What are the best, darkest chocolates you've found in wholesale quantities? Aside from 100%, that is ... I'm thinking in the 75-90% range, available in quantities of 5-20 kg. It's definitely niche, but between the chocolate nerds and the low-carb-ers there's a market.
Right now, 72% Felchlin Arriba is the darkest I use, in a bar with candied orange. I have not tried their Elvesia 74% or Sao Palme 75% but it looks like I can get them from AUI. A Felchlin 88% exists, but would be a special order arriving in a few months (their next container shipment?).
Valrhona makes the Abinao 85% but that would be another special order. I'm pretty sure I tried it at one point and liked it. Does anyone keep it in stock?
How is KaKao Berlin? They have a Brandenberg 75% but I'm not familiar with the brand.
Any others? Or I could make my own and have the super dark be my one bean-to bar flavor ...
Does anyone have any tricks for making small balls of caramel (suitable for panning with sugar and chocolate)? So far I've tried making a batch of caramels, cutting them into little squares after they cool, and rolling them by hand into balls, but I very quickly run into the problem of the heat from my hands warming the caramels enough to release some of the fat from the butter in the caramel, making my hands too greasy for rolling. I could cool the caramels first to minimize this, but then they'd be too hard and won't change shape. I solved a similar problem when hand-rolling chocolate truffles by coating them in cocoa powder first - can I do something similar by tossing the caramel squares in powdered sugar first, or will that cause the caramels to crystallize?
Does anyone know of a source for a vegan confectioner's glaze suitable for sugar/chocolate panning (for sealing the candies from the Evils of the Outside World)? I have a couple of friends who are vegan or vegetarian, and I'd like to avoid being a total jerk if I can help it ("Look at these tasty treats I made THAT YOU CAN'T EAT!! MWAHAHA!!"). I need small quantities, as this is just for occasional home use.
Here's a fun little recipe I put together - it's a bit casual and unrefined, so I won't be at all offended if any experts jump in with improvements, but it's pretty easy to make, and makes a really tasty treat
Toffee covered Marshmallows:
1 lb. bag large marshmallows (large homemade marshmallows should also work - feel free to give it a try)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 stick butter (or 1/8 lb., for non-US people who wonder what the heck a stick of butter is)
A splash of water (yay for exact measurements! )
Also needed: 4 or 5 skewers (preferably metal), and a reasonably heavy coffee mug
1. Remove the marshmallows from the bag, separate them, and put them in a plastic bag or other suitable container in the freezer. It's OK if they are touching in the bag, but make sure they're not squished together.
2. After a few hours, add the rest of the ingredients to a saucepan (use just enough water to wet the sugar so it doesn't burn as easily) and cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally.
3. Cook the mixture until it just starts to turn brown - if you have a candy thermometer, this will be around 290F/143.333C. If you don't have a candy thermometer, just occasionally put a drop of the mixture on a white plate to check the color (then put "candy thermometer" on your shopping list, because candy thermometers are awesome)
4. Once it starts to just barely (but definitely) start to turn brown, take the pan off the heat, turn the stove burner down to very low heat, and put the pan back on (you want just enough heat to keep the mixture from cooling too much, but not so much heat that it continues cooking) - this is the toffee that you will dip the marshmallows into
5. Take the bag of marshmallows out of the freezer, stick a marshmallow on the end of a skewer, and dip it into the toffee. You must dip it quickly, so that the marshmallow doesn't melt, and also try to avoid dipping it in far enough that the toffee gets on the skewer (toffee on the skewer makes it really hard to remove the marshmallow cleanly)
6. Find someplace to stick the skewer while the toffee cools (this only takes a minute or so, but the toffee will stick to anything it touches until then, and it will probably drip until it cools). My recommendation is to put the aforementioned coffee mug on a plate (to catch drips), and place the end of the skewer in the coffee mug (see photo below) to hold it.
7. Once you've dipped the fourth or fifth marshmallow, the toffee on the first one you've dipped should be hard, and you can use a fork to ease it off the skewer so you can dip another marshmallow
8. Continue dipping marshmallows until you run out of marshmallows or toffee, or get tired of trying to keep them from sticking to each other in the coffee mug.
-The heat from the toffee mixture slightly cooks the marshmallow, so you'll end up with a slight campfire-marshmallow flavor once you get through the thin candy shell - it's really quite tasty!
-The toffee should drip off in long thin drips like in the photo (these easily snap off once the toffee cools. If you are instead getting thick oozing drips that make it look like the marshmallow is trying out for the part of "elephant" in the school play, you are dipping the marshmallows in the toffee for too long and they're melting - dip quicker
-keep the marshmallows at least one inch apart in the coffee mug - if they make the slightest contact with each other, they'll stick permanently (and they make this really cool marshmallow-toffee bridge when you try to pull them apart). This will happen at least once in the process - just consider them samples for quality-control purposes
-For those who are afraid of boiled sugar recipes, try this one out - just take your time and be very careful not to drip any toffee on yourself, and you should do fine. Feel free to message me if you have any concerns - I'm happy to help people get into candymaking
-The toffee shell is quite happy to suck up any humidity in the air, so once they're made, they need to be eaten within a few hours or they start getting sticky on the outside - this is either a good point or a bad point
I'm a small-scale hobbyist candymaker (making things for myself and friends, not for sale), and I'm interested in learning more about sugar panning (mostly soft sugar panning, but also interested in hard panning). I recently made myself a panning machine, and understand the very basics of the process, but I'm finding it difficult to find thorough information on the process that is useful for home candymaking - most of the information I have found so far has been of the sort "here is how to use this product that you can only buy in 100-lb quantities", or "this $200 industry manual has a section on panning techniques that may or may not be useful, but you can't tell until after you buy it". Is there a good book/website/other source that thoroughly explains all parts of the panning process with enough detail to figure out how to do things with the materials at hand, and more importantly how to know at each step if things are going right? I have access to the book "Confectionary Science and Technology", which has been a HUGE help, but there's still quite a bit that it doesn't talk about.
I also have a couple of specific questions, and would appreciate any info:
1. How do I add color? Adding gel food color to the syrup only provides slight coloration, and I have food color powder but am not sure if I should add it to the syrup, to the sugar, or just it to replace the sugar.
2. I have some carnauba wax to use for polishing, but I can't find any info on how to use it - do I just pour a small quantity of melted wax to the centers in the pan? Do I need to mix it with anything?
Huge thanks in advance for any information you can provide.
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