Did up three final batches of fudge today:
- chocolate ginger
- coconut lime tequila
- coffee spice (cinnamon + vanilla)
The chocolate ginger came out more or less as I wanted – deep, dark, rich chocolate spiced up with a good healthy dose of ginger, with bits of candied ginger mixed throughout. I took the “classic” fudge recipe from Cookwise, tripled it, and spiked the result with 1 full cup of Valrhona cocoa powder. I added some extra water and cooked the result very, very carefully over medium heat – with that much extra cocoa powder, it’s very prone to burning. I cooked it to 238 degrees, 2 degrees higher than called for, but think that in retro that may have been a mistake; the resulting fudge is a bit harder than I would have liked. If I remember correctly, the acidity in chocolate tends to toughen milk proteins, so when I added the extra cocoa it firmed up the fudge more than I anticipated.
Nonetheless, it’s quite tasty. I may add chocolate ginger to my “standard” truffle line.
The coconut lime tequila fudge is…interesting. Flavor-wise, it’s definitely the most complex of the three. The first thing that hits you is tequila, followed by coconut, followed by lime in the aftertaste. I used Cookwise’s standard fudge recipe (1/2 cup milk, 1 cup sugar, 2 tbsp corn syrup, 1 tbsp butter, boil to 234 F, cool to 110 F, beat) but substituted 13 oz of coconut milk for the milk, and added ~1/2 cup of tequila to the mix, anticipating that the tequila flavor would boil off somewhat as the mixture got to temperature.
Well, it turns out that tequila’s flavors aren’t quite as evanescent as I had anticipated, and the resulting fudge tastes rather more strongly of tequila than I had expected. I don’t know that that’s a bad thing – I don’t know if it’s a good thing, either. I’m letting the fudge sit for a day before making any judgments – in my experience it takes awhile for the flavors to finish “marrying” together, so the flavor of fudge immediately after production can be quite different from the final flavor. It’s definitely coconut tequila lime, though. (I was thinking of margaritas and pina coladas when I came up with the idea.)
The coffee is quite good. I brewed up some Panama Esmeralda Reserve with cream instead of water. I discovered along the way that cream does NOT brew well with standard paper filters – the filter soaks up the fat and promptly becomes water repellent; nothing drips through, including your proto-coffee. I had to run it through a chinois (very fine strainer) instead. Then I added some cinnamon and a vanilla bean, added the sugar, etc. and boiled it. After tasting it, I decided not to add the milk chocolate that I had originally been considering, because it tasted perfect as it was. It’s currently cooling.
I’m a bit worried about the coffee because it hasn’t crystallized yet – I may have to reheat and rebeat it if it doesn’t crystallize soon. Other than that, though, it’s wonderful.
Tomorrow I’ll start casting the shells inside the chocolate molds, make some of the fruit gels, and start trying out flavor combinations for ganaches. I’ve decided that for some ganaches, I’m going to make the flavored cream a day or two beforehand and store it in the fridge; that will let me do many flavors with considerably less work on the day I mix my ganaches. You can’t store ganache (melted chocolate mixed with cream and softened butter) in the fridge because it destroys the emulsion, but you can store the infused cream, so I think I’ll do just that.