Dipping Chocolate

Story time! Every now and I then when I’m meeting new people in the pastry world, the question of how I got started often comes up. I worked in kitchens for many years before getting involved in pastry. It started almost 11 years ago when I was attending teacher’s college in 2019. I had recently gotten into sugar work, and when I went to a restaurant trade show I was asked if I’d be interested in participating in a chocolate competition. I said yes without any hesitation, not realizing that I would be competing at the National selection of World Chocolate Masters – the winner would get to represent Canada and compete for their country in Paris. Fake it till you make it, right? The thought of winning never crossed my mind, knowing that I lacked a few skills here and there.

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“Aero”, Aerated Chocolate at Home

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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…

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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

A Black Forest (Birthday) Cake

Not too long ago, Royce and I were talking with my mum about food (no kidding eh?) and mum “casually” mentioned that for a time she had really liked black forest cake.
With her birthday only a couple of weeks away, we knew a hint when we heard one (or at least, we figured we did). This year for my mum’s birthday, we made her a black forest cake. I know mum loves anything chocolate, so she’d like this. And I have really fond memories of the grocery store version of this cake that my grandma used to buy for us…So why not?! Read More