Sunday, October 29, 2006

Halloween Candy for Grownups

Starting last Mother's Day, I've been doing occasional chocolate truffle sales for my friends, coworkers, and neighbors. While Mother's Day and Father's Day are more typical occasions for such a thing, I decided to explore some creative flavors and market Halloween Candy for Grownups. I had orders for about 220 candies, and have been working on and off since Wednesday. Truffle making mixes periods of intense activity with long blocks of time spent waiting for things to set up. Last night was the final big push.

Here they are, all laid out and ready for packaging:
The flavor assortment:
L to R: Pumpkin Seed Praline, Coconut Ghosts, Candy Corn, Caramel Apple

For the pumpkin seed praline, I caramelized sugar and mixed in toasted pumpkin seeds, then cooled it and chopped it up fine. The ganache was 8 oz butter, 11 oz chocolate, and 6 oz of praline. These were dipped and sprinkled with extra praline. Using butter instead of cream in the ganache allows the praline chunks to stay crunchy. (Melt the chocolate, then let it get quite cool and stir in room temperature butter and then the praline.)

The coconut ghosts are 12 oz chocolate, 8 oz coconut milk, and 1 tsp coconut extract, coated in chocolate and rolled in unsweetened coconut.

The candy corn are just a plain chocolate ganache (12 oz chocolate, 8 oz cream), dipped in tempered chocolate and garnished on the top and bottom with candy corn.

For the caramel apple, I made an apple cider infused caramel, cut it into pieces, and dipped it in chocolate.
Apple Cider Caramels
2 c apple cider
Reduce to 1/3 cup, set aside.

2/3 c cream
6 tbsp butter
Heat to boil, then set aside.

1 1/2 c sugar
1/4 c corn syrup
1/4 water
Cook to light brown

Add cream, butter and reduced apple cider all at once, stirring constantly (it will foam up - use a good size pot). Cook to 250 degrees, using fairly low heat - you want to take about 10-15 minutes to get it up to temperature. Pour it into a 8 inch square baking pan that's been lined with two pieces of oiled parchment paper, one in each direction - this creates a "sling" to pull the caramel out of the pan. (If you're new to caramel making, this is a just a variation on this recipe, and the link includes more detailed instructions.)
I like the flavor, but I'm still trying to figure out how prevent the caramels from spreading so much after they're dipped - they were supposed to be nice cubes, not flat squares...

All boxed up for gift giving:
I've got the usual small amount of overrun to get rid of, as last minute sales and/or for dessert tonight for my birthday cassoulet party.


Mazenbloo said...

Oh. My. Chocolate. Goodness! I'm in love! LOL Those look FANTASTIC! Have you thought of starting your own full time business? :D

Tammy Coxen said...

Thanks! I'm toying around with various ideas about a food related business, but it wouldn't be full time, at least not to start. And truffle making would just be one small piece of it. But thanks for the vote of confidence!

Anonymous said...

Hi Tammy

Your chocolates look and sound divine! I'm new to blogging so forgive me if I am committing a blogging faux pas...but if you want to step up your 'business', allow me to help you align your packaging with the upscale style and quality of your chocolates...
Cheers:Sher beecharmerbakeryathotmaildotcom