Daring Bakers Challenge - Candylicious

5:35 PM


There's a child in all of us. And that child in me keeps popping up quite frequently to see what's cooking in the kitchen. So I was so excited to see this month's Daring Bakers' Challenge - Candies. Yup!! I can see the broad grin on your faces. After all who doesn't like it? So I'm thankful to DB for such a charming challenge and that too with a play of chocolates. Can't get better than that :)

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!




The challenge was to make two candies, out of which one had to be chocolate and second of our choice. Trust my unfaltering commitment to chocolate to make both with it. So here are my two creations - Chocolate Orange Almond Barks and Chocolate Bonbon, with coconut & sprinkles. Get ready for the joy ride.

The very first thing that hit me while I was reading the different options shared for this challenge was the need for a candy thermometer. But knowing how easily a pick up a new interest and leave it mid-way, I didn't trust myself on making too many candies. 

So I decided to check my level of interest in this area with this DB challenge without a thermometer. And if I pass with good grades and equally good desire to learn, I would award myself with a thermometer. Am I getting too tough?? Are you kidding, with all these candies getting popped in my mouth, this is the least I can do, to check my waistline. And this decision narrowed down my choice of candies by a fair amount. Great makes my decision making easier. 


Now though about two months back, I had made some very tasty truffles, yet I didn't post it since I was finding it very soft. As you can see in the pics. That time I though that because I didn't let it set properly. But when I read the description of tempering in the challenge, I had found my answer. 


What is tempering?
“Tempering is a method of heating and cooling chocolate in order to use it for coating or dipping.
Proper tempering gives chocolate a smooth and glossy finish. Tempered chocolate will have a crisp snap and won't melt on your fingers as easily as improperly tempered chocolate.
Properly tempered chocolate is also great for molding candies because the candies will release out of the molds more easily and still retain a glossy finish.” - Ghirardelli


But as I said, I was without a thermometer so my attempt at tempering might not have resulted in the most accurate version. But at least the results are far better and crisper. So  I guess, its on right track.


Chocolate Bonbon with coconut & sprinkles

Ingredients: 
Bittersweet chocolate - 1 3/4 th cup/ 9 oz, chopped
Heavy cream 5 oz/ 2/3 cup
Cinnamon - 1/2 tsp
Coconut/ Sprinkles - 1/3 cup each

Method:
Making the ganache
  1. Place chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. 
  2. In a saucepan, heat cream until just about to boil (it will start bubbling around the edges of the pot). Pour the cream over the chocolate.  Add cinnamon.
  3. And gently stir the mixture until all the chocolate has melted and it is smooth. 



For cut chocolate



  1. Line a shallow tray with cling film. Pour the ganache into the tray and smooth the top. Keep in fridge for about 20 mins, to set.
  2. Once set, with a warm knife, cut into squares. Now with the help of tongs or two forks or gloved hands , dip each square in tempered chocolate and then either place on parchment paper to set. Or decorate as desired and then set. 
  3. I dipped the squares in coconut shavings and in sprinkles. Below few suggested flavouring and toppings are listed


Chocolate Orange Candy Bark Recipe:

Ingredients: 




  • 8 oz semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2/3 cup nuts of choice, coarsely chopped (I used mainly almonds with some cashews)
  • Zest of half an orange, peeled and cut in thin strips


Method:


  1. Line a tray with parchment paper. Temper the chocolate by your preferred method - marble top or seeding*  
  2. Spread the tempered chocolate on the parchment paper. 
  3. Scatter chopped nuts and zest on top. 
  4. Keep in freezer for about 20 mins, when its almost set. Remove and break in uneven pieces to look like barks or cut in squares if you prefer it even
      1. Alternately you can use the regular method by melting the chocolate and setting it: 

1. Chill a tray with aluminum foil in the refrigerator
2. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or microwave. Stir in salt, half the nuts and half of the zest. Pour this mixture in the chilled tray and help it spread by moving the tray up and down. Scatter rest of nuts and zest on top. 
3. Keep in freezer for about 20 mins, when its almost set. Remove and break in uneven pieces to look like barks or cut in squares if you prefer it even.
4. Again keep in fridge to let the barks become firm. 

Since I did not use thermometer, hence I'm not claiming that it went exactly as it should have. But with the 'seeding method" where pieces of untempered chocolates are added to act as seeds to temper the melted chocolates, I still got a decent result. Next time if I do try with a thermometer, I will share the details of that too. Till  then you can visit these resources to get additional information. 



Both the candies are very versatile and you can play with flavours and toppings. 

Few suggested flavourings are:
Spices (cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg), Coffee, Matcha, Chai spice, Liqueurs, Zests, Herbs, Nut pastes, butter 

Few suggested toppings are: 
Tempered chocolate, cocoa powder, confectioner's sugar, chopped or ground nuts, shredded or flaked coconut, ground praline or grated chocolate

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