These are photos of cutting guides I had made. I can't afford a guitar, so had a friend who works on a plasma cutter make these. They are stainless steel. I had three of them made--3/4 inch, 1 inch, and 1 1/4 inch. I use them to cut ganache and caramels. I can make the pieces square, rectangular or diamonds. I use a pizza cutter or razor blade to cut the candy. So far, they have worked amazingly well. They are a bit heavy, so I have to support the weight if the ganache is a little soft.
I have a total of $150 invested. Much better than $3000!!! I still would love a real guitar some day.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Today I am going in to work late so that I can experiment with the new recipes and with molding chocolates, rather than hand dip. I made an infused mint ganache with white chocolate. I think it turned out well. I attempted to splatter the inside of the molds with colored cocoa butter. I think I got more on me than in the molds. I poured tempered chocolate into the molds, and not so quickly dumped the excess chocolate out. I wasn't fast enough and the last mold has many air bubbles and gaps. I piped the mint ganache into the shells, allowed them to set for about an hour, then put the bottom on them. I am not very good at this yet!! Surprisingly, I think my first time was partially successful.
I will also post pictures of my lady bugs. I made these before I took the class on how-to-do-it. I made them for a granddaughters first birthday party.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Saturday we went to Quebec City. What a beautiful city. It is 3-400 years old. It is the last city in North America to have a wall around it. It is built on a bluff overlooking the St. Lawrence river. Ice breakers work all winter to keep the port free. They got over 30 feet of snow this year and it was still on the ground. It snowed while we were there. The little streets are very quaint and are similar to European cities. Quebec and Montreal are French speaking. almost everyone who lives there speak both languages. It was amazing to hear them switch between the 2 languages so easily.
Janet and Derrick
Derrick making transfer sheets
Derrick making transfer sheets
The reason we went to Montreal was to take a chocolate class at Callebaut Chocolate. It was in a little town 45 minutes from the city. There were 8 students, all experienced chocolate people and most had a pastry background. 6 were from the states, 2 from Canada. All worked/owned candy or catering businesses. The van would pick us up at the hotel at 7:30 am and bring us back at 6 pm. It lasted 4 days. It was a wonderful experience and I learned a lot. The other class members were very nice and extremely helpful. Although I thought I knew a lot about chocolate, I found that I didn't know as much as I thought I did!! I found out why my caramels leak (I need to cook it 2 degrees more), but I like the texture, so I might have to put up with it.
Our instructor was wonderful!! He is from China. He was delightful and very knowledgeable. He was extremely helpful and calm, even when we were doing things wrong. My cooking partner was from Seattle. She has a chocolate business there and makes some beautiful chocolates. I'll post some photos that I took in class. We made more than 20 different types of candies. I used equipment that I have never seen before but now I want to own!! We even got to play with the enrober. I always thought that hand-dipping was the best way, but I think I have been convinced that there are different and maybe better ways of dipping.
Ron and I went to Montreal and Quebec City for 9 days. It was great fun, although it was VERY cold and windy. I'll post some pix of Montreal that Ron took while I was attending my chocolate class. He wandered around the city and took pictures. He even took the Metro (subway)! Montreal has a church on every corner, most with a green copper dome. We went to Easter Mass at St Marie's.
The leaning tower is at the Olympic Plaza. There is a cable car that takes you to the top. Wires coming from the over-hang of the tower, hold up the roof of the stadium.