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Chris Hennes

Confections! What did we make? (2012 – 2014)

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Jim D.   

Just getting cool enough to think about making chocolates (at least in a well air conditioned room). Clockwise from top left: muscovado sugar salted caramel, mint, peach buttercream, and mint (again).

attachicon.gifmint-peach buttercream-muscovado sugar salted caramel - 800 x 600.jpg

If you wouldn't mind revealing secrets, I am very interested in your peach buttercream. I can't tell you how long I spent trying to develop a peach filling for chocolates that really tasted like peaches. They were always completely bland and overwhelmed by the chocolate surrounding them. How did you do it?

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curls   

Just getting cool enough to think about making chocolates (at least in a well air conditioned room). Clockwise from top left: muscovado sugar salted caramel, mint, peach buttercream, and mint (again).

attachicon.gifmint-peach buttercream-muscovado sugar salted caramel - 800 x 600.jpg

If you wouldn't mind revealing secrets, I am very interested in your peach buttercream. I can't tell you how long I spent trying to develop a peach filling for chocolates that really tasted like peaches. They were always completely bland and overwhelmed by the chocolate surrounding them. How did you do it?

Actually, I was not 100% satisfied with the peach buttercream piece. As a stand alone filling it did have peach flavor but it was a mistake to shell it in dark chocolate. I felt that the dark chocolate shell overwhelmed the peach filling. If I try this flavor again, I have a few ideas: shell in milk chocolate, shell in white chocolate, do a dipped piece with a layer of peach buttercream and a layer of peach pate de fruit. Also, if shelling in milk chocolate or white chocolate still overpowers the filling, I would try a two layer molded piece with peach jelly and peach buttercream.

The filling was based off of Grewlings buttercream recipe in his At Home book. Ingredients were butter, fondant, my homemade peach jam, and some apricot liqueur (Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot). I had to add far more jam than Grewling specified to taste the peach. The apricot liqueur also helped bring out the peach flavor.

When I was done with the peach buttercreams I remembered reading your entries about trying to make a peach chocolate. Mine still needs some tweaking but the samples were enjoyed by all. Peach is a far more subtle flavor than many fruits!

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Minas, please tell me that blueberry rock candy was for a Breaking Bad party or something... looks very meth-like :)

Haha, I'm afraid not! Just a little project that didn't need much attention!

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Heres from the past few weeks. My take on the classic Altoids, then there is chocolate, salted caramel, and coconut macaron, cherry pate de fruit, chocolate fudge, some pastillage, then peppermint rock candy.

Altoids.jpg

Assorted Macs.jpg

Cherry PDF.jpg

Chocolate Fudge.jpg

Pastillage 1.jpg

Pastillage 2.jpg

Peppermint Rock.jpg

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When I look at this thread, I know that I can’t claim to be a candymaker. You all just slay me! I don’t even understand what you are talking about sometimes, but I read and look and drool all the same. Thank you all so much for taking the time to share your wonderful work!

Some good friends who have multiple fig trees invited us down for a visit and to pick figs. I jumped at that and came home with TONS. Most of them ended up as candied figs.

med_gallery_3331_122_18465.jpg

Dusted with sugar:

med_gallery_3331_122_79161.jpg

These are perfectly luscious – soft and chewy and full of fig flavor. A serendipitous result of making the candied figs is the syrup that results from simmering them in a sugar/water mixture. The syrup is fantastic over pancakes and such.

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When I look at this thread, I know that I can’t claim to be a candymaker. You all just slay me! I don’t even understand what you are talking about sometimes, but I read and look and drool all the same. Thank you all so much for taking the time to share your wonderful work!

Some good friends who have multiple fig trees invited us down for a visit and to pick figs. I jumped at that and came home with TONS. Most of them ended up as candied figs.

med_gallery_3331_122_18465.jpg

Dusted with sugar:

med_gallery_3331_122_79161.jpg

These are perfectly luscious – soft and chewy and full of fig flavor. A serendipitous result of making the candied figs is the syrup that results from simmering them in a sugar/water mixture. The syrup is fantastic over pancakes and such.

Those looks fabulous! Why not stuff a couple with a nice dark chocolate ganache flavoured with a bit of orange oil and grand marnier - I'll bet folks would swoon.

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Kerry - oooooohhhh! That sounds incredible. If you would only give me directions for doing that ganache, I promise to do just that!

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Kerry - oooooohhhh! That sounds incredible. If you would only give me directions for doing that ganache, I promise to do just that!

  • 200 grams milk chocolate
  • 150 grams dark chocolate
  • 125 grams cream
  • 40 grams glucose
  • 30 grams butter
  • 50 grams grand Marnier
  • 2 drops orange oil
  • Melt chocolate and have at about 30 degrees C, warm cream and glucose to about 40º C. Stir together until emulsified, stir in booze, orange oil and softened butter.
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Kerry - bless you, my dear! I've printed that out and will get to it this weekend!

