Temper, Temper

I tried something new today. I use my sous vide for many, many things, but never thought of using it for tempering chocolate. I researched online and the sous vide companies described several different techniques. The problem with them is they bag the chocolate, like you would a steak, and heat and cool it in the bag. I wanted to dip my chocolates, so decided to use a pan to hold the chocolate. I had to be careful as any water that splashed into the melted chocolate would seize and ruin it. (I managed to temper 3 batches with no failures.

I made sure the large pot, plus sous vide was just big enough to allow the sauce pan to sit in the water without tipping too much. It also let the water circulate from the sous vide without splashing.

By the third batch I had the timing down. Setting the sous vide temperature a few degrees higher, or lower, than the chocolate required compensated for our ambient room temperature of 64 deg. I was using dark chocolate so set the sous vide to 126 deg and let the chocolate heat to 122 deg F and hold until I was sure it was all at temperature. That’s the beauty of using the sous vide to temper. It will hold indefinitely at any temperature you select. I then removed the sauce pan containing the melted chocolate, wiped the pan dry and set it aside before replacing 5 cups of water with 5 cups of ice, dropping the temperature to 75 deg. Returning the saucepan to the water quickly cooled the chocolate to 80 deg. I then set the temperature to 95 which held the chocolate in temper at 90 deg for over an hour.

After making the centers by pouring the candy filling into a jelly roll pan, cooling and cutting into 1” x 2” pieces, I dipped to coat the Butterfingers candy bars. The resultant center was too thin for the candy bar. I then tried pouring it into a mold, but it was too thick. Nothing I have was “just right.” However, the flavor and texture was spot-on compared to the commercial candy bar.

I used a heart shaped polycarbonate mold to make the vanilla cream and Mounds Bar clone. (It is almost Valentines Day after all.) I made a half recipe although the recipe below is for a full recipe Two coats of tempered chocolate painted into the mold made a shell for the filling.

The vanilla cream readily piped into the mold, but the coconut was too dense and lumpy with the coconut so I greased my hands and rolled small balls of the mixture then pressed them into the shell. (I warmed the coconut mixture for the second batch and was able to pipe it.)

Once filled, a layer of tempered chocolate was poured over the top and the excess was scraped off. Tapping the cooled mold on the table released the finished candies.

Mounds Bars

INGREDIENTS
• 5 oz condensed milk, sweetened
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
• 14 oz coconut, shredded
• 4 cups dark (64% cacao) couverture chocolate

METHOD

  1. Mix the condensed milk and vanilla extract in a bowl.
  2. Add the confectioners’ sugar a little at a time, blending until smooth.
  3. Stir in the coconut.
  4. Temper the chocolate and paint the inside of the mold. It will probably take 2 coats to completely cover the mold. Cool the chocolate between coats.
  5. Grease you hands and roll a small quantity of the mixture into a ball and force into the chocolate coated mold.
  6. Pour chocolate over the top and scrape off the excess. Chill until the top is firm.
  7. Scrape any residual chocolate from the mold and tap on the counter to release.

Vanilla Cream with Invertase

INGREDIENTS (HALF RECIPE)
• 3 tsp Meringue Powder (1 ½)
• 2 cups Fondant Sugar (1)
• 1 to 2 tsp Vanilla Extract (1)
• 1 tsp Invertase (½)
• Food Coloring (optional)
• 3 Tbsp Butter softened (1 ½)
• 3 Tbsp Light Corn Syrup (1 ½)
• 2 Tbsp Water (1)

METHOD

  1. Add the softened butter, meringue powder, light corn syrup, and water to your mixing bowl Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer beat until mixed completely, scraping the bowl to ensure everything is incorporated well.
  2. Add fondant sugar and mix on low speed until the sugar is incorporated, then, beat on medium speed for about 1 minute until it all creams together.
  3. Add invertase, and food coloring and mix well. This was my first recipe using invertase. It is a natural enzyme used to break down the sugar and change it from grainy to smooth.
  4. Scoop the cream filling into a disposable pastry bag and twist the end tightly, securing with a clip or a rubber band.

Butterfinger Candy Bars

(Yields about 96 miniature candy bars)
https://spinningsugar.wordpress.com/2007/11/05/homemade-butterfinger-candy-bars/

INGREDIENTS
• 1/3 cup light corn syrup
• 1/3 cup water
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1 cup peanut butter
• Spray Vegetable Oil (Pam, etc.) for keeping the knife lubricated in scoring
• 1 Pound of Tempered Semi-Sweet Chocolate for dipping

