Chocolate Violin

Backstory: During the first COVID lockdown, with the stay at home order, I thought it would a good idea to improve my chocolate skills by making multiple showpieces at home: an iceberg with a polar bear, a queen bee on top of her honey box, and a large chocolate animal. Most of the showpieces were not as good as I’d imagined them to be, but with each of these projects I was able to learn something and improve my skills a little along the way.

Read More

Dipping Chocolate

In the Chocolate 101 page, I shared my story of how I became involved (temporarily obsessed) with chocolate. There was a somewhat intense period where chocolate occupied pretty much all of my free time. This involved cutting marzipan and lots and lots of dipping for practice.

Read More

“Aero”, Aerated Chocolate at Home

IMG_8553
Who doesn’t love an Aero Bar, am I right? I’m not sure who came up with this technique, but I first learned about it from John Placko, many years ago when I was helping out with his modernist technique workshops. It’s a pretty easy technique: melt chocolate, thin it out, put it in an ISI, add nitrous oxide, dispense, and vacuum. But in order for you to do all those things, you need some equipment…

Read More

Dragees 101 – Chocolate covered stuff

 

Shoko’s gluten free crispies covered in milk chocolate in spring colours.

Dragees. Dragees or panned products have been made popular for the past couple of years. Pastry chefs around the world are trying to enrobe, tumble, anything and everything. No longer will your chocolate covered just almonds, peanuts, and raisins and come in small confectionery packages called Glosettes. Nowadays, pastry chefs and chocolatier will try to pan cereal, puffed grains, toffee, gummies with various flavour combinations and finishing them with different colours making them very attractive and appealing. In many instances, taking something that is done in the commercial world and trying to refine it usually have a few issues:

 

1) Public perception. Why would I pay $12/ jar for chocolate covered raisins when I Glosettes

2) Time. There are limitations to the batch size since we are using small tabletop panners

3) Money. Nuts are expensive, and unless you’re buying hundreds of kilos

4) Lack of knowledge. We are still missing some trade secrets to get the ultimate shine.

5) Exposure to resources. Glazes and polish are sold by the 10s of gallons.

6) Co-packing. But there lies an issues of – is it artisan any more? Read More

To Shine or not to shine.

For some time now, I have been debating whether or not it’s worthwhile to polish panned products. The approach of making your chocolate panned items shine is becoming more and more popular recently. This process is sometimes finicky, the final shine is very much dependent on time, temperature, relative humidity, and even batch size – many variables as you can see. I guess it comes down to a preference, what do you prefer?


Before polish and shellac

After polish and shellac