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Problem with filled/inclusion bars


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Hi all.

 

My chocolate bars are usually pretty basic, just chocolate with nuts or other flavouring sprinkled on top. Yesterday I had some homemade shortbread lying around and thought it might be nice in a bar. I wanted it to stay crunchy so broke it up and mix it through the chocolate rather than having it on top and exposed to the air. I just did a small amount to see if it would stay crisp, and poured it out onto some parchment. This morning the top looked perfect, but when I turned it over the bottom was covered in oil. It looks like the shortbread pieces sank and created pinholes in the chocolate where they touched the parchment, then when the chocolate contracted it must have squeezed the fat out of the cookie pieces and through those holes. The result was a very tasty snack for me but if that happens on parchment I guess it would do the same if I tried it in a tablet mould. I'm not used to mixing inclusions through my bars but I'm trying to do some more interesting flavors and was hoping this would be one of them. Is this a common problem with high fat inclusions? Is there any way it can be prevented?

 

I also tried to do a caramel filled tablet and it was a disaster. I treated it like a bonbon mould and tipped out the excess chocolate to form a shell, then filled it with caramel and left it overnight before capping it off. The cap seemed to contract so much that it bent the whole bar into a crescent shape! I was planning to do some with caramel and some with praline like tablets I've seen from French chocolatiers, but how do you get them to stay flat?

 

Any advice would be much appreciated! Thanks x 

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  • 2 months later...

I don't have any answers for you (I'm relatively new to chocolate myself), but I love the sound of your experiments and I share your curiosity about keeping inclusions crunchy. I'm interested in putting some crispy inclusions in my bars and also into my molded bon bons (but worried about the ganache making everything soggy). Let me know if you have any wisdom to share on the topic :)

 

-Seth

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I can speak only of bonbons. I often add crunchy things to my chocolates--sometimes just crushed feuilletine, but also shortbread cookies, caramelized nuts, and crushed caramel bits. The only way I know of to keep them crunchy is to surround them in something that is all fat. That eliminates ganache, which will eventually soften such inclusions, but includes gianduja, meltaways, and simply chocolate.

 

In the case of the shortbread inclusion,  I partially fill each cavity with some gianduja or meltaway mixture, add the cookie, pressing it into the first layer, then add more gianduja/meltaway to cover the cookie.

 

In the case of caramelized nuts, I put some caramelized and chopped nuts in the bottom of the cavity, then cover them completely with melted chocolate or, again, gianduja. Note that the chocolate layer needs to be quite fluid so as to surround the nuts thoroughly and not leave air pockets--so this is a rather messy job.  I don't just add the nuts directly to the gianduja because I want them to remain as larger pieces than will pass through a pastry bag. For a while I was puzzled that in Peter Greweling's recipe for a whole hazelnut submerged in ganache, the nut managed to stay crunchy. But recently I tried a leftover piece of chocolate with that filling and discovered that the nut had softened.

 

And, finally, in a piece that is meant to simulate crème brûlée, I make a hard caramel, crush it, spoon some into the bottom of a mold, then melt some white chocolate and pipe in enough to cover the caramel bits completely, let it firm up, then pipe in vanilla butter cream. As simple as that item is, people love the surprise of the crunch in the bottom.

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On 4/17/2019 at 11:27 AM, sarah72 said:

I also tried to do a caramel filled tablet and it was a disaster. I treated it like a bonbon mould and tipped out the excess chocolate to form a shell, then filled it with caramel and left it overnight before capping it off. The cap seemed to contract so much that it bent the whole bar into a crescent shape! I was planning to do some with caramel and some with praline like tablets I've seen from French chocolatiers, but how do you get them to stay flat?

 

Sorry, I had meant to respond earlier, hopefully you're still around.

 

I make a lot of bars and have had that issue.  I think it's just the nature of the beast that a flat layer of chocolate will curl as it contracts.  My approach is to work quickly and in batches so the bar is filled and completed before the first layer has fully released from the mold.   Once the bottom layer of chocolate is set, I invert the molds onto parchment and let them fully crystallize and release (in the fridge this time of year).  Then i just lift  the molds off when I'm ready to wrap the bars.   But say I'm making 40 molds worth of bars ... I have 40 molds but if I shelled them all then filled them all then capped them all it would take too long and the first layer would start to curl.  Instead I shell 6 or 8,  fill and cap all those, then do 8 more and by the time they're done the first batch is ready to pop out and I can re-fill those molds.

 

I used to make a caramel bar for which I would make a soft caramel, cool it in a thin layer, cut it into strips,  lay a strip into each bar shell, then bottom.  It worked well enough with my old molds.  I think your main misstep was waiting overnight.

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 10 months later...

Any advice out there on freeze dried fruit for bar inclusions? I see so many gorgeous bars with piles of freeze dried fruit on the and I keep wondering how the texture is kept crunchy? I opened a bag of freeze dried strawberries, resealed it, and a week later all of the crunchiness was gone - I cant imagine that they stay texturally pleasing Once they’re exposed to air on a chocolate bar. I am planning to give it a go - people are doing it, so it must be possible😁 - but wondered if egulleters had some tips for me?

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3 hours ago, Louise nadine brill said:

Any advice out there on freeze dried fruit for bar inclusions? I see so many gorgeous bars with piles of freeze dried fruit on the and I keep wondering how the texture is kept crunchy? I opened a bag of freeze dried strawberries, resealed it, and a week later all of the crunchiness was gone - I cant imagine that they stay texturally pleasing Once they’re exposed to air on a chocolate bar. I am planning to give it a go - people are doing it, so it must be possible😁 - but wondered if egulleters had some tips for me?

 

I've always assumed that the fruit gets leathery and weird and the chocolatiers are ok with that.  You'd have to fully enrobe the pieces in chocolate to keep them crispy. 

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5 hours ago, Louise nadine brill said:

Any advice out there on freeze dried fruit for bar inclusions? I see so many gorgeous bars with piles of freeze dried fruit on the and I keep wondering how the texture is kept crunchy? I opened a bag of freeze dried strawberries, resealed it, and a week later all of the crunchiness was gone - I cant imagine that they stay texturally pleasing Once they’re exposed to air on a chocolate bar. I am planning to give it a go - people are doing it, so it must be possible😁 - but wondered if egulleters had some tips for me?

 

I asked Wendy at Socola. She showed me the little pack of moisture absorbing stuff she puts in each package to take care of the problem.

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Ruth Kendrick

Chocolot
Artisan Chocolates and Toffees
www.chocolot.com

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1 hour ago, Chocolot said:

 

I asked Wendy at Socola. She showed me the little pack of moisture absorbing stuff she puts in each package to take care of the problem.

Ahhh. I thought about dessicants..I use them in my bags of English toffee. I didn’t think they would be up to the task of keeping freeze dried fruits crunchy - so that is good to know - thank you!

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3 hours ago, pastrygirl said:

 

I've always assumed that the fruit gets leathery and weird and the chocolatiers are ok with that.  You'd have to fully enrobe the pieces in chocolate to keep them crispy. 

That’s what i thought too! The part about having to enrobe them...but then you lose all that aesthetic appeal! I was so surprised at how quickly my bag of freeze dried strawberries went limp. I opened the bag once and then sealed it shut! I guess i will have to do some practical testing...I was just loathe to do it bc those little bags are so dang expensive 😬.

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