Candy, Candy, Candy.. I Can’t Let You Go, and my 100th Post after 3 plus years.August 27, 2011 at 2:57 am | Posted in Candy, Daring Bakers, Dessert, Jams/Jellies | 92 Comments
Tags: bon bons, Candy, caramel, Chocolate, chocolate tempering, cocoa butter paint, couverture chocolate, filled chocolates, molding chocolate, painted chocolates, passion fruit caramel, pate de fruit, seeding method, sponge candy, sugar, sweets
Quick preface. I reached 100 posts today. It’s actually kind of sad, since I’ve been blogging for almost 3 1/2 years. I should have triple that amount, or more! Regardless, candy is a great way to celebrate it!
What?? Candy making during the dog days of August, you ask (Candy on the beach, there’s nothing better…but I like candy wrapped in a sweater) ?
Lucky me, a severe heat wave hit when I started making my candies, and continued on and off throughout July. To add insult to injury, the AC in the room next to the kitchen, that cools the kitchen, broke. I can’t even begin to tell you how many failures I had and how many times I had to start over. BUT, in the end, it was well worth it.
Halloween begins less than two months from today, and then the holiday season is upon us, can you believe it?. This is actually a good time to learn some new candies and techniques you may have never tried, so you have plenty of time to practice and perfect it by the holidays. You should all be rockin’ chocolate and sugar mama’s and papa’s, presenting gift boxes/bags of gorgeous candies and chocolates of all sorts, wowing your recipients come holiday time.
I suddenly have a severe case of writer’s block, and there’s a lot of be written. Please bear with me, this is going to be a long, long post, but, seriously, it’s candy – how can anything about candy ever be too long? Well..luckily, I have a lot of what I wrote for the challenge on hand, not to mention a lot of the technical info about tempering chocolate, by the amazing and talented Mandy, to help me out.
The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa (me) of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies! This was a special challenge for the Daring Bakers because the good folks at http://www.chocoley.com offered an amazing prize (a $250.00 gift certificate to use at their site) for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!
Plus, Mandy generously donated a second prize..a small hamper to the runner-up, which includes a $30 Visa card thrown in by Lis, and a fantastic dessert recipe book, plus some other fun goodies.
I didn’t throw in a prize because I’m currently poor. Scratch that, I just added a third prize. THIS book. It’s pretty amazing!
Anyway, Hmm..me? A sugar maven? Guess so, since I couldn’t stop making candy once I started!
Here’s how I ended up hosting my third Daring Kitchen challenge, as I’m sure some are thinking ‘ Hasn’t she already hosted several DK challenges, as well as Mandy? Yes, we both have, but I digress.
Lis, the lovely co-founder of the Daring Kitchen, and my future betrothed, texted me one day in early July. She asked if I knew anyone who knew how to temper chocolate, but it had to be a tempering method in which a thermometer is used (There are other techniques that do not need a thermometer, but it’s something that takes a lot more practice to get ‘just right’). I sent her some links of Daring Kitchen members who certainly had or looked to have this fun and sort of scientific (a lot of chocolate crystal behavior at a molecular level – schtuff), skill down pat. Unfortunately, none were able to host. I tweeted ‘Anyone know how to temper chocolate?’. I did get one response , but it was instructional – which makes sense, since my question could be construed as asking for help. I tweeted a few more times, rewording it several different ways, but no more responses.
Then the question – from Lis….
‘If I can’t find anyone to host, do you think…”
Yes, I know how to temper chocolate, and I enjoy it, but maybe not during the summer. I’ve been SO lazy this summer, and the humid heat waves were brutal. I could feel my lazy self rebelling, but my love of all things edible, self, succumbing.
During a phone call with the wonderful and talented Mandy, of What the Fruitcake?!, I told her about my dilemma. Suddenly, she started talking about all aspects of chocolate tempering, from the methods, to every.single scientific facet of it. Just as I was ready to offer up my firstborn to get her to partner with me – she offered to do so. I was elated, so elated, I threw out a couple rah-rah fist pumps to an empty room.
