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Confections! (2006-2012)


Kerry Beal
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A friend returned recently from Belgium where she had ordered a couple of molds from JVK.  Much to her surprise one of the molds that arrived was huge, about 18 1/2 inches by 12 1/2 inches.  She lent it to me to play with.  I've been putting off molding it, too much work, too much chocolate, though I had painted the contrast over the past 3 weeks or so. 

So yesterday I finally got around to finishing it.  It molded rather well.  It was too big for the fridge but  I put it outside to cool for 20 minutes or so.  There is a rather large crack through the body, likely due to the temperature outside while cooling. 

There was a small defect on the bottom edge so I tempered some white chocolate and added enough water to thicken it sufficiently to pipe it around the bottom of the sleigh to hide the defect.  Thanks to Elaine (chocartist), who's fabulous 'Chocolate Artistry' explains that process.  It's the first time I've tried it and I can see that it will prove very useful in the future.

gallery_34671_3115_42278.jpg

gallery_34671_3115_12005.jpg 

I took it with me today to a demo I was doing at Indigo (a local bookstore that has been kind enough to carry my DVDs) and it certainly was the center of attention.

Terrific Kerry!! I can understand why it was the center of attention. Very well done.

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I see streaks suggesting that my tempering was imperfect and lots of tiny holes suggesting that I didn't get all the air bubbles out.  The chocoholics in the family managed to overlook these defects and gobbled them up anyway!  The centres were milk chocolate ganache with espresso powder and Kahlua which could explain the speed at which they disappeared.  :shock:

Anna,

trust me on this one: you'll always find defects on your stuff (we are our own harshest critics, right?) but...i went to one demo by jean-pierre wybauw and his stuff didn't all come out perfectly. even in books (like jpw's and by other famous pastry chefs), you'll see bubbles, some streaking, etc.

your chocolates are lovely. as long as they come out of the molds, you're doing something right. and when you're making them for a hobby, enjoy the act of making the chocolates and the sight of your family and friends devouring them. those are the fun things!

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...

I made my first attempt at using milk chocolate for pralines yesterday and it was a much different experience than using dark chocolate.  When I first unmolded my chocolates I was impressed but a photograph soon showed up the defects!  The camera doesn't lie!  So here's my chocolates warts and all.

gallery_6903_111_37784.jpg

I see streaks suggesting that my tempering was imperfect and lots of tiny holes suggesting that I didn't get all the air bubbles out.  The chocoholics in the family managed to overlook these defects and gobbled them up anyway!  The centres were milk chocolate ganache with espresso powder and Kahlua which could explain the speed at which they disappeared.  :shock:

Edited to add photograph.

Anna, your bonbons look great! Though I know what you mean about photos don’t lie. A photo can really show details that would otherwise go unnoticed.

If this helps, I could offer some suggestions about the streaking, which, by the way, I can’t see in your photos!

1) Stir often until you think that your chocolate is in temper.

2) Wait 5 minutes

3) Stir well again.

4) Test temper.

This will allow the chocolate to equilibrate and have all of your lovely beta crystals uniformly dispersed throughout the melted chocolate mass.

Keep up the great work!

John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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A friend returned recently from Belgium where she had ordered a couple of molds from JVK.  Much to her surprise one of the molds that arrived was huge, about 18 1/2 inches by 12 1/2 inches.  She lent it to me to play with.  I've been putting off molding it, too much work, too much chocolate, though I had painted the contrast over the past 3 weeks or so. 

So yesterday I finally got around to finishing it.  It molded rather well.  It was too big for the fridge but  I put it outside to cool for 20 minutes or so.  There is a rather large crack through the body, likely due to the temperature outside while cooling. 

There was a small defect on the bottom edge so I tempered some white chocolate and added enough water to thicken it sufficiently to pipe it around the bottom of the sleigh to hide the defect.  Thanks to Elaine (chocartist), who's fabulous 'Chocolate Artistry' explains that process.  It's the first time I've tried it and I can see that it will prove very useful in the future.

gallery_34671_3115_42278.jpg

gallery_34671_3115_12005.jpg 

I took it with me today to a demo I was doing at Indigo (a local bookstore that has been kind enough to carry my DVDs) and it certainly was the center of attention.

