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Less then firm ganache!
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soyaki
Bordeaux, France
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February 20, 2006 - 10:23 pm
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Hey all,
I recently tried two new recipes for truffles, one being a carribean concoction and the other was a raspberry ganache. The problem is they both turned out to be too soft to work with after freezing and bringing them back up to cool room temperature for dipping they and they wouldn't hold their shape, they both contain alcohol would that have anything to do with them not setting properly and if so how do I get around this? oh one other thing, does anybody know if golden syrup is an adequate substitute for corn syrup or will it alter the flavour of the finished product. [:)]

Thanks a lot to anybody who could offer some advice[:)]

Soyaki x

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gap
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February 21, 2006 - 12:22 am
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One way to firm a ganache is to add more chocolate to the mixture. Maybe the ratio of cream to chocolate needs to be altered? Alternatively, they could be dipped when still slightly cold (a bit of experience is called for to know when they are not "too" cold). Or you could make moulded pralines with the mixture?

As for the substitution question, I know glucose can be substituted for corn syrup but I'm not sure about golden syrup - my hunch is that it could not be substituted but I'm happy to be corrected.

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Hans-Peter Rot
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February 21, 2006 - 12:59 am
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What is your recipe? As gap noted, your chocolate portion is much too small, so add more. There are essentially three stages of ganache: soft, medium, and firm. Stick to firm, which is basically a 2:1 ratio, meaning that the ganache should contain two parts chocolate and one part cream. This will be very firm and chocolaty in flavor. You could even add more if you desire, or even try adding some cocoa powder. Also, a problem might be the amount of other added ingredients, such as liqeuers. If you're using those, then maybe you're adding too much.

Golden syrup is a refinery syrup made from raw sugar, i.e. it's a cane syrup as opposed to a corn syrup. Cane syrups undergo a special process to give them a lighter color and flavor, and they're much sweeter than corn syrups as well. You can substitute cane for corn, but I would be very careful here since the golden syrup might be overpowering. Maybe use half of one and half of the other.

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soyaki
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February 21, 2006 - 1:40 pm
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Thats excellent, thank you both for your help back to the drawing board for another try. The reason I asked about the golden syrup was because I didn't have any corn syrup at hand when I was making vanilla caramels and I found a few sites on the web that recommended replacing corn for golden syrup but as I haven't used corn syrup before I wasn't sure what to expect as a result... maybe I should just order some off the net.

While I'm here I just wanted to ask another couple of questions: what and how can cocoa butter be used? I know it is used to change the viscosity of couverture but how is this done, at what stage is it added to the chocolate and is there other things it can be used for? Also is couverture chocolate used as a rule to make ganache and pralines centers or is there another type of chocolate which does the job better.

Your feed back would be much appreciated.

Thanks again,

Soyaki x

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Hans-Peter Rot
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February 23, 2006 - 2:45 am
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Cocoa butter is the fat portion of cacao and is what causes the smooth mouthfeel and texture of chocolate. Cocoa particles, otoh, are solid and gritty when separated from the butter, but when the two are integrated, the combined product (chocolate) is still smooth in the mouth. But by adding more cocoa butter, you increase this smoothness, whereas by subtracting it will cause the chocolate to be slightly pastier because the cocoa particles don't have a large fatty matrix surrounding them anymore. Consequently, the cocoa particles will absorb moisture more readily and when melted, the lack of extra cocoa butter will cause the mixture to be much more viscous.

The format of couverture is quite hefty because it is so often used for large scale production. Because chefs must melt and work with large batches of chocolate, they need a product that will flow more freely and produce a shiny gloss (not to mention, a snappier snap), so as a result, manufacturers add extra cocoa butter to the chocolate, package it in large portions and send it away so that you can enjoy a decadent torte at your favorite restaurant. Gram-for-gram, couverture is cheaper than bars.

Cocoa butter is found in skin emollients, hair products, and many other cosmetics. Epicuriously speaking, though, I'm not totally sure what other applications it has, but I'm sure it's used for something (other than white chocolate).

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gap
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February 23, 2006 - 5:51 am
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I use couverture chocolate for my truffle and praline centers - I think it creates a better taste for the recipes I use. However, I don't think there's a hard and fast rule, I would guess you could use whatever chocolate gave the best taste for your recipe.

Any of the commercial chocolatiers out there want to comment?

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oz_choc
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February 23, 2006 - 12:26 pm
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On the subject of things you can do with cocoa butter - CHIPS sell a book (and CD-ROM) called "All the Pleasures of Flavor: Pastries and Desserts made with Pure Cocoa Butter"
http://www.chipsbooks.com/allpleas.htm

Sam

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patsikes
Tampa Bay Area, FL, USA
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February 23, 2006 - 3:46 pm
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For a decorative flair, you can color melted cocoa butter with powdered food colorings. The cocoa butter paint can then be used to make your own transfer sheets, painting directly on chocolate, or painting into molds before you fill them.