SO, about the candy – Lis wanted (from Mandy and I) chocolate tempering demos, and at least one chocolate candy using tempered chocolate and one non-chocolate candy. She threw out some ideas at us, two being chocolate bark and the popular, French, fruity jewels you see all over the food blogosphere, pate de fruits. Mandy opened up a Google doc, and away we went. We each chose three candies and a chocolate tempering method;
White and Milk Chocolate tempering using a marble slab
Milk Chocolate & Hazelnut Praline Truffles
Candied Orange & Pistachio Marzipan White Chocolates aka Bonbons
Dark Chocolate tempering using the seeding method
Sponge Candy / Honeycomb
Paté de Fruits
Passion Fruit Caramel Filled Chocolates aka Bonbons
Before I get to the chocolate tempering and my candies (please be sure to go to Mandy’s blog and check out her three gorgeous and mouth-watering candies), I have to say, I couldn’t have done this without Mandy, especially on such short notice. It’s been a tough time for me, and my brain has literally been a mass of scrambled eggs. I scribble scrabbled into our doc – she neatly, clearly and concisely added a fantastic explanation of chocolate tempering, along with charts with temperatures and conversions, and cleaned up my messy, rambling paragraphs in blue. I’d spend an hour scribbling, then wake up each morning to a beautiful, organized doc. Thank you, Mandy, you truly are amazing.
OK..Let’s temper some dark chocolate using the seeding method;
Wait, wait, wait..first you need to know why tempering chocolate is a really good thing when it comes to dipping/enrobing candies and molding chocolates, filled or solid. You’ve all opened up a box of chocolates and seen the lovely shine. That’s one. You take a bite, and the thin coating snaps nicely, then melts beautifully on the palate. That’s two. When you’re dipping or molding chocolates, if you just melt the chocolate without tempering, you usually end up with dull, streaky, often too thick, chocolate coatings. That’s as simple an explanation as it gets. For the more detailed, scientific explanation, follow the link at the end of this post to our challenge.
Having said that, couverture chocolate is the only chocolate you get a really good temper with. Valrhona is a good brand, for example. There are some supermarket brands that are ‘ok’, and we listed them in the linked challenge url at the end of this post, but couverture chocolate is the best way to go.
Remember one thing as I take you through this. ‘Seeds’ are the reserved chopped or chunks of chocolate used to cool down your melted chocolate and bring it into temper.
You can use the small seeding method, which I used in this demo ( In my photos, those are calets – NEVER chocolate chips, which contain paraffin to hold their shape). or the large seeding method, where your seed(s) are large chunks or just one large chunk of chocolate, so it’s easier to remove once the chocolate is in temper. If you use the small seeding method, and all the seeds aren’t melted once you’ve reached temper, you can either put the bowl back over the heat on and off, for a few seconds at a time, stirring, until they are melted, or take an immersion blender to them.
IMPORTANT: Make sure that your bowl fits snuggly into the saucepan so that there’s no chance of steam forming droplets that may fall into your chocolate. If water gets into your chocolate it will seize!
No, those are not blueberries, they are chocolate calets that sat in the fridge for a few days due to an intense, humid heat wave.
Here’s how you temper dark chocolate using the small seeding method.
• Finely chop chocolate if in bar/slab form (about the size of almonds).
• Place 2/3 of the chocolate in a heatproof bowl
• Set aside 1/3 of the chocolate pieces (again, these are your seeds)
• Place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (once again, make sure the bowl does not touch the water)
• Using a rubber spatula, gently stir the chocolate so that it melts evenly
• Once it’s melted, keep an eye on the thermometer, as soon as it reaches between 45°C-50°C / 113°F-120°F, remove from heat.
