2007 Holiday Chocolates Part 1

Chocolate Assortment
Recipes adapted from Making Artisan Chocolates by Andrew Garrison Shotts
Salted Caramel ChocolatesSalted Caramel: I've made these before and they turned out just as tasty as I remember them. One caveat is that the small amount of sugar you need to caramelize can easily burn, but you want it dark enough to have a rich caramel flavour. The filling is oily and slick in consistency after the addition of cow and cocoa butters. The use of white chocolate keeps the caramel firm, and not too runny.

Cranberry-Grand Marnier ChocolatesCranberry-Grand Marnier: I made the pâte de fruit following the strawberry-balsamic recipe I used last time but making a cranberry puree from thawed frozen cranberries and water. Trying to be clever, I reduced the Pomona's pectin to a heaping 1 ½ tsp thinking that cranberries naturally gel because they have pectin in them. I was wrong, and ended up with a very soft fruit jelly layer. The ganache was a half batch of the Grand Marnier recipe which produced a too-soft layer. I didn't follow the freezing times and probably froze the centres for about 90 minutes total. The square were very soft to cut and stuck to the knife a bit but didn't crack. Dipping was a bit better but I'm still getting a lot of pooling around the base; perhaps a lower viscosity chocolate is needed. I discovered that a clean dipping fork is imperative to ensure that the chocolates slide off easily. The flavour of this chocolate is excellent: tanginess from the cranberries and citrusy notes from the ganache. I'm pleased.

Vanilla-Triple Espresso ChocolatesVanilla-Triple Espresso: I doubled the quantity of vanilla beans for added flavour. The espresso ganache was very, very runny and I had to chill it in the fridge for 15 minutes so it was firm enough to pipe. Also, the quantity was minuscule compared to the vanilla; however, the flavour is very intense. I would prefer a weaker coffee flavour, but have a thicker layer to balance out the appearance and mouthfeel. Another winning chocolate, aside from the quantity issues.

Blueberry-Cinnamon ChocolatesBlueberry-Cinnamon: Spying a container of frozen wild blueberries, I microwaved them to thaw them out, then pureed and strained them to make a blueberry pate de fruit layer. I added a bit of citric acid crystals to give it a brighter flavour. The cinnamon ganache recipe is based on the Cinnamon-Hazelnut recipe. I reduced the amount of ground cinnamon by one half, in order for the blueberry flavour to come through. This was pretty tasty, but too much cinnamon makes it hard to taste the blueberry.

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