A batch of Pistachio Raspberry
Our holiday season was terrific by any measure. After participating in Holiday Markets for 5 week-ends in a row, and shipping lots of orders out, we found ourselves with about 95 chocolates left, all in dark salted caramel, and a few Baby Dragons!
So my goal is to be in the kitchen a lot right now, so we will have most of our formats ready well in time for the next big chocolate holiday, Valentine Day.
This is what it takes to do a batch:
We start our tempering machine the night before, so the chocolate will completely melt by morning and reach a temperature of about 115 degrees, before we bring it down and temper it between 87 (milk) to 90 (dark) degrees.
We polish the clean molds with cotton pads, then warm the cocoa butter colors and hand paint or airbrush them with our trusty Fuji spray system. We usually focus on one flavor in a single day, making anywhere from 700 to 1200 chocolates, depending on our seasonal needs.
We then prepare the ganache so it has time to cool down before it is piped in. Right after, we mold the chocolates so the shell is the right thickness: not too thin, or it will crack, but not too thick, because that isn't nice under the tooth.
Then the molds go into our cooling cabinet to speed up crystallization. This ensures they will unmold perfectly later in the day. At that point we are ready to pipe the ganache, which we placed into disposable pastry bags. Then the ganache crystallizes, again in the cooling cabinet, before we close the molds with tempered chocolates.
Unmolding is my favorite part of the day, where I love to see the day's production in our white storage boxes which we line with fresh paper towels. The next step is to enclose every box in a vacuum plastic sleeve so no moisture can reach the chocolate. Everything is then placed in our dedicated fridge for 24 hours of cooling. Chocolates not needed immediatly then move to one of our deep freezers, where their life stops until we pull them for a return trip to the fridge. The next day,we place the chocolates in our gift boxes, and prepare them for shipping, pick-up or our markets.
Every little step counts toward that happy ending, when the chocolates will be in your hands, ready for your pleasure!