• Add small amounts of the reserved 1/3 of chocolate (seeds) and stir in to melt
• Continue to add small additions of chocolate until you’ve brought the chocolate down to 82°F (You can bring the chocolate down to 89.6°F -91°F, the working temperature – and stop there. Your chocolate is now in temper. However, I prefer bringing it below temper then back up to temper. I find it gives you a more fluid chocolate)
• Put it back on the double boiler and bring the temperature back up until it reaches its working temperature of the chocolate , 32°C/89.6 – 91°F
• If you still have a few unmelted bits of chocolate, put the bowl back over the simmering water, stirring gently and watching the thermometer constantly, or, as mentioned above, smooth out the unmelted chocolate bits with an immersion blender.
IMPORTANT: You really need to keep an eye on the temperature so that it doesn’t go over its working temperature. Oh, and you should be using a chocolate or instant read thermometer. It has to be a thermometer that goes below 100°F- your basic candy thermometer does not.
To test if the chocolate is in temper; spread a little chocolate on a piece of parchment paper and place in the refrigerator for a few minutes to quickly cool it. When the chocolate appears to have a slight shine and is set, remove from the parchment paper and snap in half. The chocolate should break cleanly and should not melt when briefly touched.
It’s now tempered and ready to use
Tip #1: If you’re using the chocolate to dip a lot of truffles etc. which means the chocolate will be sitting off heat for a while it will naturally start to thicken as it cools. To keep it at an ideal viscosity for even coating, put the bowl over steam for 30sec-1min every 5-10mins, just do not let the temperature go over the working temperature!
Tip #2: Having the chocolate in a warmed glass bowl and wrapped in hot kitchen towel can also help keep the chocolate at its working temperature for longer
Tip #3: It is also easier to keep the heat if you work with larger amounts of chocolate rather than small amounts. Any leftover chocolate can be kept to be used later and then re-tempered.
Tip #4 – When molding tempered chocolate, it’s messy work. There’s no way you’re getting away clean, even if you use an itty-bitty spoon or paint the molds with chocolate. Put on an apron and deal with it.
Painted Passion Fruit Caramel Filled Chocolates aka Bonbons
Now, let’s make something with this silky, shiny, tempered dark chocolate. We’ll start with the passion fruit caramel filled Bonbons, but first a little story about an evil pastry chef.
I had a tried and true passion fruit caramel recipe that was fantastic, but wanted one with a more intense passion fruit flavor. I went to a chef’s forum and asked if anyone had a ‘formula’ for a really intense passion fruit caramel – in the ‘professional’ thread since I wanted a professional formula. Well, I had no idea that if you’re not an actual pastry chef, they eff with you. When he asked if I was one, and worked in the industry, I mistakenly told the truth..no, no training, never worked as one, no degree in anything culinary. I apologized and moved on to another thread, but he answered, with a formula, and seemed very nice.
Welll..whaddya know – he gave me a recipe where the measurements were completely off..too much cream and passion fruit puree. I could tell by looking at the recipe, but tried it anyway, since it was given to me by a supposedly trained pastry chef. Due to the heat wave, all candy was placed in the fridge, so when I bit into one, of course it was firm’ish’ – meaning instead of spilling out, it just oozed slowly. At room temp, which I found out about a week into the challenge via an attempt by a Daring Baker, Mary, it was completely liquid. I didn’t want anyone else to try it and fail, so I immediately put up my tried and true recipe. I curse your next batch of souffles, Chef Froo Froo, you elitist snob!
When I popped my painted Bonbons out of the molds and left them at room temperature, the humidity seeping through my walls resulted in condensation, which in turn mottled my temper and painting *sniff* Tasted great, though!