METHOD

  1. First begin by greasing a 12-by-17-inch jelly roll pan (with 1-inch sides) with safflower, vegetable or canola oil. Place the pan into a slightly warm oven to warm the pan while making the candy. (Don’t allow the pan to become hot, only barely warm to give you more time to spread and score the candy later.)
  2. In a heavy 2-quart saucepan, combine the corn syrup and water, stirring well to combine. Place over medium-low heat and add the sugar. Cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until it is clear and then stirring often until it reaches a full boil. Clip on your calibrated candy thermometer, raise the heat to medium-high and continue to cook – without stirring – until the mixture reaches 310 degrees (F). During this cooking period, should sugar crystals form above the boiling line, carefully wipe away using a damp pastry brush, but be careful not to touch the boiling mixture. Rinse the pastry brush well – and make certain to blot-dry the brush well – between each swipe.
  3. Remove your pan from the warming oven and place on your work surface.
  4. Remove the candy from heat and add the peanut butter, stirring to blend completely using a clean wooden spoon. Working quickly, pour the mixture onto your well-greased jelly roll pan, and spread as evenly as possible. Score the mass with an oiled, heavy chef’s knife into 1-inch by 2-inch pieces, cutting at least half way through the candy. (The more quickly you do this, the easier and deeper your scoring will be.) It is helpful to spray the knife with cooking oil occasionally to aide the knife in scoring.
  5. Allow the scored mixture to cool at room temperature about 2 hours. When cool and hard, complete cutting the scored pieces using a sharp, heavy knife (I like to use my Chinese cleaver here) and break into individual pieces.
  6. Place the cut candies into the refrigerator while you temper your dipping chocolate and allow to chill for 15 to 30 minutes. Remove the candies from the fridge and dip each piece into the chocolate, then place on parchment paper to allow the chocolate to harden completely (About 3 hours).
  7. Note: You can add a certain flair to the candy by taking a clean dinner fork and touching the tops of each freshly dipped piece raising lines of “peaks” (akin to meringue peaks). Just use the back of the fork laid parallel to the chocolate cops, touch, lift and slightly pull to one side. Looks pretty snazzy….
  8. Store on waxed-paper sheets in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Raspberry Fondant Filled Bonbons

I figured there must be something I could do while my Rye Bread Part 2a a loaves were proofing. I also figured there must be something I could do with the 4 Tbl of seedless raspberry coulis I had in the fridge. Also, if you remember I want to use more of the 11 lbs of bittersweet chocolate I have, so I decided some nice raspberry fondant filled bonbons would be a good way to kill a couple of hours this morning.

I tempered a cup of chocolate and poured it into one of my molds before draining the extra back into the bowl of liquid chocolate.

While the tempered chocolate was setting I mixed the raspberry fondant. I only made a half recipe but doubled the amount of raspberry coulis and halved the amount of sugar. I wanted the filling to be very soft. The recipe below does NOT reflect my modifications.

Once complete, I piped each chocolate coated well about 2/3rds full and let it set. Once set, I re-tempered the chocolate, poured it over the filled chocolate and let it almost set before scraping the bottom clean. It’s always a challenge to bang the finished chocolates out of the mold, but just keep banging them and eventually they will release.

Raspberry (or any) fondant center

INGREDIENTS
• 2½ tablespoons butter, softened
• 2½ tablespoons light corn syrup
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• ¼ cup seedless raspberry coulis, (but you can use your favorite.)
• 3 cups powdered sugar

METHOD

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butter, corn syrup, jam, vanilla extract and salt until smooth.
  2. Add the powdered sugar and mix on slow until completely combined. Turn the mixer up to medium and beat the mixture until smooth.
  3. Use the filling right away, or store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a month. (I have it in a piping bag, sealed on both ends.)

A Plague of Frogs… and its not even Passover!!

Some time ago Fran bought me a book on decorative cakes and cup cakes. A week or so ago she sort of threw down the gauntlet and more or less challenged me to make something from the book. Here is the result – a family of frogs. They are made with white velvet cake that was lightened some by incorporating some meringue into the batter (I took one egg white and 1/3 of the 1 1/2 cups of sugar and beat them into a meringue which was added at the end of mixing.) Otherwise the recipe is the same as listed elsewhere. The frosting was store purchased vanilla dyed with the appropriate shade of green. The adults eyes are yogurt covered raisins and the kids eyes are white jelly beans. The eye pupils are dots of chocolate cake decorations. Warts are either the ends of green jelly beans or the ends of dark chocolate coated raisins. The lines around the eyes and mouth darker green dyed frosting which was piped from cutting the corner from a zip-lock bag. Next time I would use a real piping tip to make the lines smoother.

Two sets of cupcakes are made and the tops cut off squarely. The wrapper (should have been green) was removed from one and it was “glued” onto its mate, upside down, and frozen. After about 20 min in the freezer the tops were cut slightly to round off two opposing sides to shape the head. The cupcake was dipped into dyed and slightly nuked frosting (to make it about the consistency of whipped cream) and the eyes, warts etc were added. Cut a wedge about 1″ deep to make the mouth and glue some red fruit by the foot which was cut into semi circles into the opening. Another piece with the ends cut was put in the mouth for the tongue.