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Jim D.

Inclusion of Cookies in Bonbons

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This topic developed from the thread on including marshmallow in bonbons but was not directly related to that discussion. Many people include cookies of some sort in their chocolates, and it seems to be very popular with customers. I would like to try this idea and had some concerns about shelf life and how it might be affected. I (and many others) have long included feuilletine in bonbons, and that is, of course, a form of cookie. I mentioned my concerns in the marshmallow thread but decided to post a question on The Chocolate Life:  "Does including something like shortbread or a cookie do anything to lower shelf life or present other problems with safety?" I received the following thought-provoking response from the owner of that forum:

 

 

Quote

 

The answer is ... maybe; a lot depends on what you are adding and its shelf life. If you have any questions about shelf life you should do the testing. At the very minimum you should test for water activity (aW). The amount of free water in a recipe is a primary determinant of shelf life at room temperature. Water is the medium in which spores will grow. The ingredient you add could have spores, or you could be mixing some in after opening and breaking down into small pieces.

 

Regulations for working with pasteurized milk (when making ice cream for example) require that the milk be repastuerized after opening because it is assumed that simply breaking the seal on the container and opening it will introduce bacteria that must be killed by heating.

 

 

 

The statement on pasteurized milk regulations brings up the issue of sanitation: after milk is repasteurized, what is to prevent it from being recontaminated once it is exposed to air for even a few seconds? Obviously the regulations must envision a zone somewhere between complete absence of contaminants and total disregard for sanitation. Once I make a cookie I hope to include in a bonbon, I will test the aW; I would expect the water activity level of something like shortbread to be quite low, but we will see.

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1 hour ago, Jim D. said:

The statement on pasteurized milk regulations brings up the issue of sanitation: after milk is repasteurized, what is to prevent it from being recontaminated once it is exposed to air for even a few seconds? Obviously the regulations must envision a zone somewhere between complete absence of contaminants and total disregard for sanitation.

 

After the re-pasteurization, they'd be looking for best practices on cooling and storage.  Cool to 40F within a few hours, store below 40F and make sure other contaminants don't enter.  

 

A dry ingredient isn't going to offer the growth potential, so they are more concerned with storage and handling - are (graham crackers, pretzels, cereal) kept airtight where mice can't get in and not touched with bare hands or cross contaminated with peanut butter?

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I thought I should report on my first attempt to include a cookie in a bonbon. I used Ina Garten's recipe for shortbread cookies, rolling the dough between 1/4 and 1/2" thick and cutting circles about 1" in diameter (the smallest cutter I have); I baked them until they were crisp and just starting to brown. I then created a dark chocolate shell (a deep cavity). I piped in a little salted caramel. On top of that, I piped in almond gianduja, making sure the caramel was totally covered. I left quite a bit of space above the almond. I dropped one of the cookies on top, then covered each with more almond. I capped the bonbons and just finished eating one. It is definitely something I will make again. Because the cookie is surrounded by gianduja, it is still crisp--and should stay crisp--though that is something I will watch. I did not cover the caramel with cocoa butter to keep it from softening the cookie, but that might be necessary if its moisture migrates to the cookie. I made several different thicknesses of cookie. The best ones were the thinnest, so in the future I will cut the individual pieces 1" in diameter and about 1/4" in height, then flatten them a bit so that they will come closer to filling the cavity side to side (this would depend on what diameter your cavities are). I think it's important to pipe the gianduja two times, as otherwise the cookie will probably leave gaps, and it is my understanding that air spaces in bonbons are not good. Final bit of information: I tested the free water activity of the cookie (see earlier in this thread for a warning I had received about this issue), and it was only 0.20. For those unfamiliar with such readings, that is very low.


Edited by Jim D. (log)
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I remain pleased with the inclusion of a shortbread cookie in a bonbon and have refined the logistics of getting it in the shell successfully. Now I would like to find a way to include those same cookies in a truffle.