• A small brush (for painting the molds with colors, optional)
• Chocolate molds
• Bench or plastic scraper
• A Ladle
• OR A small brush or spoon
• Silicon Mat or Parchment Paper
• Trays / Baking Sheets
• Pastry Bag fitted with Small to Medium Plain Tip
• OR Ziploc Bag with corner cut off
• OR a plastic squeeze bottle
• OR A Teaspoon
Tempered Chocolate (at least 1 lb)
Various Colored Cocoa Butters OR Food Grade Cocoa Butter, melted and colored with powdered food colorings, which I used. It’s not as vibrant as the ‘pricey’ bottled stuff (optional)
Passion Fruit Caramel Filling (recipe follows)
1. If using colored cocoa butter and plastic molds, paint designs at the bottom of the wells in each mold. Let dry. You can also use lustre dusts mixed with a bit of extract or vodka, instead of colored cocoa butters for a nice sheen. Let painted molds dry.
2. When coating the molds with the tempered chocolate, I like to do it how the chocolate pro’s do it (much faster and a lot less tedious). While holding mold over bowl of tempered chocolate, take a nice ladle of the chocolate and pour over the mold, making sure it cover and fills every well. Knock the mold a few times against a flat surface to get rid of air bubbles, then turn the mold upside down over the bowl of chocolate, and knock out the excess chocolate. Turn right side up and drag a bench or plastic scraper across so all the chocolate in between the wells is scraped off cleanly, leaving you with only chocolate filled wells. Put in the fridge to set, about 5 to 10 minutes. Alternatively, you could take a small brush and paint the tempered chocolate into each mold, or spoon it in if you’d like.
3. Remove from refrigerator and fill each well with the filling of your choice. Again take a ladle of chocolate and pour it on top of the filled chocolate wells, knocking against a flat surface to settle it in. Scrape excess chocolate off the mold with the bench scraper then refrigerate until set.
4. When set, pop your beautiful filled chocolates out of each well and enjoy!
Passion Fruit Caramel Filling
Adapted from candybarlab.com, with my addition of passion fruit puree
1 cup (225g / 8oz) Granulated White Sugar
1/2 cup (125ml / 4 fluid oz) Light Corn Syrup
1/2 cup (125ml / 4 fluid oz) Water
4 tablespoon (60g / 2 oz) Unsalted Butter
2 tablespoons (30ml / 1 fluid oz) Heavy Cream
1/4 cup (60ml / 2 fluid oz) Passion Fruit Puree
1 teaspoon salt
1. Place the sugar, corn syrup and water in a medium saucepan. Set over medium-high heat and stir to combine.Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until dark amber in color 310°F-315°F / 155°C-158°C, about 5 minutes. Use a pastry brush, dipped in water, to wash down sides of pan to prevent crystallization as the mixture boils.
2. Remove saucepan from the heat and gradually whisk in the passion fruit puree, heavy cream and butter.
3. Transfer to a medium bowl and let cool.
4. Transfer cooled caramel to a pastry bag fitted with a medium
After trying two recipes for sponge candy, one that used baking soda and vinegar, which resulted in a bit of a scorched flavor in the very middle and one that used too much baking soda and tasted like it – I came across the one below, which is fabulous! Please do dip in chocolate!
Recipe from Wilde in the Kitchen
1/2 tsp gelatin
1 tsp water
1 ½ cups sugar
½ cups corn syrup
½ cup water
1 tbsp baking soda (sifted)
1. Line a 9×9-inch pan with parchment paper, allowing it to flop over the edges.
3. In a medium pot with high sides, combine sugar, corn syrup and 1/2 cup water. Heat and stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to a boil. Wash down any sugar crystals from the sides with a wet pastry brush. Clip on candy thermometer and heat to 300° F.
4. Remove from heat and let sit for two minutes, bubbling should subside (temperature needs to fall to around 275° F). At this point, microwave the gelatin for 30 seconds to melt. Add gelatin and whisk it in. Be careful, the sugar syrup will bubble up.
5. Return sugar syrup to the heat and bring temperature back up to 280° F (the temperature will have fallen upon addition of the gelatin). Sprinkle baking soda over syrup and whisk vigorously. Whisk for 30 seconds. The sugar will rise up to the top of the pot, bubbling like crazy. Again, be careful!!
6. Quickly pour the bubbling mixture into prepared pan. Do not spread the mixture, just let it settle into the pan. Allow to cool completely (about 2 hours or overnight) before removing from the pan.
