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Kerry Beal

Cooking with "Chocolates and Confections" by Peter Greweling (Part 1)

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So I made the gianduja a few minutes ago, tabling on my laminate countertop until it cooled to room temperature, but I don't know if it worked right. First, room temperature right now is about 76 degrees F, so it's a little warm. Second, the photo of the pbj makes it look like the gianduja is pretty light: was it supposed to get lighter as I worked it? It did not. Last, I made a 2/3 batch to make sure I had enough (to fill 1/2 the area as the recipe calls for), and it was, but barely. So, should I have been working air into the gianjuda? On the upside, it tastes frickin' phenomenal!! :biggrin:

Did you use milk or dark chocolate? Gianduja can be made with either, but the colour will differ depending on the chocolate.

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So I made the gianduja a few minutes ago, tabling on my laminate countertop until it cooled to room temperature, but I don't know if it worked right. First, room temperature right now is about 76 degrees F, so it's a little warm. Second, the photo of the pbj makes it look like the gianduja is pretty light: was it supposed to get lighter as I worked it? It did not. Last, I made a 2/3 batch to make sure I had enough (to fill 1/2 the area as the recipe calls for), and it was, but barely. So, should I have been working air into the gianjuda? On the upside, it tastes frickin' phenomenal!! :biggrin:

Did you use milk or dark chocolate? Gianduja can be made with either, but the colour will differ depending on the chocolate.

I used milk chocolate. It has firmed up OK, so I guess we'll find out the texture once I coat it and get to try a piece :smile: .

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OK, an update on the PB&Js: the gianduja firmed up fine, and lightened in color as it did so, so I'm pretty close to the photo in Greweling now. Note for the future: jelly is sticky! I ignored his advice to grease the parchment because when I tried that last time I couldn't get my frame to stay in place. This was a mistake, getting the jelly off the silpat I was using was messy and pulled away some of the jelly. Then, the trick seemed to be to let the jelly sit out for a few hours between steps, so that the freshly-cut edges could develop a skin. I was worried that they would be hard to dip, but they weren't too bad. You can see the whole photo sequence at my foodblog: here is the money shot :smile:

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here is the money shot :smile:

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Fabulous Chris. Looks like dipping is your forte. Have we had you molding yet?

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looks great! Did you put a silpat on the top too? to keep it flat? How do they taste? Your blog is just lovely even if I am a vegetarian/no pork anyway person. Totally fascinating to see life from a different perspective. My husband is an engineer- IAI- and his organized ways are so much like yours I am stunned. I am unfortunately only desperate to be organized... I am the "it's an organized mess" sort!!!

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Fabulous Chris.  Looks like dipping is your forte.  Have we had you molding yet?

I tried molding with one of the recipes from Shotts' book, but they didn't turn out very well (and they didn't taste good, which was a bigger problem). I need to keep working on that, but I want to pick up a dome-style mold to learn on: they were out when I originally ordered, so I got an octagonal one instead, but the sharp edges make it hard to learn on.

looks great! Did you put a silpat on the top too? to keep it flat? How do they taste?

I guess I'm not quite sure what you mean by "keep it flat"... I used a Silpat in place of the parchment, on what was to become the top when they were inverted, but I was using a frame, so I just leveled the gianduja with a scraper to the top of the frame.

As for the taste: fantastic (as long as you like peanut butter and jelly!). These are a definite favorite, and I think they will be a crowd-pleaser at my BBQ later today. I'll report back on the crowd's reaction, but I think they are a home run.

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Okay- got it! I wanted to know how you got such a even and flat top! If it isn't liquidy it is not always perfect-at for me! I amglad you like them! Have fun at teh bbq!

Thanks

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Beautifull, they look just perfect and yummy , I wanted to try this for long but I still didnt get myself to order some pectine, what type did you get the apple one?

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These are a definite favorite, and I think they will be a crowd-pleaser at my BBQ later today. I'll report back on the crowd's reaction, but I think they are a home run.

Chris,

The real question though, is what did the wife think of them?

BTW, they look great.

Mike.

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Beautifull, they look just perfect and yummy , I wanted to try this for long  but I still didnt get myself to order some pectine, what type did you get the apple one?

Yeah, I used the apple pectin from l'Epicerie. I am still a little intimidated by the jellies, so I tried to follow the recipe to the letter.

The real question though, is what did the wife think of them?

She likes them. I was a little surprised that no one at the BBQ could guess the flavor, though. Once I told them they were not surprised, and agreed that the flavor was uncannily like the sandwich, but without the suggestion they couldn't quite place them. It was sort of like a blind taste test... fun :smile: .

