Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Progress....or lack there of...

Hmmm... well I haven't done too much since last week, sadly. Partly because I was fighting some sort of exhaustion/cold, and partly because of my theatre company's show closing this weekend, as well as having callbacks for our Spring show. So, needless to say, I had my plate full.

I did, however, finish three more stencils for the chocolate! I'm quite excited, as they were giving me some trouble in the beginning. But I seem to have figured out a technique that works well for cutting curves into the plastic and I'm quite happy with how they've turned out. I'll have to load some pictures of them on here sometime soon.

I was also getting a little discouraged because my first chocolate-making attempt seemed to have bombed. But I moped for a few days, and received some encouraging words from my sister today, and that seems to have put me back in the "I can do this" train of thought. I may not be able to save the first batch, but I'll try again.... (It tasted great, but didn't turn into something I could melt down on the stove, and now it's a big lump of hard hard chocolate in my fridge.)

So, bottom line, now that I have the time again, I'll give it another shot, and another after that, and another...until I make my chocolate! *sigh*

Thursday, October 23, 2008

First Attempt

Okay, so I've started my first attempt at making the chocolate from cacao nibs. I'm not sure that I ground them enough. It was still a little grainy, and not quite liquid when I took it out of the grinder. I also used xylitol instead of sugar. It's a natural sweetener that's actually good for your teeth, and it's supposed to have the same consistency as sugar, so I figured I'd give it a whirl.

So the batch I made last night was an 80% cacao mix. So it was delish, but probably a little too bitter to be the signature. Oh! I also added a little of this vanilla that my friend, Rachel, brought back from Mexico, and it is soo good.

Instead of wasting the batch, I labeled it and stuck it in the fridge. I think I can grind it down a little more, and then maybe it will be ready for tempering. I took it straight from the grinder to the double boiler last night, but it didn't seem to want to act like chocolate yet. So we'll see.

I also have found a supplier that produces the liquor/paste. I contacted them to ask if it's already been sweetened in that form when they supply it, but I haven't heard back from them yet. I'm going to be a real stickler about the sweetener. I want it to be my own concoction, so I really don't want to buy a product that I just have to melt down into molds. I really want to make the chocolate myself. But if I can do that without having to grind the nibs it would save me a lot of time and energy. *Fingers crossed*

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

In The Works

When I decided that I was going to become an at-home chocolatier, I knew it was going to be a long, involved process. I knew that not only learning how to make chocolate from scratch, but also creating artwork to be put on the chocolate was probably biting off more than I could chew - especially when I have a full-time day job and a theatre career nights and weekends. So when I originally came up with upwards of 20 different themes for chocolate boxes, and 30 different flavors that I want to work with, I knew there was going to have to be some scaling back.

Boy, has there been! I have been running around for the past two months gathering supplies, researching (since I've worked with chocolate plenty, but never made it from scratch), and learning how to make stencils for the art that I want to place on the chocolate. I wanted to experiment with flower essences...but I have had to make myself narrow it down to just one until after I have perfected my chocolate recipe. My signature flavor will be vanilla - hence the vanilla flower in the logo.

So, I finally have one, count it, ONE stencil done. And I will start experimenting with chocolate tomorrow! I can't wait to finally be playing with the chocolate. While the art has been great fun, as well as completely frustrating (ask anyone who was around while I was trying to draw), I have always had a love for working with ganaches and chocolates. So I can't wait to dig in!