 

I make a chocolate chip cookie truffle by creating a ganache with Dulcey, cream, and molasses, then add coarsely chopped dark chocolate and pecans, and roll the mixture into balls, which I dip in dark chocolate (milk also works) and decorate with either more chopped pecans or cocoa nibs. I think adding pieces of the shortbread cookie would contribute a great deal toward reaching the taste of an actual chocolate chip cookie, but of course there is the issue that a ganache will soften the cookie bits (in my current use of the cookies, they are surrounded with gianduja, so no problem). I can't make this as a bonbon because the pecan and dark chocolate pieces cannot be piped successfully. But I'm stuck with how to protect the cookies in a ganache.

 

I've had a couple of thoughts:  (1) Turn the base mixture into a gianduja with Dulcey and some sort of nut paste (pecan probably). But that leaves out the molasses taste (which is meant to suggest brown sugar), and in my experience giandujas tend to get very firm--and regulating the final texture is nearly impossible because nut pastes vary so much in viscosity (you don't know how they will turn out until it's too late). (2) My other thought would involve the kind of detailed work that only a few (not mentioning any names ;)) would undertake:  bake the shortbread cookies not as 1" rounds but as small squares, which could be dipped in chocolate to protect them from the effects of the cream and molasses. These would be substituted for the chopped chocolate and would still suggest chocolate chips--with the bonus of the buttery cookie flavor from the shortbread bits.

 

If anyone has other ideas, I would love to hear them before I begin experimenting.

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To get reasonably uniform small cookie bits, you can chill or freeze your cookie dough then grate onto parchment via a box grater and bake.

 

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19 minutes ago, pastrygirl said:

 

To get reasonably uniform small cookie bits, you can chill or freeze your cookie dough then grate onto parchment via a box grater and bake.

 

That sounds entirely too easy!  Thanks for the idea.

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58 minutes ago, Jim D. said:

That sounds entirely too easy!  Thanks for the idea.

 

Oh, we can make it harder ... :ph34r:

 

How about this:  make shortbread with dark brown sugar and bake well.  Process to a paste and add melted white or blond chocolate, 1/3 to 50% of the weight of the baked cookies.  Temper and pour into a ganache frame to set.  Cut 15mm cubes of cookie butter gianduja.  Carefully smear dark chocolate ganache onto all sides of the cube then roll spherical and dredge in a mix of finely chopped pecans and cocoa nibs.

 

One restaurant I worked at had these cheese and grape "truffles" - you'd have to carefully smear soft cheese (blue or goat, I don't recall) in a thin layer to cover individual grapes, then roll in sliced almonds.  Tasty little bites, but tedious.

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1 hour ago, pastrygirl said:

 

Oh, we can make it harder ... :ph34r:

 

How about this:  make shortbread with dark brown sugar and bake well.  Process to a paste and add melted white or blond chocolate, 1/3 to 50% of the weight of the baked cookies.  Temper and pour into a ganache frame to set.  Cut 15mm cubes of cookie butter gianduja.  Carefully smear dark chocolate ganache onto all sides of the cube then roll spherical and dredge in a mix of finely chopped pecans and cocoa nibs.

 

One restaurant I worked at had these cheese and grape "truffles" - you'd have to carefully smear soft cheese (blue or goat, I don't recall) in a thin layer to cover individual grapes, then roll in sliced almonds.  Tasty little bites, but tedious.

 

When you refer to "cookie butter gianduja," you are referring to the paste + choc slab? This method would have the flavor, but I'm not sure how much crunch there would still be after the shortbread has been reduced to a paste.

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1 hour ago, Jim D. said:

When you refer to "cookie butter gianduja," you are referring to the paste + choc slab? This method would have the flavor, but I'm not sure how much crunch there would still be after the shortbread has been reduced to a paste.

 

Yes.  There's not much crunch, more of a sandy texture.  Definitely a different experience from solid cookie pieces.

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4 minutes ago, pastrygirl said:

There's not much crunch, more of a sandy texture.

