I’ve spent the last day or so ruthlessly organizing my candy production schedule. I have now made up all my recipes, printed them out, and created an achievable-looking schedule for candymaking, broken down in half-day increments. Each day has its assigned stack of recipes neatly paperclipped together, and I’ve created a spreadsheet of all the recipes summing up the required ingredients. From there I generated my shopping list, which is shockingly small – only 11 items – but then, I already bought most of the more esoteric ingredients.
So what’s on the slate for this weekend? Quite a bit, actually. I’m making caramels tonight, and will dip them in chocolate over the weekend. Friday I have painting lessons, so no chocolates, but Saturday and Sunday will be fairly intense: toffee, candied citrus, dried apricots, candied ginger, casting all the shells for the molded chocolates, finishing dipping the coconut fudge, and…my first attempt at gianduja.
What is gianduja? Basically, it’s a mix of nut paste, chocolate, and confectioner’s sugar – the exact ratios are pretty flexible. Traditionally it’s made with hazelnut paste, but this year I’m making one with peanut butter, and one with tahini (sesame paste/butter). The peanut butter gianduja will go into – a shocker, I know! – peanut butter cups. The tahini gianduja will go into a new-to-me confection out of Peter Greweling’s Chocolates and Confections: sesame brittle and dark chocolate on the bottom, sesame-milk chocolate gianduja on top, dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with sesame seeds. I think it will either be fantastic or awful, and my curiosity is intense – I can’t wait to find out which!
Anyway, gianduja keeps for months, so it’s safe to make those a week ahead of time. And, if it fails, no big deal – I’ll have plenty of time to make up and try out two new recipes to replace the gianduja ones.
I’ve now cut up all the fudges and put them into sealed containers to prevent them from drying out. The trimmings have been taken into work and fed to my happy coworkers. I still need to dispose of the cosmetically-challenged apricots and candied ginger – have not yet decided whether to throw them into the ever-hungry coworker disposal unit or to save them for my volunteer helpers.
Caramels tonight! I love caramels – can’t wait to taste the leftovers!