Gorgeous, Kerry!

John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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I was asked to make a chef with dark chocolate for someone to give as a birthday present. I have this gorgeous old Anton Reiche mold that has one small problem - his feet are too small and given the size of his belly he wants to pitch forward. Molded strictly in dark he doesn't look as nice as he could, you lose the detail, so I coloured him with white and milk, then made him solid with dark chocolate. Being a metal mold, I did end up with a rim of dark chocolate where the sides come together. I'm not really impressed with him either way. He really looks best in milk chocolate with dark eyes and maybe a bit of white for the hat and jacket.

gallery_34671_3115_8532.jpg

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I was asked to make a chef with dark chocolate for someone to give as a birthday present.  I have this gorgeous old Anton Reiche mold that has one small problem - his feet are too small and given the size of his belly he wants to pitch forward.  Molded strictly in dark he doesn't look as nice as he could, you lose the detail, so I coloured him with white and milk, then made him solid with dark chocolate.  Being a metal mold, I did end up with a rim of dark chocolate where the sides come together.  I'm not really impressed with him either way.  He really looks best in milk chocolate with dark eyes and maybe a bit of white for the hat and jacket.

gallery_34671_3115_8532.jpg

Very cute, Kerry. If he's having trouble "pitching forward," what if you glued him to a square of chocolate at the base for stability?

John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
--------------------
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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Kerry, those wee chefs are delightful. I definitely prefer the milk chocolate one that you have coloured but the dark chocolate one, too, has his charm.

I am curious as to why the metal molds are problematic.

Edited because I missed the space bar.

Edited by Anna N (log)

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Very cute, Kerry.  If he's having trouble "pitching forward,"  what if you glued him to a square of chocolate at the base for stability?

I usually make a little pool of chocolate and stand him in it. He requires a rather heavy base, I found that a small square wasn't sufficient to prevent him from pitching forward. I made about 20 of him for a friend who has a BBQ program. He wanted them for his guest chefs on the program. He is rather portly himself, so I made them out of white compound (I was having real problems with the mold snapping off at the ankles when I used real chocolate) and painted the jacket to look like a Tommy Bahama shirt like he wears on his program. I then painted a little gray beard on them, it looked better if you painted it on after unmolding. They ended up looking a whole lot like he does, I wish I had taken some pictures of them at the time.

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. . .

Anna, your bonbons look great!  Though I know what you mean about photos don’t lie.  A photo can really show details that would otherwise go unnoticed. 

If this helps, I could offer some suggestions about the streaking, which, by the way, I can’t see in your photos!

1) Stir often until you think that your chocolate is in temper.

2) Wait 5 minutes

3) Stir well again.

4) Test temper.

This will allow the chocolate to equilibrate and have all of your lovely beta crystals uniformly dispersed throughout the melted chocolate mass.

Keep up the great work!

Kerry taught me that way (i.e., the 5 minute wait) but that milk chocolate had me so intimidated I forgot everything I ever learned. Who knew that two chocolates (dark and milk) could be so different. I can easily see why newbies who start with milk chocolate quickly throw in the towel - it's a beast that I have to learn to tame. :laugh:

Thanks, John.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Kerry, those wee chefs are delightful.  I definitely prefer the milk chocolate one that you have coloured but the dark chocolate one, too, has his charm. 

I am curious as to why the metal molds are problematic.

Edited because I missed the space bar.

Only because they don't always fit as snuggly together as some of the plastic figural molds.

I have some plastic molds that actually have a little ridge that fits perfectly when you put the sides together and you don't get any little rim of chocolate to deal with when you demold them. A lot of the cheaper plastic molds still give you a problem because they don't fit together perfectly.

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. . .

