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Skwerl

Chocolates with that showroom finish, 2004 - 2011

587 posts in this topic

Norman Love does some exquisitely beautiful chocolates that are glossier than a new Ferarri. Mine have the finish of a 1995 Mustang that hasn't been waxed- Not bad, but nothing like Norman's. A lot like a plain old Godiva, in fact. How can I achieve that beautiful luster? On a separate note, what dyes do you recommend using in cocoa butter? The stuff I have (powdered, from Chocovision) doesn't dissolve well in cocoa butter, the colors are drab, and the results are less than wonderful. Thanks for the suggestions, guys and gals. :smile:

Norman Love Confections


Josh Usovsky

"Will Work For Sugar"

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a few months back somebody told me that you have to use a powdered dye in candy making....but im sure there are other things as well


a recipe is merely a suggestion

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I can tell you that Norman uses pre-colored cocoa butter that comes in squeeze bottles (check out Chef Rubber). And the luster he gets is from spraying the chocolate molds with colored cocoa butter using an airbrush, and then dusting with gold or silver powder. The thin layer of cocoa butter is actually quite transparent, so the metalic dust makes the colors really pop out.

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Hi Josh. Nice to see that you are still around. Chef Rubber does carry Colored Cocoa butter as well as warmers and airbrushes. They also carry edible pure gold and silver leaf, flakes, and dust, as well as powder colors and edible spray lacquer. Some of these were used in the sugar and chocolate showpiece classes at the World Pastry Forum in July.

The Chef Rubber web site seems to be down right now but there is a toll free number 1 888 830 3088 and I know its working.


Fred Rowe

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I was lucky to have attended a chocolate class by Norman Love (It really was Fabulous!). I've been using his techniques ever since and I can walk you thru what he does....................but I'm really limited on time right now due to Thanksgiving. I'll post more and share my notes as soon as I have more time.

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And the luster he gets is from spraying the chocolate molds with colored cocoa butter using an airbrush, and then dusting with gold or silver powder. The thin layer of cocoa butter is actually quite transparent, so the metalic dust makes the colors really pop out.

Thanks, Neil. I thought that's what might be involved. I have tried that cocoa butter trick before, but I do not have an airbrush so I tried to "paint" the cocoa butter on the molds. The result looked like absolute hell, so the layer must have been too thick. I must be doing something wrong when I try using cocoa butter with colors. The finish comes out dull and the colors are often murky. I am under the impression that cocoa butter just needs to be melted, in no specific way, as long as it doesn't get too hot. Is there some voodoo magic I can work to make my cocoa butter have mojo?

Thanks,

Josh


Edited by Skwerl (log)

Josh Usovsky

"Will Work For Sugar"

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I just bought some of the precolored cocoa butter from Chef Rubber . . . good stuff, very durable and great viscosity . . .

Remember if you are using cocoa butter nibs that they may need to be re-tempered when melting and if using precolored stuff, that overheating will make for a "untempered" product so heat just enough to work with (just as you do chocolate) :)

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I just bought some of the precolored cocoa butter from Chef Rubber . . . good stuff, very durable and great viscosity . . .

Remember if you are using cocoa butter nibs that they may need to be re-tempered when melting and if using precolored stuff, that overheating will make for a "untempered" product so heat just enough to work with (just as you do chocolate) :)

Actually, no, cocoa butter does not need to be tempered because it contains no sugar or cocoa solids. All you have to do is put the bottle in the microwave and nuke a bit at a time on medium, shaking occasionally, until melted.

To get a glossy surface when molding chocolates it's important how you treat the mold. Never wash with soap, only warm water. If you let air dry you might get hard water spots on the mold surface, so dry with a non-abrasive cloth. Before filling molds, polish the insides with a cotton ball.

You don't have to use an airbrush to apply the color. You can also use a brush, your finger, a Q-tip, or whatever - each will give you a different look. After applying color (and optional metalic dust), place the mold in the cooler for only a few minutes until the cocoa butter is completely set. Bring back to room temp before pouring in tempered chocolate to form shells.

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I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get back to this thread. I'm going to rewrite my notes pretty much word for word, as the demo was a couple years ago.

Norman buys his molds either from Chocolate World or Chocolate Chocolate companies. He likes the type that have magnetic closures. If you noticed, there are clear molds and opaque professional molds. After much experimenting he insists that the clear molds do provide as better shine on your chocolates, even though no one can figure out why that is.

