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Red food coloring questions, pink pralines/praline roses


jedovaty
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Hi!  My secret goal is to make pink pralines (aka rose pralines) both for eating and baking.  The recipes call for red food coloring.  My only experience with food coloring was a few years ago, when I attempted to make various pastries extra hippie with vegan and natural ingredients.  The homemade beetroot powder was an epic failure, which looked great until baked (made the macarons look like desiccated dog doo, you know, the kind that gets left out in the grass for months).  In other words, I don't know anything about food coloring and research so far has not addressed my questions.

 

Questions:

 1. will cochineal-based food coloring hold up in high heat of making pralines, and then ultimately in baking?

 2. would someone be kind enough to point me to a carmine/cochineal-based food coloring?  I can't seem to find it after about 30 minutes of google searching, everything is about safety or how to make your own (which I will do if necessary)

 3. what is considered an upscale brand for food coloring (doesn't matter if synthetic or natural) ?

 4. how would people in the 1800s have colored the pralines pink, since that's when these things were presumably first created?

 

Thanks for your time :)

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‘Praline’ can refer to a number of things, can you be more specific?  Since you mention high heat I’m thinking of the mostly sugar pecan pralines from the southern  US but I don’t know why you would subsequently bake those. 
 

For reputable brands I recommend ameri-color and Wilton gel colors. 

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Hi, I made at least two terminology flaws in my post, my sincere apologies. 

 

First, I totally forgot there are multiple definitions to praline.  These are not the candy brittles where you pour out a caramel sauce with the nuts and let harden, but rather, toss the nuts in a caramel until the sugar crystalizes and the nut/sugars all become their own entities.  Let this cool, and repeat.  Here's an example, and just your luck, this guy is making exactly what I plan to make (I will follow his technique, but may make changes to the recipe).

"High heat" - anything over boiling is high heat to me, however, I realize now that is wrong.  What I meant, is, will the color stand up to the temps of sugar candy making, and baking temps of 350-450?  Or maybe a better question to ask, what is the upper temp limit for carmide/cochineal coloring before it loses its color?

 

There are recipes that bake the pralines into breads and brioches, and that's ultimately my goal (look up "pink bread" or "praluline").

 

Thanks again for your time!

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Thanks for clarifying, and no need to apologize.  I think I've seen those before, maybe Francisco Migoya did a brioche with them?  Traditional to some part of France?

 

The candying steps will be relatively high heat, hard crack sugar is 300F + and the pan itself will be hotter.  But if you're mixing the finished candy into bread dough, only pieces that stick out above the crust will be subject to high oven temps, the internal temp of a baked loaf of bread is only about 200F. 

 

I have no idea about natural colors but anything artificial and meant for candy or labeled 'bake stable' should work.  I did an art project last summer with big slabs of hard crack colored sugar, pretty sure I used my usual gel/paste colors, the colors remained vivid.

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Okay, well, thanks anyway, I appreciate the help 😁.  I can't find any food coloring that uses the bugs, so, I'll just have to make it, and see how it turns out.  Maybe I'll try the beetroot powder as well, who knows.

 

I suppose this is all french.  While researching, I learned the brioche Saint-Genix was the first, which is why I'm curious how they colored foods back then without red #40.  Then some frenchman dude named Pralus repopularized it in the 1950s and trademarked it as the praluline.  I'm debating whether to make the brioche all egg or milk + egg, I'm only made the latter but the former sounds intriguing.  Here's the one my friend sent me that revealed the rabbit hole I fell into: https://www.chocolats-pralus.com/product/la-praluline-r-600g

 

This Pralus dude's website also has the pink pralines for sale, where they list the ingredients in french.  I ran that through google translate, and it looks like they use almonds, two kinds of hazelnuts, sugar, glucose, and red #40.  Which now actually brings up a few questions just out of curiosity..  1) what's the purpose of glucose here, maybe to make the candy smoother?  2) should I roast the hazelnuts first? and 3) remove skin from almonds and hazelnuts?  I wish I had more time and space so I could test all these things out myself.  Roasted hazelnuts taste so much better than raw, but I've never actually baked with them.

 

It's also interesting this dude's pralines do not include the orange blossom or rose waters, that all the other online recipes use.  Hmmm.  And I just finished distilling some rose water since my citrus trees don't have any blooms right now.  Phooey!

