I am indubitably running behind at this juncture, having spent a mere 4 hours on chocolates yesterday (admittedly, with help from a friend). Between setup and cleanup and having promised to see a movie (Quantum of Solace) with Mike, not a whole lot got done. I dipped the remaining apricots, the candied ginger, the vanilla jasmine caramels and half the lavender caramels, and made half a batch of brandied cherry cordials, this time in chocolate molds. I am DYING to know how the cordials turned out but don’t dare open one up; I don’t have enough of them right now and besides, they need to age for a couple of days to allow the fondant to melt into yummy cherry-cordial syrup.
Hmm. Maybe I accomplished more than I thought I did. Well, we’ll see how it all turns out.
Today is going to be a real challenge time-wise. I have two Weavolution conference calls, which finish up at 10:30am. Then I need to go to the Mountain View farmer’s market, which is roughly 40 minutes away, to buy some orange blossom honey. (I had plenty, but then I botched three batches of caramels, so now I’m low on the stuff.) Fortunately, we can combine that with the bike ride that I promised Mike (and really should do anyway), but between that and making dinner, I suspect that’s going to blow most of the day. And with only 6 days left, time is getting critical.
On today’s schedule: making lots and lots of fudge (my flavor list has 6 kinds of fudge, but I doubt I’ll get through that many today). Normally I let it cool in the bowl, but in the quantities I am now talking about (double my usual production), that seems unwise. Fudge is made by careful control of crystallization – you want millions of tiny sugar crystals that melt in the mouth – and larger batches take longer to cool, meaning a bigger chance that large, grainy, icky sugar crystals will form. So I am considering “tabling” it, meaning spreading it out on a marble slab to cool, then working it until the crystals form and it thickens enough for pouring. This is the classic way of making fudge, and I certainly have a marble (actually granite) slab large enough. But it would be a pain in the butt to clean off, sterilize, etc. the granite slab, and then I’d have to clean it off between batches, too.
So I might do a compromise like sloshing it into a baking pan on top of the granite, which would cool almost as fast and also be easier to clean (can be carried over to the sink for cleaning, unlike the 150-lb granite slab).
At any rate, on the schedule for today are:
- English toffee
- Coconut tequila lime fudge (tastes a LOT better than it sounds)
- Chocolate macadamia fudge
- Chocolate ginger fudge
- White chocolate – lavender – Meyer lemon fudge (my favorite)
- Coffee cinnamon white chocolate fudge
- Chocolate-dipped coconut almond fudge
I will probably not get through the whole list today, as a batch of fudge usually takes 1-1.5 hours from start to finish, and there’s no way I can devote 6-9 hours to fudge-making today. However, there is usually free time in between as one waits for the fudge to cool, so I may take advantage of that and my new chocolate tempering machine to do two things at once: pre-cast chocolate shells for molded chocolates and make the fudge. I may also try making the silkscreened acetate sheets for the Weavolution thank-you chocolates.
This week is going to be a real challenge, but I am looking forward to it!