He thinks American consumers buy first by the visual appeal and to make his line of chocolates different he's using color and transfer sheets for appeal. He really likes PCB Creations chocolate fat soluble colors and dusts. He heated some up the micro. to 98F and with a gloved hand first spread red PCB into his mold. Then he came back with orange and then a light dust of gold powder. When he unfolded these they were Incredible! He used a dark chocolate to mold and the gold made the two colors glow on top of the chocolate!

Before he molded any chocolates he temper it, etc.........and talked a bit about crystallization. There's 7 forms of crystal in melted chocolate. He didn't have any real tricks or short cuts on tempering and holding. Just mentioned how you need to keep adding your warm chocolate to your tempered bowl and agitate to keep what your working on warm. He thinks most people under heat and under agitate their chocolate while tempering. "Don't be scared and your MUST move around your chocolate to develop the good crystal."

He mentioned that when he rubs the color into his molds with his finger that process actually over crystallizes the chocolate and that makes the chocolate shinier.

Another technique he showed us was airbrushing color into his molds. He uses a 'mini spray gun set 250-4' made by Badger company (I've purchased this myself- it's aprox. $25.00). It's the cheapest air brush available. (It doesn't suck/feed the chocolate/liquid through the brush and that's why it works for this purpose without clogging up.)

Those are all my notes relevant to this topic. But I did save an article that was published in Pastry Art & Design (I don't know the year) specifically on Norman's technique of airbrushing. It was written by Stacey Kramer and photos were by John Uher. On the back page of this article is 'Pastry Tips' and Nicole Kaplan had the first couple tips written-.........so perhaps she might know which issues she has had tips published in. Nicole is a member here at eg.

My experiences following Norman's methods have been very successful. I think the shine on his domed chocolates is really about the mold itself. Because it doesn't matter what technique you use, everything comes out of that mold with a great shine. I purchased the same molds he uses from JB Prince.

I also ditto Neil's recommendations- you need to buff each compartment with a cotton ball each time you use it.........and never let your molds air dry (in fact you don't have to wash them-just scrap them clean).

Norman's technique where you see a swirled color blast is very interesting as I mentioned previously he credits the application process of rubbing it into the mold as over agitating it and that gives it more shine. But he also layers his colors for depth and frequently uses gold dust which really pops the sparkle. I credit the pcb colors as giving the best color effects in chocolate.........at least I can't get the same thing with powdered colors, yet.

The airbrushed technique doesn't give you any better of a shine then the rubbed on color. It's ONLY a different visual effect.........and because of the type of air brush used-you cannot get any fine details and it's a rather large stippled effect. BUT he does go back over his airbrushed molds with more detail, like adding a layer of a contrasting color or gold dust so they do pop visually also.

You dust the insides of you molds with gold dust before adding one color of chocolate....verses dusting them after they are molded. The gold dust is very interesting as are other metallic dusts.

Also as Neil mentioned, you should quickly refrigerate your molds to set the pcb colors before molding. You have to do that step because it takes a very long time for the colors to set. I just take it back out of the cooler, give it a minute or two to warm up to room temp. then mold.

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Thank you so much Wendy! Any ideas on where to get that mini airbrush? I've been looking for a less expensive way to get myself something to play with. I really enjoyed the airbrush work at the forum.


Pamela Wilkinson

www.portlandfood.org

Life is a rush into the unknown. You can duck down and hope nothing hits you, or you can stand tall, show it your teeth and say "Dish it up, Baby, and don't skimp on the jalapeños."

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White Chocolate Macadamia

Does anyone else think that this looks like that shape that the Red Shirt guys on Star Trek get turned into when they get zapped with that device that removes all their water and it dehydrates them into this mass thats basically just the minerals they are made of?


Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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Hi DuckDuck! :) You can get an airbrush with compressor for about $100 on Ebay. I am thinking of getting one myself for my chocolate projects. Did you make one of those "scary women" pieces that we had on the tables at the banquet?


Josh Usovsky

"Will Work For Sugar"

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Thanks for the info, Wendy. I think part of my problem in the past (much to my chagrin) was that I was trying to mold chocolate withmy enormous collection of flexipan molds. They looked slick inside, so I thought they'd be fine. Apparently not! Last week I ordered a bunch of polycarbonate molds from Kerekes (Bakedeco.com), and I bet that will help a lot. They're transparent, so I hope they're the same kind that norman and you use.