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When you make these your not having to bring the sugar up to 300f, you can get the sugar to crystalize at a much lower temp. In the video he boils the second and third portions of sugar to 255f. In Chocolates and Confections, Grewelings formula for dragees is only cooked to 230, so extreme heat isnt really needed, its the constant agitation that will crystallize the sugar. There still is a small portion of water in there, even though the sugar is crystallized, and he dries them in an oven, but personally I kind of feel like a better result is gained from air drying over a few days.

 

What coloring do you have access to? Like @pastrygirl americolor and wilton are generally pretty easy to find, but of course thats going to vary by location. keep in mind when your coloring these, your going to have to use more color then you might be inclined to use. If you made these with no color, as you agitate the nuts in the pan, they would be white. So the amount of color you add needs to counter that for such a vibrant pink/reddish color.

4 minutes ago, jedovaty said:

Which now actually brings up a few questions just out of curiosity..  1) what's the purpose of glucose here, maybe to make the candy smoother?  2) should I roast the hazelnuts first? and 3) remove skin from almonds and hazelnuts?

I think the glucose is there so the end product has a smaller crystal structure, so its just more pleasant to eat, and its is going to be a small percentage of glucose here. If you want more roasty flavors, then yes. Even though the nuts are going into a hot syrup, they arent really going to get roasted unless you melt and caramelize the sugar, then your looking at those hotter temps. You dont need to roast, but you can, just depends of the flavor your looking for. I kind of feel like your decision to remove the skins is more dependent on of your roasting them, especially the hazelnuts. I'd just try a small batch, these are pretty easy to make up. I know you said you dont have much time, but these aren't too time consuming. Really, its going to be something you have to play with, your not going to get it perfect your first try.

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Thank you, @minas6907, that's very helpful!  Regarding your note on air drying, won't they get sticky if left in the air to dry?  Sugar is hygroscopic from what I've seen, and seems to suck up moisture in the air.  I live very close to the ocean, with relative humidity generally ranging 50-75%. 

 

I have one small non-stick pan, and two stainless steel pans.  I'm assuming pan doesn't matter when making the pralines?  I typically make dry caramel in the stainless, so, hopefully won't scorch anything.  Should be fun :) 

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31 minutes ago, jedovaty said:

Thank you, @minas6907, that's very helpful!  Regarding your note on air drying, won't they get sticky if left in the air to dry?  Sugar is hygroscopic from what I've seen, and seems to suck up moisture in the air.  I live very close to the ocean, with relative humidity generally ranging 50-75%

That's true, sugar is hygroscopic, but the sugar on the nuts would be crystallized. Crystallized sugar won't absorb moisture the same way non-crystallized sugar would. Fudge (crystallized) left in the open air will dry out, while hard candy (non-crystallized) will become a sticky mess. Personally, I think it would be fine to leave them out, but that's part of what works well in your environment. 

 

35 minutes ago, jedovaty said:

 

I have one small non-stick pan, and two stainless steel pans.  I'm assuming pan doesn't matter when making the pralines?  I typically make dry caramel in the stainless, so, hopefully won't scorch anything.  Should be fun :) 

It's probably not as big of a deal, but generally I wouldn't use a non stick pan for anything sugar related. Like it's doable in both, just like the video you linked to above, but I'd still use the stainless pan.

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@minas6907 Great, thanks!  The bit about moisture absorption is most helpful, that actually makes sense now considering other confections I've had in the past.  I'll report back with results, I think I'll try with standard food coloring first to make this easy then explore making my own from pulverized bugs later. 

 

It looks like finding food coloring for baking will need to be ordered online, the local arts/crafts stores only have stuff for icing, bummer.  There's a culinary store near my sibling which carries the "Chefmaster" product line, but can't tell if it is heat stable.

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15 hours ago, AAQuesada said:

I'm sure you know this already but the book 'Let's eat France' has a  nice couple pages on these including this blurb which might be of interest

I did not know, and thank you for that!  Dead bugs in my amazon order 😁

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if you just want the powder to make the water, it's available here, too:

 

https://tkbtrading.com/products/carmine-powdered

 

i will say beet can be pretty hit and miss. i bake with beets periodically and i find that the pigment can be pretty unstable at heat and various pH levels. the surface of products will often remain red, say, while the internals of a cake will be bright yellow.

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I have no idea how it would work in sugar, but Trucolor has made a heat stable red food coloring for baking. I bought it to try for Red Velvet cake, but haven't had a need to make it yet, so I can't say what it's like. But you could research and see. 

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@RWood Perfect, thank you!

