Ganache gone wild – WTF just happened

Ugh. On Sunday I spent 2.5 hours making a perfectly emulsified ganache for an experiment. I let it chill overnight, and it solidified. I am so steamed.

IMG_3202

Ganache is typically equal parts scalded cream to chopped chocolate, in this case Toblerone.  To achieve a proper ganache that doesn’t crack or separate, you need to emulsify it.  Emulsification is the process of combining two or more liquids, which normally don’t combine, into one. (Basically you stir and rest, stir and rest, chill, pass Go, collect two hundred dollars.) It was all going so well…

IMG_3185

I poured the heated cream onto the chocolate and let it sit for bit, and then stirred every 15 minutes, for 2 hours.

IMG_3189

The hell with stirring by hand. I’ll let Nemo do the work for me. After all that is what I have a stand mixer for, who wants to stand there the entire time? I have video games to play.

IMG_3192

After 2 hours, it had lightened considerably, and had a smooth texture. All okay so far.

So I covered it with saran, and stupidly forgot to press it down to the surface, so the surface hardened.

IMG_3194

I intended to use it on Monday but I was busy. I took it out of the fridge today, and lo and behold.

IMG_3201

What. Is. This? I tried to save it by reheating but the fat started to separate. Wuah! This is no good.

IMG_3204

I figured it might be salvageable if I could stir heated cream into it, and miracle of miracles, it seemed to recover.

IMG_3206

Alright, we’re cooking with gas now. As to what I made this for, well, just stay right there and find out. Next year.

Advertisements

“The charm of homemade chocolates!”

That phrase is code for “something went wrong”.

IMG_3172

The first time I poured chocolate into molds, they had lots of air bubbles. I complained to my sister who wisely explained it’s like Ed Norton’s glassware in Fight Club, the little imperfections show it was hand-crafted and it’s just the charm of homemade chocolates. So now every time something untoward happens while I’m chocolatiering, you will hear an indignant curse from me, followed by a soothing assurance from Boyfriend Unit, “It’s the charm of homemade chocolates, don’t worry.”

And what goes wrong when you are making chocolates, pray tell? Air bubbles, cracks, bloom (cloudy spots), smudges, melting, seizing, fillings not centered, fillings exploded,  misprint on map, et cet. But I no longer care. Because I know, when people open the box…

IMG_3177

… and eat one, they are all “OMFG”. And that makes me smile.

IMG_3171

We make a 9 piece box, with one dark chocolate, three milk chocolates, and five semi-sweet chocolates. This year Boyfriend Unit experimented with a sea salt dark chocolate since he hates raspberry cream. He really liked the result.

Using a full-sized block of chocolate was a new experience. This is a 5 kilo or 11 pound block of Barry Callebaut Belgian chocolate, classified as a well-balanced bitter cocoa taste, 53.8% cocoa solids. This is the base of all my semi-sweet chocolates.

IMG_3150

I was so excited to open this!

IMG_3154

Just look at that! That is a lot of chocolate.

IMG_3157

My mother asked recently about my weekend plans.

“Making chocolate.”

“Oh hunni? Could you maybe send less dark chocolate this year?”

“Mom, there is one dark chocolate per box!”

“Oh hunni, that’s too much! I don’t like dark chocolate.”

“Ok Mom. No dark chocolate in yours.”

Stay tuned for how this was made and where to get supplies.

Born to dye

Experiments with natural dyes have run amok. Using spinach, turmeric, and beets, I was able to produce pots of bright dye, but adding them to the fillings did not accomplish much.

IMG_3143

Have you ever had an idea that seemed really great in your head? When I was little, I decided I would carve a wooden deer for my dad on Father’s Day. I had no source of income, ergo my consumer purchasing power was nil. So I decided to carve! Mind you I had no experience with carving, but I did have a stack of firewood and Dad’s set of carving tools. Several hours later, I had a mangled piece of wood and some splinters for my pain, no deer; that’s what homemade dye brings to mind.

