The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies! This was a special challenge for the Daring Bakers because the good folks at http://www.chocoley.com offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!
Nicole was uber busy with month so I ventured into the candy making world alone for our first challenge apart. I decided to make 3 different kinds of dipped chocolates: mint marshmallow, french vanilla nougat with pecans, and my favorite a Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheese Cake Truffle!
Lisa and Mandy provided many step by step recipes for various candies along with teaching us how to temper chocolate.
***NOTE: Amidst the chaos of the kitchen I forgot to take pictures along the way so you can only see the finished product. Sorry! I’ll try to get some good shots in my next candy making attempt!
Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheese Cake Truffle
- your favourite chocolate chip cookies (I used homemade cookies I had stored in the freezer)
- 1 block of plain cream cheese
STEP 1) Using a food processor, or a kitchen hammer and a ziplock bag, crush cookies into fine coarse pieces.
STEP 2) In a large bowl mix crushed cookies with cream cheese and stir until you form a soft dough.
STEP 3) Cover and chill for 1-2 hours. Roll into small bite-sized balls and dip into tempered chocolate
French Vanilla Pecan Nougat
- For the mazetta
- 2 large egg whites, room temperature
- 3/4 cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 cup sugar
- For the nougat
- 1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 1/2 cups chopped pecan
Make the mazetta.
STEP 1) Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites until stiff; set aside. In a 1-quart saucepan, combine corn syrup, 1/4 cup water, and sugar. Clip on a candy thermometer. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes. Wash down sides of pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to remove any sugar crystals. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until temperature reaches 242 degrees (soft-ball stage), 15 to 20 minutes.
STEP 2) Remove sugar syrup from heat. Beating constantly on medium speed, slowly pour hot syrup into egg whites. Continue beating for 3 to 4 minutes until syrup is incorporated. Use immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to make the nougat.
Make the nougat
STEP 3) Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with vegetable-oil spray; set aside. In a 2-quart saucepan, combine corn syrup and sugar. Clip on candy thermometer. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, 5 to 10 minutes. Wash down sides of pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to remove any sugar crystals.
STEP 4) Over medium-high heat, cook to 280 degrees (soft-crack stage), 12 to 15 minutes, without stirring. If heat is too high it can boil over, so watch carefully. Remove from heat; let stand for 2 minutes. Without scraping pan, pour syrup over mazetta. Working quickly, stir with a wooden spoon until almost smooth. Stir in butter, vanilla, and salt. Mix until butter is incorporated. Stir in nuts. Scrape into prepared pan, and smooth the top; you may spray your hand with vegetable-oil spray and run it over the warm candy to smooth it. Let stand at room temperature, uncovered, until firm, 4 to 6 hours.
STEP 5) Cut into pieces and dip in tempered chocolate.
- 2 envelopes (17g) powdered gelatin or 17g sheet gelatin (8 to 10 sheets)
- 1/2 cup (125ml) + 1/3 cup (80ml) cold water
- 1 cup (200g) sugar
- 1/3 cup (100g) light corn syrup
- 4 large egg whites (1/2 cup, 110g), at room temperature
- pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
- Marshmallow Mix
One part corn starch (or potato starch), one part powdered sugar (about 1 cup, 140g, each)
STEP 1) In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the 1/2 cup (125ml) of cold water to dissolve and soften. If using leaf gelatin, soak the leaves in about 2 cups (500ml) cold water.
STEP 2) In a small saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer, mix the sugar and corn syrup with 1/3 cup (80ml) of water. Place over medium-to-high heat.
(Note that you will use this saucepan twice, to make the syrup and melt the gelatin, eliminating the need to wash it between uses).
STEP 3) In the bowl of an electric mixer, pour in the egg whites and beat on low speed until frothy. Add the pinch of salt.
STEP 4) When the syrup reaches about 210ºF (99ºC), increase the speed of the mixer to high and beat the whites until they are thick and fluffy.
STEP 5) When the syrup reaches 245ºF (118ºC), slowly pour the hot syrup into the whites, pouring so that the syrup does not fall on the whisk since some of the syrup will splatter and stick to the sides of the bowl.
STEP 6) Scrape the gelatin and water into the pan that you used for the syrup, or put the gelatin sheets and 2 tablespoons of the water into the pan and swirl it to dissolve. (There should still be residual heat left in the pan from making the syrup in it to dissolve it).
STEP 7) Pour the liquified gelatin slowly into the whites as they are whipping. Add the peppermint extract or paste and continue to whip for 5 minutes, until the mixture is feels completely cool when you touch the outside of the bowl.
