I have neglected my blog for the past 2 weeks, but for a very good reason. Tis the season for my chocolate dipping. Ughhh! It's a love hate thing that I have. I love eating and giving my chocolates. I actually quite enjoy the "one-by-one" dipping process. I just really don't enjoy making the centers that need to be dipped. It's tedious work that takes me about 7-10 days. Needless to say I'm not blogging this process because it would take me hours. So I'm going to share the process and as always I share all of my recipes, if anyone happens to be interested.
As a newly married idiot/bride some 31 years ago (I got married when I was 10. Dang! That still makes me old) I decided that I wanted to learn how to make my Grandma's Christmas candy. As a young girl I had discovered the hiding place for her chocolates. They were carefully layered in a large stock pot that was set in a back bedroom that was kept cool. This cool room made the chocolate snap with every bite. Grandma's chocolates were mouth watering. Her fondant cream centers were creamier than any I had tasted. The butter she used melted in my mouth. They were divine and I had to learn this art.
Several years ago I purchased this warming pan. I can slowly melt a 10 lb block of chocolate. It will take a few hours to melt, but it has to be done slowly.
I must admit it took me about 20 years to figure out how to perfectly temper the chocolate. I purchase 40-50 pounds of the finest Belgian Callebaut chocolate. I dip 20 lbs of semi-sweet chocolate and 20 lbs of milk chocolate.
This is a list of the chocolates that I make:
Mint cream fondant dipped in semi-sweet chocolate
Frangelico cream fondant dipped in semi-sweet chocolate and rolled in toasted hazelnuts
Coconut and toasted Almond Joys dipped in milk chocolate
Caramel Turtles made with rich caramel and Georgia pecans dipped in milk chocolate
Sea Salt Caramels dipped in milk chocolate and sprinkled with Tahitian vanilla bean and french sea salt
Butter English Toffee dipped in milk chocolate then rolled in toasted almonds
Dark Chocolate Lavender Truffle sprinkled with sugared violet petals from Chartres, France
Gingerbread Truffles topped with candied ginger
Frangelico Vanilla Truffles sprinkled with Amano cocoa nibs
Cashew clusters dipped in milk chocolate (I make the clusters to use up any excess chocolate)
Toasted almond clusters dipped in dark chocolate
Once the centers are complete I get to en robe myself and the centers in rich luscious chocolate. I turn the heat off in my house and open a door to cool the room. I pull out my marble slab. Bring a television into my kitchen and watch anything "Jane Austen" or any "chick flick" that will get me through the next three 10 hour days of dipping. When I'm tired of the sound of the television, I turn on Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker and dip to the Sugar Plum Fairies. Ahhhhh...the beginning of the Holiday Season...back breaking chocolate dipping!
Thank goodness I have an extra large island in my kitchen.
Freshly dipped Turtles. Oh my goodness I swear these are my favorites. I purchase Mammoth Pecans from Sunnyland farms in Georgia. They are THE best pecans I have ever had. I munch on the raw pecans during the chocolate dipping process.
My version of Almond Joys, but better! I use unsweetened organic coconut and roast the almonds. Another favorite of mine.
Caramels waiting to be dipped. I used Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla. Oh my.
This is my marbles slab that I dip on. I will temper the chocolate before dipping the caramels into the Callebaut milk chocolate.
Dark chocolate lavender truffles topped with sugared viotlet petals from Chartres, France. Thanks for the violets Tiffany. A special "thank you" to Trudy who so lovingly sprinkled the violets on to the freshly dipped truffles. I bow in your honor!
Matthew's favorite - Gingerbread Truffles also known as the "Nipples of Venus" around our house. I steep cinnamon, fresh ginger, molasses and other spices into the cream. Divine.
Dark chocolate dipped cream mint fondant centers. Notice the "m" for mint...I'm still trying to perfect my dipping skills. Yes! After 31 years.
This is the first year I have made these delights. Frangelico with Tahitian vanilla bean steeped into cream then added to dark chocolate to make a silky ganache.
I love these babies! Frangelico cream fondant dipped in dark chocolate and rolled in toasted hazelnuts. I can't stop eating these. Another favorite of mine. Actually I LOVE them all!!!
This is my Emi, my granddaughter. I let her dip her own caramels to take home. Fun times.
I'm sure you are asking yourself, why in the heck (Utah word) I do this. There are several reasons why. I dip out of love and respect for my Grandmother. I want to carry on her legacy and her recipes for divine chocolates.
If I stopped dipping, my family would revolt! "Tis the season" means "where's the chocolate".
I wanted to create something in my kitchen that I could share with my friends, neighbors and family that would show how much I really care for them. Each one of my chocolates are carefully dipped with love. I steep sweet cream with lavender leaves that I carefully harvested from my garden. Knowing how much my daughters would savour the truffle melting in their mouths while dreaming of Paris.
Christmas is a celebration of the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I believe that Christmas should be big and grand for that reason. Can you think of a greater cause for celebration? Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem to Mary. His arms are stretched out to us always with the great invitation to "come unto Him". I will rejoice during the Christmas season as I give a little homemade gift to those I love in celebration of the birth of our Redeemer.
With all my love,
Because I love you all and greatly appreciate you stopping by my blog on ocassion, I'd love to send someone a pound box of my chocolates. I will send them anywhere in the world. Just answer the following question:
The winner will randomly be selected Friday, December 10th at 12:00 p.m. Mountain Standard Time. Then I will promptly mail you a box of my chocolates.
Have a very merry Christmas.