Though you could make this and then fold in more crumb-sized cookie bits.  But not sure how that would guitar, baked cookies might be hazardous to the wires. 

 

Or do a more traditional gianduja or meltaway.  I disagree about the unpredictability of nut pastes.  Sure, the first time, but you can adjust.  For extra softening and to go with the cookie flavor, try browned butter.  I don't know how much you'd have to add to get it as soft and scoop-able as ganache, that would depend on if you're also adding nut oil.  I make a blondie topping with Dulcey and browned butter, pretty firm at 4:1, softer at 3:1.  Are the cookie pieces vanilla or chocolate?  I'm envisioning something like dulcey with pecan paste and browned butter with chocolate cookie crumbs and cacao nibs mixed in being pretty good ...

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For truffles i'd go with cookie bites (i like the idea of adding molasses or brown/raw sugar to your cookie to add flavor), about the gianduja paste is all about to the ratio of nut paste and cocoa butter in the mix, if it gets to hard just add a bit more paste for the next batch, with some time and practice you´ll be able to predict how much paste you need to add to achieve your desired result.

I'll just add as much cookie bites as you can to your truffle, people seem to love that!

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I just made 125 of the chocolate chip cookie truffles discussed in this thread. They were based on a ganache with Dulcey, cream, and molasses, plus chopped toasted pecans and the cookie bits described above. I thought the taste definitely suggested a c.c. cookie, and, thanks to the shortbread flavor, tasted better than the ganache had previously. I tried several methods of making the cookie bits, but the best (and least OCD) way of doing it seems to be to cut the (unbaked) dough with a long knife into pieces (roughly squares about 1/4" each dimension). Then I baked those and let them cool, then I placed them on parchment. I tempered some dark chocolate and poured some of it over a section of the cookie bits and quickly used a fork to coat the bits as thoroughly as possible. This is a race against the crystallization clock (perhaps the chocolate should not be tempered?), and it's not possible to coat every piece of cookie thoroughly. In any event I mixed those into the ganache after it had cooled to around 80F (so as not to melt the chocolate). It's difficult to form the truffles with the protruding cookie bits, but not impossible.

 

My results and resulting questions:  As I said earlier, the taste is what I was looking for. I do think the dark chocolate coated cookie pieces plus the dark chocolate coating on the outside may be too much. Maybe use milk chocolate for either the bits or the outside? The only disappointment was one of the points of including the cookies--to get cookie-like crunch. For a few days the cookie bits remained crunchy, but after a week or so, they were not. The taste was still there, but not the crunch. Every spot where the bits were not covered in chocolate they let moisture in. I would still include them in the ganache because of the substantial improvement in taste, but I'm back to considering a move to a gianduja so as to avoid the moisture problem entirely. So, as suggested above, a Dulcey and pecan gianduja, plus some chopped pecans and the chocolate-covered (mostly) cookie bits--or I could even add the cookie bits without any covering and some separate chocolate bits, to simplify matters considerably. I am still left with the missing molasses flavor.  The recipe does not include any glucose, or I would substitute dark brown sugar for that. Perhaps it could handle some dark brown sugar added to the gianduja, and that would balance the dark chocolate used inside and outside the truffle? But does the sugar have a strong enough molasses flavor? There is actually such a thing as dried molasses (much to my surprise), but it's a gardening product.

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6 hours ago, Jim D. said:

I just made 125 of the chocolate chip cookie truffles discussed in this thread. They were based on a ganache with Dulcey, cream, and molasses, plus chopped toasted pecans and the cookie bits described above. I thought the taste definitely suggested a c.c. cookie, and, thanks to the shortbread flavor, tasted better than the ganache had previously. I tried several methods of making the cookie bits, but the best (and least OCD) way of doing it seems to be to cut the (unbaked) dough with a long knife into pieces (roughly squares about 1/4" each dimension). Then I baked those and let them cool, then I placed them on parchment. I tempered some dark chocolate and poured some of it over a section of the cookie bits and quickly used a fork to coat the bits as thoroughly as possible. This is a race against the crystallization clock (perhaps the chocolate should not be tempered?), and it's not possible to coat every piece of cookie thoroughly. In any event I mixed those into the ganache after it had cooled to around 80F (so as not to melt the chocolate). It's difficult to form the truffles with the protruding cookie bits, but not impossible.