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I just got this and Making Artisan Chocolates. Not sure when I'll be able to try my first recipe. First I must curl up with a cup of tea and browse both books cover to cover. I'm dying to try some molded chocolates, but I haven't got any molds yet. Chocolat Chocolat has a ridiculously large selection. I'm having a hard time deciding. :rolleyes:

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I just got this and Making Artisan Chocolates. Not sure when I'll be able to try my first recipe. First I must curl up with a cup of tea and browse both books cover to cover. I'm dying to try some molded chocolates, but I haven't got any molds yet. Chocolat Chocolat has a ridiculously large selection. I'm having a hard time deciding.  :rolleyes:

It's hard to decide on molds - especially when you can't picture how big they are without seeing them. Feel free to pick our brains on the various molds you might be considering.

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PB&Js, step-by-step

1st edition, p. 284

Note: I posted these images over in my foodblog, but without any explanation. I thought that over here on the confections thread maybe people could learn from my mistakes, and might like a little more explanation of the construction of the pbjs, if you haven't made them yourself. The images should show up two per line: if they don't (and you have a big enough monitor!) you can expand your browser window until they do.

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I used sugar-free applesauce that I reduced 50% (by weight) as the "apple compote," as suggested up-thread here. The raspberry puree is just frozen raspberries, thawed and pushed through a strainer (which gets rid of most, but not all, of the seeds---to get rid of all maybe a second straining through a chinois was in order, but the seeds didn't seem to bother anyone.) I used the wet-hand trick suggested by Kerry Beal to scoop out the glucose, which worked wonderfully.

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Following the instructions in Greweling, the various ingredients are added in different quantities at different temperatures, which I attempted to follow to the letter. You add the sugar in two steps, and the glucose in two separate steps. Not that big a deal, but it requires that you pay a little more attention, and get a couple more bowls dirty. I may have slightly undercooked the jelly in the end, by around 1 degree F, but it was hard to tell for sure.

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I am making a half batch, so I set up a frame that is 8" x 9" (half the area of the 12" x 12" frame in the book). It turned out that the amount of jelly this made did not quite fill the frame all the way up. I am not sure why, but in the future I think I will make a 2/3 batch to make sure I get a perfectly even layer of jelly, even if it means a little waste in the end. I use hollow aluminum bars, and they are thus lightweight. The silpat under them has enough friction to keep the lower ones in place, as long as I don't grease it. Greweling, however, recommends the use of greased parchment. This decision will come back to bite me a bit. Yes, that is snowman-themed tape holding the top frame to the bottom... you got a problem with that? :biggrin:

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I let the jelly set overnight. The next evening I made the gianduja, which is quite straightforward, requiring only two ingredients: peanut butter and milk chocolate. I made a 2/3 batch of this to make up for the missing jelly. I like peanut butter better anyway :smile:. Greweling calls for tempered chocolate in this: I do not know if this is like in a ganache, where it is not strictly necessary, or if in a gianduja you really need tempered chocolate. Nevertheless, I tempered it using the seeding method, and checked the temper by letting it set on a spoon before adding in the peanut butter.

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After the chocolate is tempered and at 88 degrees F, I added the peanut butter and stirred to combine. Then I dumped the mixture out on my counter to table it. You are supposed to do this on a marble slab, but my marble is only 12" x 12", which is not really large enough to do this comfortably. In the end, my regular countertop seemed to work fine. I worked it for around five minutes, until it was 76 degrees, which was room temperature at the time, and as cool as it was going to go. :smile: Then I scooped it back into the bowl.

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The gianduja was poured on top of the jelly layer and smoothed out. There was a bit of excess from making a 2/3 batch, but not as much as I expected. I need to double-check my measurements on the frame size, I guess...

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After letting the gianduja layer set overnight (which was more than enough time), the next step was to pre-coat the bottom of the confection with a thin chocolate layer: this makes dipping later much easier since you will have a firm side to rest against the fork. I prefer to pre-bottom with the frame still on to get a nice clean edge on it, and avoid making a mess of the sides.

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Once the pre-bottom has set up (10-20 minutes since I used tempered chocolate) I flipped the whole thing over so the jelly layer was on top. Time to remove the silpat that I decided not to grease. Uh-oh... I was in panic mode at this point, since an inordinate amount of jelly was coming off with the silpat. In the end it was OK, the jelly layer was just a bit thinner than the peanut butter layer. Next time I will have to try to grease the silpat but keep the oil away from the frame, or something.