The part about agitation is also a surprise. I've been told to keep the stirring to a minimum when working with chocolate because too much stirring causes it to permanently thicken. There must be a happy medium. Can you recommend a vendor for the PCB cocoa butters, preferably one that will sell in small quantities?

Thanks,

Josh

Norman buys his molds either from Chocolate World or Chocolate Chocolate companies. He likes the type that have magnetic closures. If you noticed, there are clear molds and opaque professional molds. After much experimenting he insists that the clear molds do provide as better shine on your chocolates, even though no one can figure out why that is.

 

He thinks most people under heat and under agitate their chocolate while tempering. "Don't be scared and your MUST move around your chocolate to develop the good crystal."


Josh Usovsky

"Will Work For Sugar"

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I was looking on e-bay but it was difficult to wade through all the stuff they have when you ask for airbrushes and the stuff I was coming up with was more expensive than that. I wish that "scary lady" was my work! I believe Stephane did them all as an example for each class but my class was the first and he was just showing us how to make a stencil from a photograph and one of the people in my class asked if he would pour sugar over it and it became a showpiece by the end of the day. My work is a whole lot more simple than that. I work on paper with stipple brushes and I've wanted to transfer the same designs to fondant and I figure I'll get a softer look using an airbrush. If I can ever figure out this scanner I borrowed, I'll post a pic sometime.


Pamela Wilkinson

www.portlandfood.org

Life is a rush into the unknown. You can duck down and hope nothing hits you, or you can stand tall, show it your teeth and say "Dish it up, Baby, and don't skimp on the jalapeños."

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The other thing I love about Norman's work is his amazing flavors. The banana just blew me away. And the textures. When you eat his chocolates, you're just so totally in the moment. Everything else just melts away. I could use a box right now! :wub:


Pamela Wilkinson

www.portlandfood.org

Life is a rush into the unknown. You can duck down and hope nothing hits you, or you can stand tall, show it your teeth and say "Dish it up, Baby, and don't skimp on the jalapeños."

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Thank you so much Wendy! Any ideas on where to get that mini airbrush? I've been looking for a less expensive way to get myself something to play with. I really enjoyed the airbrush work at the forum.

Not Wendy, but ... click.

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Thanks Mktye, thats exactly the airbrush he uses. I've bought mine (twice now) at a local craft store (Micheals). But buying it thru Badger dirrectly is a better route because you can buy replacment parts...........which are cheap, and you probably will need some in time.

You DO NOT want to buy those more expensive models for airbrushing chocolate. This beginning model is the only one I know of that doesn't feed the liquid thru the airbrush nozzle. Thats important because if chocolate or cocoa butter colors went thru the brush it would firm up in minutes and your brush would constantly be clogged. The more expensive models are needed to do any fine airbrush work in other meduims. I also attended a demo by Stephane, he uses a good/expensive airbrush for his work. His work would be impossible to do with-out a finer brush.

The brush shown above comes with canned air so you don't need a compressor. So it travels easy. BUT a word of warning is that the canned air freezes things up and can drive you crazy. Norman kept his in a bowl of warm water to slow down it's freezing up tendencys. These cheapy brushes also hook up to your compressors.

Skwerl your on the right track now. Theres more technique to learn along the way though..........perhaps others would like to join in with their tips??????? I'd love to see Chocoartist jump in, you all do realize she's written a couple books on the topic and she's offered her help here at eg!!

I attended a couple of demos by world class PC's on chocolate. The demos I attended where thru The French Pastry School and Albert Uster. I have a few more notes...........

As far as Norman Love, I've yet to taste better chocolates! His ganches are a hair softer then anyones I've tasted and I do as he does. His flavorings that he demo'ed were pretty straight forward, using real ingredients, etc.... One tip he mentioned was about how he infuses. He infuses in his cream, then lets it set for the appropriate amount of time per ingredient. Then when he strains his infusions he made a big point about technique. Do NOT press down on you herbs or infusing flavors when your straining it. Usually that pressing down pulls out bitter or less desirable flavorings from your herbs. I think Norman does an excellent job in seasoning his ganches.........unlike many equally famous chocolitiers. You can tell what flavor every chocolate is in your mouth, no description or labels needed.

