Here, for the curious, is the final list of items to be included in this year’s chocolate boxes:
- Chocolate macadamia fudge
- Chocolate ginger fudge
- White chocolate – lavender – Meyer lemon fudge
- Coconut tequila lime fudge
- Coffee cinnamon white chocolate fudge
- Coconut almond fudge
- chocolate covered bergamot peel (if I feel generous enough to let anyone else have any!)
- vanilla – jasmine tea – orange-blossom honey caramels
- English toffee – with and w/o nuts
- Choc covered candied ginger
- Choc covered apricot
- Brandied cherries
- Dried fig, white chocolate, Cognac
- Guava + white chocolate
- Milk chocolate – gianduja (hazelnut)
- Milk chocolate – caramel
- Scotch – SWS 19.36
- Goat cheese & honey
- Jasmine tea
- Saffron + dark chocolate
- Caramelized banana
- Orange marmalade
- Honey (or possibly lemon verbena)
- Irish coffee
I am currently going through and analyzing, cross-correlating, etc. the formulations from the three professional chocolatier books I have to see what the common themes are. This is more complex than it sounds since I have to take their breakdowns and analyze them for % water, % cocoa butter, % sugar, and so on, and from there build out some test recipes to see what the texture is like for those proportions. This is going to be fairly time-consuming and I’m not sure I’ll have the time to do a full analysis, so in a pinch I’ll just take one recipe and run with it. But I am hoping to have some time in the mornings (when I can’t do chocolate work, since Mike is still asleep) to do the requisite analysis.
I have also been researching confectionery bars, which are basically just stainless steel or aluminum bars that one lays down in a square or rectangle on a Silpat (silicone baking mat), then pours caramel or toffee or whatever into. The nice part about using confectionery bars is that you effectively have a pan of adjustable size, with nice straight edges – so you can do a large sheet or a small one depending on batch size – and because they come in 1/2″ x 3/4″ cross section, you can measure a 1/2″ or 3/4″ tall item just by filling the frame completely.
Stainless steel confectionery bars retail for about $200 a set, but I had a burst of inspiration and realized that confectionery bars are just flat bars of metal, which seem to run about $50/set in stainless steel, so if I order directly from a metal shop I can save myself about $150. Not bad! I am going to stop by a San Francisco metal shop on Monday morning.
My chocolates schedule (hey, I’m a project manager – I have to make schedules!) says that I’m supposed to be making/dipping caramels, a test run of brandied cherries, dried fruits, candied ginger, and candied bergamot peel this weekend. But we’ll see how it goes: today I’m going shopping at the farmer’s market, then meeting up with people to discuss the CNCH web redesign, then meeting (I hope!) with a potential graphic design volunteer for Weavolution in the afternoon. Sunday I have two meetings (business and development) for Weavolution, and Mike and I are going for a mid-length bike ride, 1.5-2 hours, but I’m otherwise free. I’ll probably devote most of the day to chocolatiering. It’ll be a tight schedule, but I do think I can get a lot (if not all) of it done.