The concept of dying my chocolate fillings seemed solid.  Making a pot of dye is fairly simple, simmer about 4 cups of water with ½ C of puréed vegetable or spice, and voila! But after the dye is made, adding it to the filling did not change the colour. Oh, woe.

Notes from the drawing board:

This base yields enough filling for 30 centres x 4 flavours, 120 pieces total.

Combine: 2 C icing sugar, 1½ TBSP unsalted butter, ¼ tsp vanilla, 2 TBSP evaporated milk.  Divide into 4 bowls.

Add flavouring oils to 3 bowls (none for the butter creams)

Peppermint oil = extremely potent, no more than 3 small drops. Several drops of spinach dye, no discernible difference. Cannot taste spinach.

Raspberry cream oil = very potent, 3 small drops quite strong also.  Adding 8 drops of beat juice sweetened it, yields soft pink colour.

Orange cream oil = weak, lost count after 30 drops, flavour is mild and weak bouquet, wtf. Several drops of turmeric dye, no change. Cannot taste spice.

mario

I like the idea of dying my chocolate fillings for two reasons:

  1. I am a 2-bite chocolate person. I like to look at the centre before it’s gone, so I want to see a pink raspberry cream or an orange filling
  2. It’s difficult to keep 4 bowls of fillings straight, after awhile your sense of smell and taste goes numb and you sit there, “Is this the orange cream or the butter cream??” The different colours would make it easy.

I don’t want to give up and use artificial dye. After all, my chocolate packaging hails them as containing “dairy, nuts, and all-natural vegetable dyes”. It’s either figure it out or give up on dye. It tooks days to get the letter spacing just so, no way in hell am I redrawing the chocolate map.

Boyfriend asked me, “Why do you want to dye peppermint patties green anyway? Aren’t they white??”

I think it was that I wanted 4 distinct colours since we had 4 flavoured cream fillings, and I thought peppermint leaves are green, raspberries are pink, butter is yellow, and orange is orange.

My problem is I don’t experiment before I need the dye, I just assume I will do XZY on Chocolate Shoppe Day and it will work. Clearly I need to try substituting more of the evaporated milk with the dye to balance out the liquid, and add enough to see the colour, yet not taste the base of the dye, perhaps more icing sugar to stiffen it up.

Playlist: Halo 2 – Mjölnir Mix

Milk chocolates – all done

 

 

What was it like to use a professional chocolate tempering machine? Fabulous. Amazing. Spectacular. Am running out of adjectives. It works so well and it’s so fast. (Product review will be posted after Christmas.)

IMG_3137

So basically my our tempering machine works even better than I had imagined.  Yesterday Boyfriend and I made 66 solid milk chocolates (above), and 51 toasted almond milk chocolates (below). Look at that beautiful gloss!

IMG_3136

Today we are going to make the Toberlone pieces, and then the milk chocolate is all done, next weekend is for the more labour-intensive filled chocolates. And the peppermint bark. Huzzah!

IMG-20131207-01301

“Why do you have to name it?!?”

“I just do. And its name is Bernard. Deal with it.”

Step up your chocolatiering

IMG_3124

So, what is it?  This is a chocolate tempering machine by ChocoVision. Tempering is the finicky process of heating and cooling chocolate to specific degrees to get a glossy product that keeps its shape at room temperature and has a lovely snap.

I really love making homemade chocolates and I make a lot, which takes about 3 days to temper all the chocolate I need. This machine is going to speed up production and ensure results consistency. Or so I hope. Will review it in full after use. Its maiden voyage is tomorrow and I quiver with anticipation.

It arrived…

… with a capacity of 1.5 lbs, running at 110 volts, and 60 Hz; what could it be?

IMG_3123

 

Boyfriend Unit asked me what I thought about the two of use purchasing this, as a Christmas present to each other. Would I?!

I asked him, “Are you sure?”

He said, “Yup, I’m sure.”

Stay tuned until tomorrow.

If you know what this is, click Like.

If you don’t, leave a comment!