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I need some advice on a safe(ish), easy, and fast way to cut buttermints I often make buttermints for friends for the holidays, and have run into problems cutting them into bite size pieces before the sugar cools and starts to crystallize too much, so I'm looking for ideas on how to do it more quickly so I can do larger batches. Note that I am doing this at home and have very little budget, but on the plus side I don't need to end up with perfectly uniform pieces.
The basic process for making the buttermints is:
1. cook butter and sugar to 260 degrees
2. pour out onto buttered marble slab and let cool slightly
3. add color and flavor, and pull like taffy while it cools further
4. when it just starts to show signs of crystallizing, roll into ropes and cut before it crystallizes much further (I have maybe 2 minutes if I'm lucky to get all the cutting done)
The main problem I run into is that when handling the candy during steps 3 and 4, my hands need to be buttered so the candy doesn't stick to me, and even if I quickly wash my hands, any cutting tool needs to also be buttered to prevent sticking, and basically it's nearly impossible to maintain a good grip on anything. The second problem is that the candy at this point is hard enough that if I try to snip it with scissors it will tend to slide along the blade instead of getting cut, yet it is still plastic enough that if I pick it up it will tend to sag under its weight and thin out too much while I'm concentrating on getting the scissors to cut right. My best results so far have been with leaving the candy on the marble and cutting it with a pastry scraper, but pressing down hard enough to cut all the way through with a slippery (due to the aforementioned buttered hands) pastry scraper while trying not to gouge the marble underneath is not particularly fun. I did try pruning shears once because the curved blade holds the candy in place instead of sliding along the blade, which worked fine except for the fear of lopping off parts of a finger made it too nerve-wracking to be done quickly.
Basically, I'd love to find something that works like this, but for something with the consistency of a hard caramel:
Ankarsrum, the Swedish mixer of many names: Electrolux Assistent, DLX, Verona, Magic Mill...
I understand a few eGullet folks have these, or have had. Mine came this afternoon. From what I've read, mixing procedure with the Ankarsrum is different from mixing with planetary stand mixers. At the moment I need advice specifically with whether I should use the dough hook (with or without the scraper arm) or the roller attachment for my bread.
The Ankarsrum manual says to use the dough hook for dough with between 1 and 1.5 liters of liquid ingredients. OK. My usual dough recipe uses 410 g of water. Rose Levy Beranbaum in The Bread Bible says to use the dough hook when mixing less than 4 pounds of dough. Which if my math is correct is about 750 g of water (math is not my thing). Beranbaum adds "For larger amounts, use the roller and scraper."
Yet most bread recipes in the Ankarsrum recipe booklet that call for the dough hook use about a liter of liquid. The recipes that call for the roller use less liquid, 400-600 ml. Beranbaum is usually right but I'm wondering if she's wrong?
Thoughts or suggestions?
P.S. Sparkling Gold was not my first color choice. Sparkling Gold was perhaps not my thirteenth color choice. But Sparkling Gold was 10 percent off. Besides, the gold color matches the gold lettering on the bowl and dials. Now I feel better.
(Note: This topic was split from the Monkey Bread topic, to keep both discussions focused and relevant to the question at hand.)
I made inverse puff pastry last week for "chasson aux pommes" (apple turnovers). Never made puff pastry before. Beginner's luck, turned out beyond expectations, super layers, butter, crisp exterior, tender honeycomb inerior (even without yeast!!), lightly sweet, slightly tart, it took every bit of will power not to eat them before taking them to work.
Based on all the suggestions, I saved the scraps, and additionally separated them by size and shape. Seems like I can make something called "monkey bread", but I have no clue what that actually is. I've researched it, and it seems I should just bunch it up with sugar and bake... but these aren't yeasted, sooooo wouldn't bunching these up screw up the layers and make more of a pie dough squishy thing?
Reading the forums, with puff pastry I can make little cookies or crackers or other things. But I'm not quite sure how to do this? They are kind of small to twist into sticks or roll into arlettes? Help please and thank you??? 🤝
For now, I've put scraps in the freezer.
This is a slightly odd question, and I think this is probably the right place for it.
As I mentioned previously, I'm hosting a failed selfie exhibition and will be doing food and drink to match. One thing that I thought would be fun to do, however, was encase a functioning telephone in a set jelly/jell-O and have people call it. It would be set on vibrate, obviously
Anyway, this is not something I've done before, and the logistics are a bit interesting:
- How can I stop the jelly destroying the electronics? Would a phone survive being vac-sealed?
- Which proportion of gelatin to water do I need for structural stability, but maximum wobble?
- Would a larger jelly wobble more satisfyingly?
- Is a phone's vibrate setting even strong enough to wobble jelly?
- Fully transparent or coloured?
I don't intend to serve this as food, so food safety and flavour are not an issue.
All suggestions welcome.
I'm trying to make bonbons with milk shells for the first time and I'm struggling. When I melt my milk chocolate it is really thick. Is this normal? I'm pretty sure humidity is not an issue. I'm concerned that my shells wont empty out well and I'll be left with no room for ganache. I tried adding some cocoa butter last time but it affected the flavor.
Disclaimer: I'm using pretty cheap milk chocolate (Ghirardelli) cuz I'm still learning. If you think this is the only issue please let me know.
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