7. Either break into odd pieces or cut into squares (this is a messy process!). To cut into squares – using a serrated knife, score the candy at 1-inch intervals. Snap the candy apart at the score lines. Then score and break into squares.
8. Dip sponge candies in tempered chocolate, tap off excess. Chill in the fridge to set the chocolate shell. Enjoy!
Pate De Fruits
I spent two weeks making pate de fruits. I’ll tell ya, the weather seemed to affect many DB’ers outcomes, like it did during my first trial runs. When the heat wave broke for a few days (promptly returning several days later to ruin my chocolate Bonbons), and I purchased a new basic candy thermometer, I finally had some success. I made 6 pate de fruits – the strawberry recipe below, blackberry, lemon, lime, orange (All citrus I added food color to so you could distinguish each flavor) and a strawberry-mango (I used the strawberry recipe below, but split the amount of strawberry puree with mango puree). All in all..not as easy as you would think – long cooking, persnickety setting , sometimes barely any setting, but well worth it flavor wise. You can always turn it into jam if it doesn’t cooperate. My mantra is…when in doubt, add more pectin!
When most of us see photos of or encounter Paté de Fruits (pronounced pat de fwee, which translates to fruit pastes), we think of the sugared, overly sweet orange slices and artificially flavored jelly candies we grew up on. Paté de Fruits couldn’t be further from that.
They are bite-sized pieces of real fruit puree jellies (sometimes with the addition of jam and/or dried fruit) rolled in sugar. When you bite into one, it tastes like what I called ‘jellied jam’. The texture is jam like, and the taste, so intensely fruity. Technically, you’re making a jam with your puree, but cooking it close to or at the soft ball stage to solidify it.
Some recipes call for liquid pectin to set the jellies, some call for powdered pectin. Some call for apple or yellow pectin, and some call for powdered or leaf gelatin. There are even some that do not need any of the above, as the natural pectin in some fruits, plus sugar, are all that’s needed to set the jellies when cooked to temperature, but this must be done without caramelizing or scorching the paste. There are also recipes that call for tartaric acid and glucose, but it’s entirely up to you and the ingredients you have easy access to.
Try combining different fruit purees, add jam (Jacques Pepin’s recipes, linked in our challenge, use jam and puree, along with pureed dried fruits), juice, dried fruits, liqueurs, extracts, citric acid for a sour bite, etc to the puree(s). Cut into shapes other than squares (aspic and miniature cookie cutters are great for this), or pour into molds. Let your creativity soar! You’ll love these sugary crisp, sweet and/or tart bites of bright, fruit jam/jellies!
We’ve supplied you with two recipes for Paté de Fruits, one base recipe for citrus Paté de Fruits, since you can plug-in any citrus juice and zest. We don’t have a base recipe for non-citrus fruits that are pureed, since the amount of pectin or setting agents vary with each fruit due to how much natural pectin that fruit already contains.
NOTE: “Some paté de fruits take quite a long time to cook. If you think about what’s happening, you’re cooking all of the liquid out of the fruit puree and reducing it to a very thick paste. The exact amount of time depends on a lot of factors, like how much water was in your puree to begin with, the capabilities of your stove, and the quality of the pan you use. But you can expect the process to take at least 30 minutes and sometimes up to an hour. I do want to add that this is easier on a gas range, but can absolutely be done on an electric stove – in fact, I use a very old electric stove at home and it works fine.” – Elizabeth LaBau
Strawberry Paté de Fruits
Recipe by Elizabeth LaBau, About.com Guide
Makes about 40-64 squares depending on size cut, recipe easily doubled or halved
3 cups (16 oz/450 gm) Strawberries, fresh or defrosted from frozen
1 tablespoon (15 ml) Lemon juice, fresh
2 cups (16 oz/ 450 gm) Granulated White Sugar
21/2 tablespoons (38 ml) Liquid Pectin (Might need more, depending on all kinds of conditions)
1. Prepare an 8”x8” (20cmx20xm) pan by lining it with aluminium foil or parchment paper and spraying it with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Place the strawberries in a blender or food processor and process until very well pureed.
