't know enough to tell you what kind of wires they are) or do those of you with professional guitar cutters have the same problem?? Thank you diana
  25. I buy pate de fruits whenever I find them, and particularly like these: http://www.recchiutichocolates.com/home.htm. Now I'd love to try making them. Any tips?
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