Yesterday I mixed up five dark chocolate centers: saffron, white tea (Peet’s “Snow Leopard”), jasmine tea, Armagnac (like cognac but distilled only once), and Scotch (MacAllan 12). I got a little fancy with the saffron and added some cardamom and rosewater at the last moment, but I’m not sure I got the proportions right. Adding powdered spices to ganache is always tricky because it takes awhile for the flavor of the spices to blend with the ganache, so if it tastes right at the start, it will be way too powerful later. I didn’t want to overdo it, and I definitely didn’t want too much rosewater, so the saffron was pretty dominant when I tasted it last night. We’ll see how it does this morning.
This morning I will mix up the white chocolate centers that use tempered chocolate – guava, strawberry balsamic vinegar, apricot-honey-cognac, vanilla latte, and candied yuzu. I’m not certain whether I have space to store all that, but I think with some creative rearrangement, everything will work out. Thanksgiving “dinner” with some friends is at 1pm, after which I will come home and start dipping: the white chocolate coated ones first, and then a frenzied orgy of dark chocolate.
I’m rather looking forward to the strawberry balsamic vinegar this year. I got some top-notch balsamic vinegar – the real stuff, aged so long it’s practically syrupy, wonderfully mellow and fruity. Also insanely pricey. Would you believe $27.99 for an 8 oz bottle? But it should make divine chocolates. (The strawberry jam ain’t bad either – it’s my homemade, sun-cooked strawberry jam, totally intense in flavor.) I have slightly less high hopes for the apricot – honey – cognac centers, which are experimental this year, but as the base apricot jam is excellent (also homemade, from Patterson apricots), it has real potential. And vanilla latte I already know will be excellent (I made it last year), but it’s not nearly as unusual as the strawberry balsamic vinegar.
(Lest you think I’m some sort of flavor genius, the strawberry balsamic vinegar recipe comes straight out of Peter Greweling’s Chocolates and Confections; I would never have thought of it on my own. It’s brilliant! and I take my hat off to the author.)
And so the day begins. Mike should be up any moment now, so I’ll be able to launch into chocolatiering again soon. I can hardly wait!!