Have you ever had Thomas Haas's fruit flavored chocolates? That's my favorite example of his work. He has the thinnest layer of fruit enrobed with-in his chocolates. It's sensational the way the two flavors happen in your mouth. You can see and taste the fruit layer seperately from the ganche.............then as you eat it the flavors combine in your mouth. I'd LOVE LOVE to learn his technique on that!!!! It's really amazing.............very fine work!

As far as the agitation factor, it would be nice if someone more knowledgable then I could explain this. As I've come to understand from those demos, agitation is important-thats how you develop the good crystal you need. The way Norman applies his pcb colors with his finger in the mold is how he is over agitating. He's not over agitating his batch of couveuture.

I bought my pcb colors from Classic Gourmet...........which was bought by European Imports........who quickly broke their promise to continue carrying all of Classic Gourmets line. (Can you tell that makes me mad!) So I've struggled getting all the supplies I used to get easily. PCB has a website, you can find out who carries their product........and get a couple ideas along the way. I believe Rubber Chef carries their colors.

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Thank you mktye and Wendy! What are the titles of Chocoartist's books? I would love to check them out. I'm interested in the books on chocolate artistry out there. And I was looking at Thomas Haas' stuff online but the minimum order is $75. I'm going to do a box of Norman's for the family for Christmas. I'll be checking out that airbrush and picking one up soon. Thanks for the advice guys. :cool:


Pamela Wilkinson

www.portlandfood.org

Life is a rush into the unknown. You can duck down and hope nothing hits you, or you can stand tall, show it your teeth and say "Dish it up, Baby, and don't skimp on the jalapeños."

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Elaine Gonzalez's books are Chocolate Artistry, published by Contemporary Books, inc. in 1983 and The Art Of Chocolate, published by Chronicle Books, inc. in 1998.

The first book is hard to find, but I beleive she mentioned you could buy them through her dirrectly (get it autographed too). I've mentioned Elaine, her history and books in previous threads so you could do a search on that to find more info. if your interested.

You have to buy the pcb colors, in my opinion. I use them all the time to airbrush stenciled patterns on my plates and cakes. I also create my own transfer sheets using them on acetate. Buy the white pcb colors too, I use it alot to gain an opaque base-then add other colors to it. I've also bought at Micheals small jars of candy colors and used them in conjunction with my pcb colors. Wilton has a couple hard to obtain colors, like pcb doesn't have a purple.

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They have Chocolate Artistry on www.alibris.com and it ranges from $35 to $100+. I got a copy for $32.


Pamela Wilkinson

www.portlandfood.org

Life is a rush into the unknown. You can duck down and hope nothing hits you, or you can stand tall, show it your teeth and say "Dish it up, Baby, and don't skimp on the jalapeños."

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I found Chocolate Artistry on half.com (via this site) for $18 with shipping.

I am looking forward to playing.


Wearing jeans to the best restaurants in town.

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Hi guys! I have myself a Revolation 1 temperer, a bunch of polycarbonate molds, and 66 lbs of chocolate now, so I am ready for action. I've only used it a few times, but the Revolation seems to be a little flaky. If I melt some chocolate with it, and later restart it with the same melted chocolate still there, the machine just spins for a minute, beeps, and shuts itself off, never going through the tempering cycle, despite the fact that the instructions say to just restart the process if the chocolate thickens. Out of four batches of chocolate(E. Guittard dark: Premiere Etoile), one tempered properly. It's been three days and there's no bloom, but the snap isn't as nice as it could be. I am wondering if this is because I need the Rev 2 so I can tinker with the temperature a bit or if the convenience trade-off for a tempering machine is a less snappy temper no matter what machine is used. Any thoughts or specific information regarding this particular chocolate/machine combination?

Also, I've been trying some of the techniques suggested for extra glossy finish, and I have had mixed results. The cotton balls do seem to help, but I haven't quite gotten the cocoa butter thing down quite right. I've tried using brushes, my finger, etc. to get the cocoa butter in there, and I can't seem to get a thin enough layer. I especially have trouble with the molds that have patterns like swirls in the bottom. The cocoa butter, no matter how little I have on my finger, always pools there. Is there a good way to get the right amount of the stuff spread evenly in the molds, or should I have gotten just the plain domes?

