Monday, April 9, 2012

Oddities, Artistry and Insides

Candy making can take a lot of time and effort.  At times we worked on three different recipes at once.  Some of it can be intense - like making sure the chocolate doesn't seize and the dipping runs smoothly.  We had a lot of people crammed in my kitchen using every bit of counter space.

Truffles with pigtails
I tempered the chocolate for the dipping this year.  It was so hard to leave it alone to cool.  I had to set a timer to walk away so I wouldn't fuss over it.  The girls would laugh at me:  "Walk away from the chocolate, Sally."

It was worth the wait.  It had a decent gloss, no blooming, it coated wonderfully and made a nice, even colored shell.  There was no puddling, no need to chill or freeze the chocolates to get them to set.  We had a couple of people dip and had others dip the toffee, which all went in a single pass.  Wonderful!

But the tempered chocolate had an odd effect on many of the chocolates:  they ended up in what we called pigtails.  The chocolate cookbook said that the centers should be room temperature when dipping them.  I guess this was the reason why.  Any center that we dipped cold squirted out of the weak point of the outer shell like Play-Doh.  It was comical.

Artistic piping
Once the candies are dipped, there's decorating.  The cookie dough truffles had a few chips on top and the ginger clusters aren't dipped, so they didn't need anything additional.  But the rest get some extra flourishes.

Look at the work that went into these!  Flowers and faces and all sorts of geometric patterns.  The spider in it's web was impressive.  I loved the smiley faces on the buttercreams with their pink pigtail tongues.  YUM.  The artist spent over an hour piping all of these designs.

Peanut Butter, Cookie Dough, Mint Oreo Truffle
Pave, Orange Buttercream

All that hard work on the outside hides the hard work on the inside.  Trust me, they taste as good as they look:  the dense peanut butter, cookie dough truffles with it's mini chocolate chips and the rich, dark Oreo truffles.  As for the orange buttercreams?  Hurley tradition dictates that the color of the buttercream center should never match the flavor.  Colors vary from year to year; this year's centers are magenta.  Woo-hoo!

I don't normally dip the black and white paves.  The color contrast is all the decoration they need, but also they tend to seize the chocolate after just dipping a few of them.  We tried a few this year with last of the tempered chocolate.   I liked that they were so square compared to all of the other round candies.  But I don't foresee dipping a whole batch of them any time soon, since they even affected the tempered chocolate.

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