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Next step: the real fun begins. First we have to cut apart the block into evenly-sized pieces. if you have a guitar, no big deal. Well, I don't have one, what I have is a drywall knife I picked up a Lowes :smile: . Not quite as slick, but it costs a lot less! The trick with the jelly, which is really sticky, is to clean the knife well between cuts, and to leave it wet after cleaning. This helps the jelly release from in with minimal distortion. I did this in two steps: all the horizontal cuts, then waited a few hours, then all the perpendicular cuts. I used a speed-square (the bright orange thing) to measure out the 1/2" x 1" rectangles. Oh, and I toasted up some peanut halves for garnish.

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Finally, we are almost done. Only a few hours of hand dipping to go!! :shock::wacko::blink: This sequence shows the dipping technique I use, which I learned from the folks upthread here. The real trick is to drop the confection in so the pre-coated side lands up (or to push it over so it is on top) and then to push down on the edge nearest to you, causing the candy to roll through the chocolate and flip up onto the dipping fork. It's like some kind of magic when it works, which is actually most of the time. Thanks to everyone here who helped me learn how to do that! I then tap the dipped confection lightly against the surface of the melted chocolate, pulling it up quickly, to get the surface tension in the chocolate to draw some of the coating off the candy, resulting in a thinner layer, with no "foot." I also use one of the wire cake-cutter things propped against the bowl to scrape the bottom of the chocolate before placing it on the parchment to set up.

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Finally, after letting the coating set up for a minute on each one, I added a peanut half to the top for garnish, et voila! Greweling's PB & Js, which taste disturbingly like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

One final word to anyone who is reading this because they are thinking of learning to make chocolates, but haven't taken the plunge yet. This may look like an impossible mountain to scale from where you are now, but everyone on this thread has been incredibly generous with their advice to me: I have only been doing this since Christmas, and I think I've gotten a lot more comfortable with the hand-dipping thing. There are a lot of steps to confections, but each individual step is relatively simple. Jump in! The water's fine! :biggrin:

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Love the pictorial as always, Chris! Thanks.

Here's my theory on the frame size...

Grewling calls for 12 inch long bars, right? So he's not actually making a 12x12 square out of them, because he's having to overlap the corners by whatever the width of the bar is. Say a half inch. So you're really looking at something like an 11.5 or 11 inch square. Which would explain why a half batch doesn't fit an 8x9 inch frame.

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It's hard to decide on molds - especially when you can't picture how big they are without seeing them.  Feel free to pick our brains on the various molds you might be considering.

Thanks, Kerry! I notice Chocolat Chocolat has their molds divided into subsets, including Belgian, Italian, and French. Is one better than another? Clear vs white? Or is it just personal preference?

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Beautiful demo, Chris!! I love the picture with the towel over your shoulder! I walk around my house like that all the time! Your blog was just lovely and thought out and full of great pictures,sothanks for that and this!! :biggrin:

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It's hard to decide on molds - especially when you can't picture how big they are without seeing them.  Feel free to pick our brains on the various molds you might be considering.

Thanks, Kerry! I notice Chocolat Chocolat has their molds divided into subsets, including Belgian, Italian, and French. Is one better than another? Clear vs white? Or is it just personal preference?

They are all pretty equivalent - the white french ones are harder to see when they have separated - but are still great molds - and well priced. I have even got some opaque blue molds in my collection and they work just fine.

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The wire cake cutter thing - brilliant. I've had major struggles with wires - the best is the little metal pieces that hold IV bags - but they slip.

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The wire cake cutter thing - brilliant. I've had major struggles with wires - the best is the little metal pieces that hold IV bags - but they slip.

It worked really well: I had previously tried taping a piece of wire across the bowl, but it kept getting in the way: this rests nicely wherever you lay it, just from gravity, is easy to grab onto and move around, and is dishwasher safe, besides. I think it cost like $5, and it paid for itself on this one project! :smile:

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i was trying to figure out what that was (the cake cutter thing). great idea chris!

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Wow Chris those look great. I have his book to but havne't jumped in yet. I need to order the bars. Where did you get you dipping tools from? the ones I have were given to me from Chocovison when I orderd the little itty bitty melter which i don't like.

Thanks your all your input...

Rena

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Wow Chris those look great. I have his book to but havne't jumped in yet.  I need to order the bars.  Where did you get you dipping tools from?

Thanks---I just bought my frame (I think that's what you mean by bars) at the local hobby shop: they are used for model railroad construction and that sort of thing. I have also used wooden dowels wrapped in plastic wrap to good effect. As for the dipping tools, I don't recall where I bought them, but you don't really need anything special: a kitchen fork works fine. I like to use an old cheap one that I can bend a bit.

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