 

My results and resulting questions:  As I said earlier, the taste is what I was looking for. I do think the dark chocolate coated cookie pieces plus the dark chocolate coating on the outside may be too much. Maybe use milk chocolate for either the bits or the outside? The only disappointment was one of the points of including the cookies--to get cookie-like crunch. For a few days the cookie bits remained crunchy, but after a week or so, they were not. The taste was still there, but not the crunch. Every spot where the bits were not covered in chocolate they let moisture in. I would still include them in the ganache because of the substantial improvement in taste, but I'm back to considering a move to a gianduja so as to avoid the moisture problem entirely. So, as suggested above, a Dulcey and pecan gianduja, plus some chopped pecans and the chocolate-covered (mostly) cookie bits--or I could even add the cookie bits without any covering and some separate chocolate bits, to simplify matters considerably. I am still left with the missing molasses flavor.  The recipe does not include any glucose, or I would substitute dark brown sugar for that. Perhaps it could handle some dark brown sugar added to the gianduja, and that would balance the dark chocolate used inside and outside the truffle? But does the sugar have a strong enough molasses flavor? There is actually such a thing as dried molasses (much to my surprise), but it's a gardening product.

For the times when I used cookie layers, I did it as a bottom layer rather than mixing it with the ganache (piped the ganache, placed a cookie on top then capped with chocolate.   I made the dough, rolled it out pretty thin, cooked it to a soft consistency, then used a cutter to cut small circles that fit inside my mold, then finished baking to a drier, crunchier texture.  Then I removed the discs and arranged them on a tray and used my airbrush to spray a layer of cocoa butter on the top and sides, then once that set, I flipped them over and coated the bottoms.  That way, you're not dipping in chocolate and creating that overpowering chocolate taste that you experienced.  I didn't test them beyond a week, but they were still crunchy after that time.  

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4 minutes ago, Bentley said:

For the times when I used cookie layers, I did it as a bottom layer rather than mixing it with the ganache (piped the ganache, placed a cookie on top then capped with chocolate.   I made the dough, rolled it out pretty thin, cooked it to a soft consistency, then used a cutter to cut small circles that fit inside my mold, then finished baking to a drier, crunchier texture.  Then I removed the discs and arranged them on a tray and used my airbrush to spray a layer of cocoa butter on the top and sides, then once that set, I flipped them over and coated the bottoms.  That way, you're not dipping in chocolate and creating that overpowering chocolate taste that you experienced.  I didn't test them beyond a week, but they were still crunchy after that time.  

 

I do something similar when making a cookie layer:  I pipe a little caramel in the bottom of the a large mold, then a little gianduja, then add the cookie layer, then a bit more gianduja. Protected from the caramel, the cookie stays crisp. I like your idea of baking the cookie dough a little, then cutting it. I have had trouble with the cookies spreading out (even after I chilled them) so much that they don't fit easily in the mold. I assume your method helps them maintain their size. I really had trouble finding a cookie cutter small enough to work, and as a result of buying several sets of miniature biscuit cutters, now have a large collection of such cutters.

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7 hours ago, Jim D. said:

There is actually such a thing as dried molasses (much to my surprise), but it's a gardening product.


I typed "molasses powder" into google and found a large number of culinary suppliers of said product. Be glad to link a few if you'd like but they came up right at the top of the search list.

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5 minutes ago, Tri2Cook said:


I typed "molasses powder" into google and found a large number of culinary suppliers of said product. Be glad to link a few if you'd like but they came up right at the top of the search list.