 

Here's my first try using the basic recipe to understand technique.  I'll experiment later.  Mix of almonds and hazelnuts, raw, with skin.  Tastes like candy with a lot of sugar.  I suspect removing skins will have little to no impact, and roasting the nuts may be too strong, but, we'll see :D  Next batch only change will be some corn syrup (okay sub for glucose, right?) to see what happens to texture.  Also, pan with taller sides.

 

A fun thing to make, not overly difficult, just a generally clumsy nature means it is time to clean the kitchen 😭

PXL_20210622_024822018.jpg

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I think a lot of the places that make pink pralines do a final coat of gum arabic, so they're smooth to the touch - yours look a little rocky.

 

You may want to try panning your pralines, if you want to do any large quantities. @Kerry Beal is a good person to ask about this, among many others.

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I can say I’ve had good experience with Americolour red gel colouring (used it in high temperature applications too). If you don’t have a panning machine at home or access to one I do remember Heston jerry-rigging one out of an empty coffee tin and a hair dryer

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Considering these are destined for baking, so will melt a bit, doesn't seem like there's a need to pan them.  You did make me curious so I will do a little research and see if there's an easy way to do this easily at home without many tools.   My first thoughts are turning the stand mixer or my wet grinder into something like this.  Meantime, I'll work on technique, too, I was not shaking pan much and that would probably help reduce the rockiness.

The instructions in the video I linked to earlier talk about letting excess crystalized sugar remelt in the pan a little at the 2nd and 3rd coating stages.  I did try this, and the bottom of the pan became glossy, but I couldn't get it to stick/coat the nuts anymore.

Thanks all for the advices this was fun 😁

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40 minutes ago, jedovaty said:

Considering these are destined for baking, so will melt a bit, doesn't seem like there's a need to pan them.  You did make me curious so I will do a little research and see if there's an easy way to do this easily at home without many tools.   My first thoughts are turning the stand mixer or my wet grinder into something like this.  Meantime, I'll work on technique, too, I was not shaking pan much and that would probably help reduce the rockiness.

Yeah, it just depends on what the final use is for. Since they are going into baked goods, they don't need to be perfect. You could get them very smooth with a panning unit, but be sure you know what your getting yourself into haha. I've been down this road, unless you happen to be extremely handy with tools, it's probably best to purchase an attachment that is made for a stand mixer. Search for panning here on the forum, there's alot there. 

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@minas6907That attachment is pricey, yikes.  Converting the stand mixer doesn't seem too difficult.  It's more difficult to commit to NOT doing it, everything in me wants to pursue the perfect pralines for the brioche, but I'm going to have to draw the line now.  I think these would be good in ice cream, too.

Taking a slight tangent, I tried two different brioche styles side by side: one more typical with milk, eggs, butter, and the other without milk with increased eggs and butter.  It's so strange I could not tell the difference between the two in taste (single blind test), with only a slight color difference!  Also, need to really load up on the pralines in the brioche, I thought I put in a lot but clearly not enough.

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On 6/20/2021 at 7:57 AM, RWood said:

I have no idea how it would work in sugar, but Trucolor has made a heat stable red food coloring for baking. I bought it to try for Red Velvet cake, but haven't had a need to make it yet, so I can't say what it's like. But you could research and see. 

Their "liquid baking" product has carmine in it (the bugs!).  I will get some, easier than making it myself, thank you for this :)

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  • 3 months later...

I've completed a few tests, just to wrap up any lose ends.  Following the technique of that Bruno dude's video I linked to earlier in making these pralines (3 coatings in pan).

1. Shaking the pan a lot near the end causes more white peaks, but a smoother praline

2. After three sugar coatings, I cannot tell the difference between roasted and unroasted hazelnuts and almonds, and even less so once baked into the brioche

3. Skinning the nuts doesn't really do much in terms of flavor or mouthfeel

4. Both the vegan and bug options of tru-color held up in the oven with my sourdough brioche

5. To maintain color, I had to use the tru-color in each stage, 15-20 drops (2-3g I think?)

6. I added various amounts of glucose from 5g to 20g during each of the three stages and couldn't tell what it did, if anything

7. Need to add WAY more pralines into the brioche dough at the end, I was doing 50% by weight, and they just migrated to the edges during final proof, rather than remaining inside

 

Picture shows tru-color food coloring before baking.. bugs on left, beets on right.  In the pastry pic, I forgot which side was what, but, color clearly held up in both.  Thanks for playing along and all the help in this thread :)  Brioche in the picture looks a bit gooey and doesn't do it justice, I opened it before allowing it to cool, but was one of the softest and fluffiest I've made (almost ate the whole thing in one sitting oops).

pink pralines.jpg

brioche st genix.jpg

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