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Kerry - sorry to be a bother, but one question from this metric-hampered American. Are all the measurements by weight? Thanks!

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No - the two drops aren't! (LOL)

Let's see - I can't give you the chocolate by cups - but 1/2 cup cream, maybe 2 tbsp white corn syrup (glucose), about 2 tbsp butter and 1 1/2 ounces booze.

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Heres some things I've been working on recently. Candied mango, candied clementine, coconut pomegranate pate de fruit, playing with luster dust as a garnish for macaron, strawberry banana berlingots, and, saving the best for last, molded Captain Morgan cordials.

Mango.jpg

Clementine.jpg

Clementine 2.jpg

Coconut Pom.jpg

Spattered Macs 2.jpg

Strawberry Banana.jpg

Cap Morgan.jpg

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Hi minas, how did the clementines turn out.

What method and proportion do you Use for candying your fruits?

Serious work.

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Hi minas, how did the clementines turn out.

What method and proportion do you Use for candying your fruits?

Serious work.

Thank you! I pretty much just followed the guidelines that Greweling lays out in Chocolates and Confections. I blanched the clementines, then added them to a 40º brix syrup. Each day I boiled the syrup to increase its density by 5% each day. I've noticed that on some fruits I'm able to go a bit faster, especially with pineapple and mango, but when I'm doing whole citrus fruits, like the clementines ot kumquats, I go a bit slower on increasing the density of the syrup, since going too fast seems to contribute to the fruits collapsing on themselves.

Overall though, I was quite pleased with the clementines. They were more or less just like a citrus confit, except they are left in spheres rafher then just the cut rind, but it still makes for a cool presentation.

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Jim D.   

Minas,

Your work is beautiful. Do I recall correctly that you are fairly new to experimenting with sweets? I am impressed.

I have a question that is not directly related to the confections themselves: Your photography is extraordinary. I just got a so-called macro lens for my Nikon digital camera to take closeups of chocolates for creating a guide that I include with each box, but I do not get the clear results that you do. Most of mine are either not close enough or turn out blurry in spite of the camera's autofocus. Do you mind telling a little about how you take the photos and what lens you use?

Jim

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Minas,

Your work is beautiful.  Do I recall correctly that you are fairly new to experimenting with sweets?  I am impressed.

 

I have a question that is not directly related to the confections themselves:  Your photography is extraordinary.  I just got a so-called macro lens for my Nikon digital camera to take closeups of chocolates for creating a guide that I include with each box, but I do not get the clear results that you do.  Most of mine are either not close enough or turn out blurry in spite of the camera's autofocus.  Do you mind telling a little about how you take the photos and what lens you use?

 

Jim

Hi Jim! I got into sugar work and candy about three years ago, when I look back at my old photos I realize I'm doing things I never thought I'd bother with, like the candied fruit, not to mention the cordials.

I'm also quite flattered you enjoy my pictures, that's something that just sort of came along by accident. I found that the lighting in my kitchen is actually quite nice during the daytime, that makes the biggest difference for me. I don't want to sound like I'm giving you photo advice, because I know very little about photography. Pretty much all my photos from the past year and a half have been from my droid x2 cellphone. After a while I started to see what kind of lighting made for the best photos. As of about three weeks ago, I just replaced that phone with a galaxy s3, that's what the last batch of photos were taken with. So truthfully, I don't know anything about lenses or anythng, I just take photos from various angles, various plating arrangements, and then there's usually a handful of photos that stand out to me. So sorry I can't give any real advice, I just got used to using my phone!

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Mjx   

. . . I got into sugar work and candy about three years ago, when I look back at my old photos I realize I'm doing things I never thought I'd bother with, like the candied fruit, not to mention the cordials.

. . . .

You wouldn't happen to have done more blown sugar work, recently? Those apples you made we stunning.

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. . . I got into sugar work and candy about three years ago, when I look back at my old photos I realize I'm doing things I never thought I'd bother with, like the candied fruit, not to mention the cordials.

. . . .

You wouldn't happen to have done more blown sugar work, recently? Those apples you made we stunning.

Hey thank you! I haven't done much more blown sugar lately, but I've been wanting to do a snowman for a while, so that will probably be coming up soon :-)

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minas, did you do a starch mold for the captain morgan cordials?  

Oh no, those aren't dipped. I made shells in a polycarbonate, boiled the syrup and deposited once cool.

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minas, did you do a starch mold for the captain morgan cordials?

Oh no, those aren't dipped. I made shells in a polycarbonate, boiled the syrup and deposited once cool.

Did you have any trouble backing them off?

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