 

Thanks so much for researching that. My search for "dried molasses" came up with the soil additive--but I didn't go on to page 2 of the results, where the edible molasses powder appears. I will certainly give that a try.

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17 minutes ago, pastrygirl said:

have you tried Valrhona Orelys?  It's made with muscovado sugar, so more of a brown sugar flavor compared to the dulce de leche flavor of Dulcey.

 

"very sensual" https://www.valrhona-chocolate.com/orelys-35-blond-chocolate

 

No, I haven't. Valrhona has come out with several whites recently, and I kept buying a kilo of this one and that one (didn't care for Waina), but I finally gave up. I will give Orelys a try. Thanks for the tip. Actually I have never been a huge fan of Dulcey. I just looked up Orelys, and Valrhona tells me it has "hints of biscuit" so maybe I won't need my shortbread cookie bits! :D

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4 hours ago, Jim D. said:

 

I do something similar when making a cookie layer:  I pipe a little caramel in the bottom of the a large mold, then a little gianduja, then add the cookie layer, then a bit more gianduja. Protected from the caramel, the cookie stays crisp. I like your idea of baking the cookie dough a little, then cutting it. I have had trouble with the cookies spreading out (even after I chilled them) so much that they don't fit easily in the mold. I assume your method helps them maintain their size. I really had trouble finding a cookie cutter small enough to work, and as a result of buying several sets of miniature biscuit cutters, now have a large collection of such cutters.

My method is designed to make sure the cookie rounds will fit the mold after cooking.  If you cut them before cooking, they can spread and be too big.  For cutting, I use the wide end of a piping tip that fits the mold I use.  I have only found one actual cookie cutter that is the right size and it is sold in a set of 10 or 12 cutters of different sizes.  I have no use for the other sizes, so I never bought the set.  The piping tip works great and is easy to source.  

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15 minutes ago, Jim D. said:

Actually I have never been a huge fan of Dulcey

Blasphemy! :shock:

 

I was scared away by their description of licorice notes because I'm not a huge black licorice fan (though anise seed in biscotti is fine).  Orelys is a little bit licorice but I think more molasses.

 

See, this is why you need that stone grinder, so you can mill your own with brown sugar and cocoa butter.  ;)

 

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13 minutes ago, pastrygirl said:

 

See, this is why you need that stone grinder, so you can mill your own with brown sugar and cocoa butter.  ;)

 


I'm trying to convince myself I should invest in that Premier melanger. I'd be happier if there was a Canadian source for it just to cut down on shipping and border crossing fees but I've been tossing the cost vs. potential around in my head for a while now. It's not difficult to come up with ideas it would be useful for.

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On 4/5/2018 at 8:34 PM, Tri2Cook said:


I'm trying to convince myself I should invest in that Premier melanger. I'd be happier if there was a Canadian source for it just to cut down on shipping and border crossing fees but I've been tossing the cost vs. potential around in my head for a while now. It's not difficult to come up with ideas it would be useful for.

We can get Bhavani leave one here from the workshop and I can ship it up to you.

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Lead me not into temptation! You're removing one of my last reasons I've been able to come up with to talk myself out of it. :P How soon would Bhavani need to know for sure? If I'm weak and unable to convince myself I really don't need it, I'd prefer the non-tilting version if possible but I'm going to do one more round of soul searching before I commit if I have time.

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45 minutes ago, Tri2Cook said:

Lead me not into temptation! You're removing one of my last reasons I've been able to come up with to talk myself out of it. :P How soon would Bhavani need to know for sure? If I'm weak and unable to convince myself I really don't need it, I'd prefer the non-tilting version if possible but I'm going to do one more round of soul searching before I commit if I have time.

Probably before he comes up for the workshop. I think he's going to bring quite a few - several are spoken for but I'm sure there might be one or two left over. 

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12 minutes ago, Kerry Beal said:

Probably before he comes up for the workshop. I think he's going to bring quite a few - several are spoken for but I'm sure there might be one or two left over. 


I will make up my mind in a timely manner.

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