Saturday, August 15, 2009

Chocolate Sudoku

It turned out a bit streaky - not sure why, the truffles we dipped that night didn't. Might be because we'd first started to spread out the leftover chocolate on a sheet of wax paper to set for later use before we realized that what we really should be doing is trying out our new mold.

It's filled with graham crackers! My pics of the center didn't come out, though.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Guittard Couverture Part 3: Marginal Success!

We made one more attempt at tempering the Guittard tonight. It was a cooler night and the stove/oven hadn't been used in a few hours, so the kitchen was even cooler. Success! We dipped some ganache lumps we'd had in the fridge for a couple days, and they set up very quickly!

One thing I've learned: I'm not a fan of putting ganache in the fridge to set up quickly, which we did when our original experiments with this chocolate were failing. It just isn't as stable as ganache that has set up at room temperature over a few hours - as soon as you get it out of the fridge, it starts melting. So that the truffles we dipped tonight wound up having very mushy centers. :(

As for the chocolate itself: It's got a very fruity flavor, but for supposedly having more cocoa butter than average it's not terribly creamy. At about 90 degrees it is very fluid and easy to dip in, which is a plus. However, we both agreed that we actually like the flavor of the Ghirardelli 60% chips better, and the slightly lower viscosity of this just isn't enough to justify paying over 3x the price for general use. Maybe for something extra-special - it does make a nice thin shell for the truffles.

Bonus: We used the leftover melted chocolate in the sudoku mold! I will post pics this weekend.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Guittard Part 2: Continued failure

Well, I think that it is officially too hot and/or humid in our house to temper chocolate. Our second evening of attempted tempering was a massive failure. We finally topped off the molded truffles and put them in the fridge to set up, and are waiting for better conditions before trying dipped truffles so that we don't waste too much expensive chocolate. Which means either cooler weather or the AC getting fixed!

I brought the refrigerated truffles to a meeting today, though, and they went over quite well. The ganache is really soft, though - I think that setting it quickly in the fridge just doesn't leave it as stable as letting it set up at room temperature overnight does. When we do that, we have nice firm centers. Now they're very mushy when not right out of the fridge. I like my truffles firm, like Harry & David's.

Not going to bother with the pics, I don't think - save that for when something actually works!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Guittard 72% Couverture Wafers - Part 1

We made it down to CakeWalk Chicago - wow! What a great little store! Too bad they're 45 min away; we only made it there on our way to Cincinnati. But we scored some Guittard couverture chocolate as well as a couple of new molds - they have a TON of molds. We'll be coming up with something creative to do with this Sudoku mold for the puzzle competition we go to every January...

Anyhow, I've been hoping to get my hands on some real couverture chocolate at a decent price. Couverture has a higher percentage cocoa butter, which makes it thinner and ideal for dipping. Since our recent attempts have been plagued by a goopiness that makes it hard to dip anything, I thought this would be great. Guittard is considered the "low end" for couverture, and it was still $13.50 for a one-pound box. If I find something I like, I'll be able to buy online in bulk for less per pound, but I don't want to shell out $50+ for 5 lbs unless I know I'll use it!

We started out with some molded truffles tonight, and ran into some problems. Basically, the chocolate just never really tempered properly. I have no idea what we did wrong, or if it's just too warm in here - the AC doesn't work, so the room temperature was in the high 70s. But I'm afraid these truffles will not be shiny and pretty the way that properly-tempered chocolate should be. We lined the molds, and piped in the ganache, then piped the rest of the ganache into lumps to be dipped tomorrow once they're set.

We'll see how this all works out - maybe tomorrow we can get the temper to work better. I will post pics of the results later this week, either way. So far, I'm disappointed and am still on the search for anything that can beat my old standby $4/lb Ghirardelli 60% chips (which we used for the ganache today, btw) in value for the money.