Today has mostly been devoted to the inglorious and yet vital setup work for chocolatiering. Early this morning I transcribed/adapted all the recipes and recalculated the quantities of ingredients to produce a “standardized” 750-gram batch for all the centers. (I think that is probably overkill but better too much than too little.) That took about three hours.
Then I made up my ingredients list, and checked it against my supplies. I went shopping at the farmer’s market, and picked up some interesting goodies that I hadn’t expected: candied grapefruit peel in rose geranium syrup, candied lime, yuzu, and rangipur lime peels. Also two big, football-shaped fresh citrons, which I have no particular use for but could not resist since they are so hard to find. (Tigress spots rare and delicate prey; pounces!) I’m going to think about whether any of them can go into the candy box – they are tasty, though, so even if they don’t go into the chocolates box I will (munch munch, munch munch) find a use for them!
Now I am concocting strategy. I have about three days to do about fifty pounds of chocolate, so stringing things together in an efficient manner is essential if I’m going to finish everything in time. This means that everything that requires tempered milk chocolate should be done in a single session if possible, as setting up the machine to temper chocolate can easily take 40 minutes, even using the “quick” method. Then, if I am switching to dark chocolate, I have to clean out the bowl and the mixing attachment, and start over with dark chocolate…so basically I want to do one big batch of milk chocolate, one big batch of white chocolate, and spend the rest of the time working on dark chocolate stuff.
Easier said than done, however. Some of my truffle center recipes call for melted, tempered chocolate; this means that they need to be mixed up while I have the big batch of tempered chocolate going. And of course I only have so many pans/frames, so I can only have so many batches of chocolates going at once. And then there is the prep work for each recipe…
Well, the precise details would make your head whirl (it’s making mine whirl right now), so I won’t get deep into the nitty-gritty. I’ll just say that I am reviewing recipes and trying to sort out the most efficient way to schedule all the work, and that while this will take me two or three hours, it will probably save me far more than that once it comes time to start making chocolates. I have 22 types of bonbon that I plan to make in three days – from experience, 2 or 3 of those will fail (curdle, not be tasty enough to include, etc.) leaving about 18-19 varieties, which will be perfect for filling up the candy box.
Here is the finalized list of what to put into the chocolates box:
- Chocolate macadamia
- White chocolate lavender Meyer lemon
- Coconut tequila lime
- “Almond Joy” – coconut fudge dipped in chocolate with an almond on top
Chocolate coated candies:
- Candied bergamot peel
- Meyer lemon peel
- English toffee
- Jasmine caramels
- Dried apricots
- Candied ginger
- Possibly: lime peel
Bonbons and molded chocolates:
White chocolate centers:
- Fig and Cognac
- Violet syrup, possibly with a touch of lemon or lime (to cut the sweetness)
- Coffee cinnamon buttercream
- Strawberry jam and balsamic vinegar buttercream
- Prune, port, cinnamon, honey, butter
Milk chocolate centers:
- Red currants
- Chestnut, honey, rum
- Apricot jam and lavender
- Passionfruit caramel
Dark chocolate centers:
- Cinnamon honey
- Coffee, hazelnut paste, rice krispies
- “Spice” – cinnamon, anise, ginger
- Irish coffee – Scotch truffle rolled in espresso powder with crunchy sugar crystals
- Jasmine tea
- Orange, cinnamon, clove, vanilla, honey
- Ginger lime
- Raspberry and chipotle pepper
Not, perhaps, the most adventurous collection I’ve tried, but I’m pressed for time this year what with the wedding dress, so I’m sticking to mostly familiar flavors with a few sorties into the adventurous. A lot of this year’s recipes come from Jean-Pierre Wybauw’s book Fine Chocolates 2: Great Ganache Experience, which I recently acquired and want to test out. So we’ll see how it all works out.
I hear the dishwasher is just about done with my big pot, so back to work! Time to make caramels and English toffee!