STEP 8 ) Dust a baking sheet evenly and completely with a generous layer of the marshmallow mixture. (I use a sifter to do this.) Make sure there are absolutely no bare spots.
STEP 10) Use a spatula to spread the marshmallows in a layer on the pan. Allow to dry for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, uncovered.
STEP 10) Put about 1 cup (140g) of the marshmallow mixture into a large bowl.
STEP 11) Dust the top of the marshmallows with some of the marshmallow mixture. Use a pizza cutter or scissors (dusted as well with the marshmallow mixture) to cut the marshmallows into any size or shape pieces that you’d like and toss the marshmallows in the marshmallow mixture. Shake the marshmallows vigorously in a wire strainer to remove the excess powder.
Tempering Chocolate- The Seeding Method
(courtesy of the Daring Bakers)
Dark: 45°C-50°C > 27°C > 32°C
Milk: 45°C > 27°C > 30°C
White: 45°C > 27°C > 29°C
Dark: 113°F-122°F > 80.6°F > 89.6°F
Milk: 113°F > 80.6°F > 86°F
White: 113°F > 80.6°F > 84.2°F
Chocolate is melted and heated until it reaches 45°C / 113°F. Tempered un-melted chocolate is then stirred and melted in until it brings the temperature down to 27°C/80.6°F. It is then put back over heat and brought up to its working temperature of 32°C/30°C/29°C /// 89.6°F/86°F/84.2°F depending on the chocolate you’re using. It is now ready for using in molds, dipping and coating.
Tempering using the seeding method with couverture callets
• Finely chop chocolate if in bar/slab form (about the size of almonds).
• Place about ⅔ of the chocolate in a heatproof bowl
• Set aside ⅓ of the chocolate pieces
• Place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure the bowl does not touch the water)
Tip: Make sure that your bowl fits snuggly into the saucepan so that there’s no chance of steam forming droplets that may fall into your chocolate. If water gets into your chocolate it will seize!
• Using a rubber spatula, gently stir the chocolate so that it melts evenly
• Once it’s melted, keep an eye on the thermometer, as soon as it reaches 45°C / 113°F remove from heat (between 45°C-50°C / 113°F-122°F for dark chocolate)
• Add small amounts of the remaining ⅓ un-melted chocolate (seeds) and stir in to melt
• Continue to add small additions of chocolate until you’ve brought the chocolate down to 27°C/80.6°F (You can bring the dark chocolate down to between 80°F and 82°F)
• Put it back on the double boiler and bring the temperature back up until it reaches its working temperature of the chocolate (milk, dark or white) as seen in the above chart. (32°C/89.6°F for dark, 30°C/86°F for milk and 29°C/84.2°F for white)
• If you still have a few un-melted bits of chocolate, put the bowl back over the simmering water, stirring gently and watching the thermometer constantly.
• IMPORTANT: You really need to keep an eye on the temperature so that it doesn’t go over its working temperature
How to dip or enrobe with tempered chocolate
1. Temper the chocolate using either the marble top or seeding method
2. Once the chocolate is in temper, gently lower your truffle or candy into the tempered chocolate with your dipping fork
3. Gently remove the candy once it’s been fully submerged
Tip: It’s best to use a bowl that’s deep rather than shallow so that the truffle is easily covered
4. Tap fork on the side of the bowl to remove excess chocolate
5. Scrape off excess chocolate from under the dipping fork on the side of the bowl
6. Place dipped truffle/candy on parchment paper, decorate as you wish and allow to set
7. Once the chocolate has hardened, trim off any “feet” with a sharp knife
Tip: Try to handle the chocolate as little as possible or wear food safe gloves to that you don’t leave fingerprints on the chocolate
Tip: To help the chocolate to harden faster, you can place the chocolate into the fridge for 15-20mins, but avoid leaving them in for longer than that so as to avoid any “sweating” (water droplets forming on the chocolate)
Making candy is a lot of work! But in the end I think it was worth it. All of the candies I made were yummy but I have to say I think the Chocolate Chip Cookie truffles are probably my favourite, they were sooooo delicious. I think I might try to make some variations of them in the future- perhaps a short bread cookie with strawberry cream cheese?!?. Tempering the chocolate was no easy task and in the end I don’t know that I was all that successful, but I guess practice makes perfect (and to be honest I wouldn’t mind indulging in a few more chocolatey treats!).
Excited to see what challenging kitchen adventures the Daring Bakers will throw at us next!