I put together my chocolatemaking plans this morning and am feeling much relieved. I have basically three weekends in which to work: this weekend, next weekend, and the Thanksgiving holiday. I have twenty-eight kinds of chocolates to make (that’s all that will fit into a box!), of which ten can be done in advance and eighteen of which must be done over Thanksgiving weekend. That’s quite a few chocolates, but with good preplanning it’s quite feasible.
So…this Saturday, I will make fudges:
- chocolate macadamia (maybe chocolate ginger)
- white chocolate, lavender, Meyer lemon
- coconut tequila lime
- coconut almond fudge
Not a lot of fudges this year, but I wanted to try more chocolate bonbons, so something had to “give”!
I’m also going to do my jasmine-vanilla-honey caramels so I can dip them on Sunday, and a test batch of ganache (bonbon centers) so I can test out my new ganache cutters. I hope they work!
Sunday, I will start dipping the nonperishable items:
- candied bergamot peel
- candied Meyer lemon peel
- jasmine-vanilla caramels
- dried apricots
- candied ginger
Next week, during the week, I will work out all the calculations for the bonbon centers and go shopping for ingredients. I’ll also decide which flavors go in molds and which become dipped chocolates.
Next weekend will be a “light” weekend if all goes well – basically, I’ll do three things:
- cast the first batch of chocolate shells (for the molded chocolates)
- make up any jams, jellies, purees, etc. required to flavor the centers – and yes, I make them all from scratch!
- mise en place for each recipe – basically, do as much prep (measuring ingredients, etc.) for each recipe as possible in advance. Premeasured ingredients go into plastic baggies in the fridge.
Thanksgiving Weekend, Day 1:
- Make and pour ganache centers for dipped chocolates into frames, making slabs 1/2″ thick. Cut ganaches into pieces. Set aside to let the edges dry overnight before dipping.
Thanksgiving Weekend, Day 2:
- Make first batch of molded chocolates
- Dip all the dipped bonbons.
- Cast a new batch of shells in the chocolate molds
Thanksgiving Weekend, Day 3
- Finish off the second batch of molded chocolates
- Dip anything that didn’t get dipped on Day 2
- Clean up chocolate-festooned kitchen!
Thanksgiving Weekend, Day 4 (Sunday):
- Have friends over for a celebratory day of packing chocolates:
- Pack all bonbons into candy cups
- Pack all cupped bonbons into candy boxes
- Wrap each box in gold ribbon
- Pack boxes into shipping boxes
- Apply address labels
Monday after Thanksgiving:
- Stagger into post office with 60+ parcels to ship. Watch horrified looks on faces of Post Office personnel. (Unfortunately, the USPS website doesn’t let you use a spreadsheet to do batch mailings, or I’d print my postage at home!)
- Relax! Chocolate season is OVER!