Pumpkin-caramel ganache in milk-chocolate shells

Pumpkin-caramel chocolates

Pumpkin-caramel ganache in milk-chocolate shells with dark-chocolate bottoms. I was tempted to Photoshop out all the cracks and fissures, but the unadulterated photo shows what can happen to your molded chocolates if you bang the molds too harshly when trying to release the chocolates.
Recipe from Peter Greweling’s Chocolates and Confections.

Continue reading

Please don’t say they taste like Mounds bars

dish of coconut squares

Coconut squares

Confections-making season has finally arrived! The long, hot, humid summer of 2013 was finally behind me, so with renewed aplomb I dived into Peter Greweling’s Coconut Squares from his book, Chocolates and Confections, 2nd edition. I do not remember why I chose this recipe, though I had been anticipating making the squares for some time. I bought the dessicated coconut about a month before attempting the recipe, and about two months before bought several bottles of inverted sugar and four 15-inch caramel rulers from JBPrince. A satisfying splurge, indeed. (The caramel rulers, not the chocolate squares.)

The procedure was rather straightforward: cook some sugar syrup, moisten the coconut with the sugar syrup, then cook up a lot of sugar syrup, and add that syrup, plus some frappe (or marshmallow creme) to the coconut. Mix it all together well, then spread into a 12×12-inch frame. Let set. Coat one side of the slab with bittersweet chocolate. When the chocolate sets, flip the slab and cut into 1-inch squares. Dip each square in tempered chocolate, add a little swooshy-swoosh flourish with a dipping fork, then sprinkle on a few strands of dessicated coconut.

They looked great and tasted pretty darn good. I brought some into work and received a few “Fabulous! Tastes just like a Mounds bar!” comments. Yikes! If I wanted to present substandard, cheap confections to my colleagues I would have hopped across the street to CVS to get a sack of Fun-Size Mounds instead of spending much of my weekend and spare change creating coconut squares.

In the interest of understanding and perfecting my craft, I did a Mounds – homemade-coconut-square taste test.

The coconut-filling taste was almost the same, but homemade had brighter flavor. The chocolate of Mounds bar was soft, not snappy, and was a dull, ugly brown with machine-engineered “waves.” And the chocolate has a wimpy flat taste. The chocolate on the homemade specimen, of course, had a beautiful shine and snap — and a rich chocolate taste.

Not a big fan either way, though; I prefer rich, creamy, dreamy fillings. Wish I could remember why I chose to make these to begin with.

White-Chocolate Citrus Ganache in White-Chocolate Shells

Molded chocolates, white chocolate

White-chocolate-citrus ganache in white-chocolate shells. The candies look a little more yellow in the photo than they really were. (Click on image to see larger photo.)

Though molded chocolates are among my favorite types of confections, I’ve gotta say that they’re a big pain in the arse to make at home. Everything is hurry-up-and-wait, extremely messy, and sometimes seemingly impossible for anyone with fewer than four hands.

But I never regret making them — and I will probably make many more. Continue reading

Milk-Chocolate Ganache in Bittersweet Chocolate Shells

My latest molded-chocolate practice session was fraught with problems, but the two-toned shell seemed to work out OK. Here, a milk-chocolate ganache was piped into a bittersweet chocolate shell with milk-chocolate striping. (Click on image to see larger photo.)

My latest molded-chocolate practice session was fraught with problems, but the two-toned shell seemed to work out OK. Here, a milk-chocolate ganache was piped into a bittersweet chocolate shell with milk-chocolate striping. (Click on image to see larger photo.)

My latest molded-chocolate practice session left me with over 100 thick-shelled chocolates with too little ganache inside them, an estimated two pounds of wasted chocolate, and complete exhaustion. A quick run-thru of notes and lessons learned before I collapse: Continue reading

White-Chocolate Cappuccino Truffles

 

The white-chocolate-based ganache was so creamy and soft that the truffle centers barely held their shape before they were dipped. (Click on photo for larger image.)

The white-chocolate-based ganache was so creamy and soft that the truffle centers barely held their shape before they were dipped. (Click on photo to see larger image.)

Unable to find a trustworthy cappuccino truffle recipe with a white-chocolate-based ganache (I was trying to please both a coffee lover and a chocolate hater), I decided to adapt truffle goddess Carole Bloom’s cappuccino truffles recipe, which in its original form has a dark-chocolate ganache base.

Continue reading

Mark Militello’s White Chocolate Brownies with White and Dark Chocolate Chunks

White chocolate brownies

White chocolate brownies with white and dark chocolate chunks. The dark chocolate chunks in these bars are actually Guittard's L’Etoile du Nord 64 percent semisweet chocolate wafers.
(Click on photo for larger image.)

I was seeking a relatively easy cookie or bar recipe that called for a lot of white chocolate, milk chocolate, or both. I came across this fabulous recipe in Janice Wald Henderson’s appropriately named cookbook White Chocolate. The recipe calls for 1 pound of white chocolate and 8 ounces of dark chocolate. Since I had over 5 pounds of white chocolate to use up, I baked up two batches — one batch with walnuts, one without.
Continue reading

Milk chocolate, pretzel, and peanut bark

Pretzel-Peanut Bark

Most of the toppings on this pretzel-peanut bark are loose and will soon fall off! (Click on photo for larger image.)


Source or inspiration for recipe: Various
Yield: Two large (approx. 11×17″) slabs of bark (This is actually a double recipe that is easily halved.)

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. milk chocolate couverture, tempered
  • 4 cups thin salted pretzels, broken into medium-sized pieces (about 1 inch each)
  • 2 cups unsalted dry roasted peanuts

Continue reading