3. Pour them through a mesh strainer into a medium saucepan, discarding any remaining fruit chunks. Stir in the lemon juice and 1/2 cup of the sugar, place the pan over medium-high heat, and insert a candy thermometer.
4. Cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until it is hot, around 140°F/60°C. Add the remaining 1.5 cups of sugar and the liquid pectin, and lower the heat to medium.
5. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture registers 200°F/93°C. At this point, turn the heat to low and hold it at 200°F/93°C for 2-3 minutes. After this, return the heat to medium and bring it up to 225°F/107°C. This process will take some time, especially with the heat on medium, so have patience and be diligent in stirring frequently so the bottom doesn’t scorch.
6. Once the fruit paste reaches 225°F/107°C, turn the heat to low and keep it at that temperature for an additional 2-minutes.
7. Remove the pan from the heat and scrape the strawberry pate de fruit mixture into the prepared pan, smoothing it into an even layer.
8. Allow the pate de fruit mixture to set at room temperature for several hours, until completely cool and firm. Use a sharp knife to cut it into very small squares, and roll the individual pieces in granulated sugar.
9. The strawberry pate de fruits can be served immediately, or refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week. If refrigerated, the pieces may need to be re-rolled in granulated sugar before serving.
Citrus Pate de Fruits (Base Recipe)
Recipe created by Jen King and Liz Gutman
Oprah.com | From the October 2010 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes plus overnight
½ cup (120 ml) Citrus Juice (orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, etc.)
1½ cups (360 ml) Applesauce, plain (no sugar added)
2 teaspoons (10ml/10 g) powdered pectin
2½ cups (600 ml/20oz/560gm) Granulated White Sugar
Zest – use 2 small (lemon or limes), or 1 medium to large citrus (like oranges or tangerines)
Gel or paste food colouring, yellow green or orange depending on the citrus you’re using, optional
1. Lightly oil (or line with parchment paper) an 8”x8” (20cmx20xm) square pan; set aside.
2. Combine citrus juice and applesauce in a medium, deep saucepan. In a small bowl, whisk together the pectin and 1/2 cup sugar, and blend into the citrus mixture. Clip a candy thermometer onto the side of the saucepan and bring mixture to a boil. Add remaining sugar and boil, stirring, until mixture reaches 225°F / 107°C (you may need to stir constantly toward the end to prevent burning). Remove from heat and stir in lime zest and colouring (optional).
3. Pour into prepared pan. When slightly cool, sprinkle sugar on top, and allow to set, about 2 hours. Cut into 1-inch (25 mm) squares, or use a lightly oiled cutter to make other shapes. Dredge in sugar and dry on a cooling rack overnight. Scraps can be re-melted and reset.
4. Store in a box or paper bag at room temperature for up to two weeks
NOTE: In order for pate de fruits to set properly, unless using gelatin instead of pectin, the puree, sugar and pectin must be cooked down close to a paste. The only problem is, once it reaches 225 F or the temperature given, it’s not a paste yet, still quite liquid. You’d have to cook it at least another 15 minutes to get to ‘that consistency’, which in turn would bring the temperatue up higher. Unless it scorches, I don’t see a problem with it – just keep stirring.
Welll, that’s all folks, time to come down from my sugar high. Take a few moments to check out our FULL challenge, HERE,where you’ll get ALL 6 (there’s also a recipe for thermometer-free fudge, given to us by Lis) recipes plus loads of info on chocolate tempering and candy making. Also, again, check out Mandy’s blog, as she’s my other half in this challenge! While you’re at it, you have to see my fellow Daring Baker’s amazing chocolate and candy creations! They will blow your mind – such a talented group of great people, and I’m proud to be a part of this group because of them! Click on the links to their blogs, HERE.