Anna,

trust me on this one:  you'll always find defects on your stuff (we are our own harshest critics, right?) but...i went to one demo by jean-pierre wybauw and his stuff didn't all come out perfectly.  even in books (like jpw's and by other famous pastry chefs), you'll see bubbles, some streaking, etc.

your chocolates are lovely.  as long as they come out of the molds, you're doing something right.  and when you're making them for a hobby, enjoy the act of making the chocolates and the sight of your family and friends devouring them.  those are the fun things!

Thank you - I know perfection is the venue of the gods and not mere mortals like me BUT like my daughter teaches my granddaughter - "Be happy with a B but not until you have at least tried for an A!"

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Kerry, those wee chefs are delightful.  I definitely prefer the milk chocolate one that you have coloured but the dark chocolate one, too, has his charm. 

I am curious as to why the metal molds are problematic.

Edited because I missed the space bar.

Only because they don't always fit as snuggly together as some of the plastic figural molds.

I have some plastic molds that actually have a little ridge that fits perfectly when you put the sides together and you don't get any little rim of chocolate to deal with when you demold them. A lot of the cheaper plastic molds still give you a problem because they don't fit together perfectly.

Ah, I see - so it's not the metal but the way the molds are fitted that is the problem. Thanks for the explanation.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Beautiful work! Other than chocolate, antique molds are my obsession. I think many get warped over the years from improper use and storage. I have some that look like someone has tried to clean with butter knife.

I found some itty-bitty vise clamps at a flea market that work well to "bring together" the seams on slightly warped molds.

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Beautiful work! Other than chocolate, antique molds are my obsession. I think many get warped over the years from improper use and storage. I have some that look like someone has tried to clean with butter knife.

I found some itty-bitty vise clamps at a flea market that work well to "bring together" the seams on slightly warped molds.

Would you post some pictures of your molds?

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Anna N - your chocolates are just so shiny and gorgeous!  I can't believe that you are new to candy making!

I made old fashioned butter mints for an anniversary party for my in laws:

. . .

I had forgotten how good freshly made butter mints could be!

Thank you for the compliments - to put things in perspective I should have posted an image of 64 chocolates none of which emerged from the molds unblemished. :shock: I still have much to learn.

Those mints look so cool and refreshing. I have never heard of butter mints before so I must add those to my knowledge base. Thank you for sharing.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Anna N - your chocolates are just so shiny and gorgeous!  I can't believe that you are new to candy making!

I made old fashioned butter mints for an anniversary party for my in laws:

gallery_34972_3925_34930.jpg

I had forgotten how good freshly made butter mints could be!

Kim, Do you mold or cut them? They look tasty. I love buttermints too.

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I am craving some caramel covered homemade marshmallows. That darn Food Network show gets me everytime. Has anyone done this? What caramel recipe do you use? What is the method that is used. Please help, I am dying here :smile: .

-Becca

www.porterhouse.typepad.com

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I am craving some caramel covered homemade marshmallows. That darn Food Network show gets me everytime. Has anyone done this? What caramel recipe do you use? What is the method that is used. Please help, I am dying here :smile: .

I have done it with commercial marshmallow. I make the caramel from the confectionary course here. I pour some of it out onto a silpat, cut it in squares when cool and just wrap it around a marshmallow. Then dip in tempered chocolate, or wrap in cello to keep it from flowing off.

I knew I had posted something about this before and here it is.

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That is a great help, Kerry. Thank you. I cannot wait to try it.

If I didn't want to temper chocolate (Or for some reason couldn't even though I have tried everything :rolleyes: .), what would you suggest adding to the chocolate to coat marshmallows, so it will set at room temp?

-Becca

www.porterhouse.typepad.com

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That is a great help, Kerry. Thank you. I cannot wait to try it.

If I didn't want to temper chocolate (Or for some reason couldn't even though I have tried everything :rolleyes: .), what would you suggest adding to the chocolate to coat marshmallows, so it will set at room temp?

You could make a ganache with lots of chocolate and just a bit of cream. That would get sort of firm. What is the problem you are having tempering your chocolate?

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