Patrick Sikes
P.S. I Love You Fine Chocolates
http://www.psiloveyouchocolates.com

Patrick Sikes www.MyChocolateJournal.com
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soyaki
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February 27, 2006 - 3:13 pm
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Thanks for your feedback all, very helpful indeed. Patrick what type of acetate sheets would I use to make transfer sheets and do you know where I can source them?

Thanks again,

Soyaki. x

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patsikes
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February 27, 2006 - 4:45 pm
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Here in the states, you can find acetate sheets at art supply stores. I have also picked up a few from my local florist shop, they use acetate to wrap a bouquet of flowers.

Also, I am not much of an artist, so I have used rubber stamps and textured paint rollers (i.e. for wall paint) to make transfer sheets.

Patrick Sikes
P.S. I Love You Fine Chocolates
http://www.psiloveyouchocolates.com

Patrick Sikes www.MyChocolateJournal.com
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soyaki
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February 28, 2006 - 8:29 pm
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Excellent idea Pat, I will have a bash at that just as soon as I've visited the florists. I had a quick peek at your website, well done by the way it looks good, to see what shape your caramels were but unfortunetly there wasn't an image available to satisfy my curiosity so can you answer me this, are your caramels square(and neat) because every time i try to cut mine into nice 1x1 inch squares they shatter and I end up with more triangles and shards! what can I do to stop this and what knife is best to use?

Thanks Pat and anyone else who has any secrets up their sleeves,

Soyaki x

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patsikes
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February 28, 2006 - 9:10 pm
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Hey Soyaki,

Check out this photo of our assorted box for what our caramels look like (they are the square pieces with the hearts on top, although the hearts are not that great from this angle). http://www.psiloveyouchocolate.....tedBox.jpg

So yes...our caramels are square. We have been playing with our caramel recipe a bit and have settled at a soft ball stage when we cook it. This gives it the perfect bite and they do not shatter when you try to cut them.

If you are satisfied with the bite of your caramels, just not able to cut them well, I have seen some chocolate shops coat both sides of the sheet of caramel with chocolate (some use a paint roller) before they cut them.

Patrick Sikes
P.S. I Love You Fine Chocolates
http://www.psiloveyouchocolates.com

Patrick Sikes www.MyChocolateJournal.com
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gap
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February 28, 2006 - 9:12 pm
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soyaki - why not make a softer caramel? I use a creamy caramel with firm, chewy, texture. Its a bit of a chore to cut, but a sharp warm knife does the trick and you can push the edges into the shape you want. The "chewiness" goes well with a chocolate coating.

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Hans-Peter Rot
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March 1, 2006 - 12:36 am
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That was soyaki's question: how do it. You have to cook the caramel to the soft ball stage, like pat suggested, because the longer you cook the mixture the more moisture will evaporate. Brittles, nougatines, etc., are cooked to a high temp for a longer time, whereas caramels should be cooked for a shorter period or at least at a lower temp.

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gap
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March 1, 2006 - 11:07 am
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Soyaki - soft ball stage is about 238F - its much easier if you have a candy thermometer. Alternatively, you can make caramel pralines. This is one of my favourites:

300ml whipping cream
300g caster sugar
75g butter
90g milk couverture choc
Choc for dipping (dark or milk to taste)

Caramelise the sugar. Slowly quench with the cream. Once the sugar is dissolved and the right colour, take off heat and let cool to a warm mixture. While still warm, mix in the butter. Let stand for a few minutes and then combine the caramel mixture with the melted choc. Cool mixture in fridge and shape as desired. Dip in tempered choc.

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soyaki
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March 5, 2006 - 3:07 pm
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Thanks for your recipe Gap it worked a treat and was a huge improvement on my last effort. Thanks for all your other tips and advice all. Pat the last thing I ever thought of using in chocolate making was a paint roller....now thats innovative!!! Thank you :) P.s Your caramels look stunning.

Soyaki x

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Ephrem
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June 2, 2008 - 1:25 pm
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Soyaki,

I have read through most of the posts regarding your first question. People have mentioned the ratio of chocolate to cream. While this is important, it is not necessarily all that is needed to calculate the amount of chocolate for the recipe. It should be a ratio of chocolate to the total amount of cream and liquid flavorings. (Sugar syrups such as glucose syrup are not considered a liquid for the equation.) You mentioned that they contain alcohol. The ratio would be chocolate divided by (cream + liquor + any other liquid flavorings). If this is something you already knew please forgive my presumption; if not I hope it helps.

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