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I'm a Brit. I'm also a closet Frenchman. To cap it all, I'm happily retired in Bangkok, the city of a street food culture that's second to none. The Thais are healthy and slim. I'm just this side of alive and far from slim. Lockdown has me fantasizing about my days working in London, Paris and New York, an existence, if one could call it that, revolving around gastronomy of one kind or another. They paid me, not so very much as it happens, to do what I enjoy doing most in life. We all get to do it, but I was one of a fortunate few who made it his metier. Well all that's in the past now, but I still dream of my time in Paris when lunch was a tad short of 2-hours, little-known local bistros remained affordable until the day they were discovered by La Bible (Michelin Guide) and the students were revolting - this was the summer of '68, for heaven's sake. Someone should open bistro here in Bangkok with a table d'hote of Soupe a l'Oignon gratinee, Blanquette de Veau, a stinky Epoisses and Tarte Tatin to finsih with creme fraiche. Ah, it's back to lockdown and pad Thai.
Here's where I'm at with baker's percents:
150% Salted Butter
58% Trader Joe's 72% Belgian Chocolate (I don't enjoy super chocolate-y brownies)
100% All Purpose Flour
Melt butter with chocolate (I take it to 170F). Mix in everything but eggs. In separate bowl, whisk eggs and then add eggs to everything else until just incorporated.
Bake at 275F for 70 minutes
My goal is Two Bite Brownies. I'm looking for an end product that's chewy and a bit dry with a homogenous texture. I don't want any fudgyness- at all, and, right now, even with 70 minutes at 275, my end product has a super fudgy crumb and a crispy exterior. I don't want a cakey texture either. This is the territory that I'm shooting for:
These are not exactly Two Bites, but, if you look at the beginning, you'll see that the crumb is pretty dry. The only major difference I'm seeing between their process and mine is that they add the flour last, while I add the egg last. They don't show the flour being mixed in, but they do show the batter being dispensed into the baking pans and it definitely looks a bit thick- not cookie dough thick, but definitely not batter-y either.
The goal is a brownie with more of a cookie texture, which might mean less eggs, but, before I take that direction, I wanted to see if anyone here had some thoughts on this.
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:
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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