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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.)
- 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