My final question relates to the cocoa butter as well. I can't seem to do ANYTHING with the stuff that doesn't make my chocolates look like hell. When I color it, it is too transparent no matter how much powdered dye I use. It's not so bad when I use it on white chocolate, but anything else doesn't look so hot. When I mixed it with some luster dust, the stuff is too opaque and looks like frozen spit. Are there different grades or types of cocoa butter? Or do I just not have the right technique down for using it? Thanks so much for suggestions once again, guys. :)


Josh Usovsky

"Will Work For Sugar"

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I can't answer anything about your tempering machine but I can help you with a couple other concerns.

Unfortunately, you should have bought the smooth dome molds if you wanted to hand apply the colored cocoa butter. There's no way around it, molds with groves and ridges can't be hand applied nicely. But you still can use an air brush to apply a spatter of color or color your whole batch of chocolate.

When you looking to get color and dusts on your chocolates those are typically added to the mold, not the couveture. The liquid colored cocoa butter needs to set in a refrigerator for a moment. It doesn't set at room temp. very well. To the best of my knowledge I'm not aware of different grades of cocoa butter available for sale.

So when I want to apply these techniques it might go something like this:

With my finger I apply a dab of yellow cocoa butter, I swirl my finger in the bottom of the mold as I'm pulling my finger out. I refrigerate this.

Five minutes later I want to apply a layer of gold dust. With a good quality brush I brush some in each mold.

Then I want to apply another layer, this time a white cocoa butter. I do the same as I did with the yellow. Using my finger I apply some and spread it slightly while pulling out. I then refrigerate this.

Now after 5 minutes or so I'm ready to use any couveture I choose. I choose white chocolate. I then pour white chocolate in my entire mold filling each compartment completely. I then give it a tap on the counter to release any air pockets, then I invert my mold over my bowl of chocolate. Only a fine shell of couveture will be left coating my molds. I then scrap off the excess chocolate (which can be messy) with my metal bench scraper. I then either wait for my couveture shell to firm up or I refrigerate it to speed this process up.

Then I pipe in my filling. You MUST not fill your molds all the way to the top or there won't be room for your base chocolate to seal your truffles.

Last step is to ladle more couveture over your molds to seal the top which when you invert them will be your bottom. Give it a tap on the counter to release any air bubbles. Then with your bench scraper scrap off the excess chocolate from your mold. When the chocolate is set, invert your mold and lightly tap it on the table and your chocolates will pop out.

I find the dried colors to be very hard to work with and avoid them all together. They don't dissolve perfectly for me. If I want to color a whole batch of chocolate I use cocoa butter based colors, like the PCB brand or as I mentioned in another thread Wilton sells oil based colors that work very well coloring couveture.

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  Also, I've been trying some of the techniques suggested for extra glossy finish, and I have had mixed results.  The cotton balls do seem to help, but I haven't quite gotten the cocoa butter thing down quite right.  I've tried using brushes, my finger, etc. to get the cocoa butter in there, and I can't seem to get a thin enough layer.  I especially have trouble with the molds that have patterns like swirls in the bottom.  The cocoa butter, no matter how little I have on my finger, always pools there.  Is there a good way to get the right amount of the stuff spread evenly in the molds, or should I have gotten just the plain domes? 

  My final question relates to the cocoa butter as well.  I can't seem to do ANYTHING with the stuff that doesn't make my chocolates look like hell.  When I color it, it is too transparent no matter how much powdered dye I use.  It's not so bad when I use it on white chocolate, but anything else doesn't look so hot.  When I mixed it with some luster dust, the stuff is too opaque and looks like frozen spit.  Are there different grades or types of cocoa butter?  Or do I just not have the right technique down for using it?  Thanks so much for suggestions once again, guys. :)

I'm no help on the machine. I've got a Sinsation that I break out once in a while (like last night -- after tempering chocolate for several hours in class, I got home to finish a cake and felt like letting the machine do the work for a change.

To get a nice thin coating of cocoa butter in molds, I use another cotton ball. That seems to get a thin enough coating to avoid pooling. Not sure about the molds with designs in them though. I'm afraid cocoa butter will just pool in them, regardless of how you apply it.

To get some opacity in the colored cocoa butter, add a touch of white chocolate. Then it'll show up against dark couverture. For lusters, I apply clear cocoa butter, let it set, then a layer of luster separately (I use an airbrush, but a soft paintbrush works too).

Mmmm. Frozen spit. Think I'll pass on my mid-morning snack. :wacko:


B. Keith Ryder

BCakes by BKeith

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