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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Culinary School - Session 65: Chocolate Carres, Rochers and Chocolate Covered Almonds

Culinary School: Session 65 (01.23.15)

Chocolate Carres, Rochers and Chocolate Covered Almonds

I'll never have to buy a candy bar again...

Next week is dedicated to creating Candy Stand Showpieces. But what's a candy stand without candy? That's right... a bowl.

We solved that problem during this session, making a few hundred pieces of three simple but delicious chocolate candies: Chocolate Carres (Carres au Chocolat), Rochers and Chocolate Covered Almonds (Amandes Enrobees de Chocolat). No empty bowl for me!

... and are you a sweet genius?

Not only will next week bring the first big showpiece project, but I will be spending several days assisting the one and only Ron Ben-Israel, Sweet Genius extraordinaire in a cake decorating master class (you know you're the top of your game when your website url is www.weddingcakes.com). 

Chocolate Carres with Hazelnut Praline and Feuilletine Filling

- Ingredients Running Tally -

Ingredients used to date (01.23.15):
  • Flour: 23,900g
  • Eggs: 14,050g (281x)
  • Sugar: 16,995g
  • Butter: 15,090g
  • Milk/Cream: 13,070g
  • Chocolate: 3,140g (since 01.12.15)

    - The Recipes -


    Chocolate Carres (Carres au Chocolat)

    Crispy, chocolate covered squares filled with a Hazelnut Praline filling. Yum!  

    There's a tendency to describe new foods by how they are similar to or different from more familiar items. Frog legs taste like chicken (they do!)... Pierogi are Polish dumplings (close enough).

    So when we started making these Chocolate Carres, the description of "Kit Kat's for Adults" was offered. True, both are crispy treats covered in chocolate... but that's really where the similarities end. A Hazelnut Praline and Feuilletine filling will beat a sweet-ish wafer any day.

    This filling is spoon-worthy on its own - try it as the bottom layer to an ice cream sundae and thank me later.

    Focus Techniques:
    - Making "Slab Candy". The Chocolate Carres are made by assembling a filling (Tempered Chocolate, Hazelnut Praline Paste and Feuilletine), spreading it in an even layer on a clean work surface and finishing it with a layer of Tempered Chocolate. The slab is portioned into individual candies as the chocolate sets. This method is effective for making large quantities of a single candy.
    - Using Tempered Chocolate in recipes, not just as a coating. While the original recipe called for using any melted chocolate, Tempered Chocolate creates a better final product. Using Tempered Chocolate sets the filling more quickly and eliminates the need to chill the slab in the refrigerator. This cuts production time. In addition, by keeping the slab at room temperature, the final chocolate coating takes slightly longer to set, making it easier to portion pieces before the chocolate hardens and runs the risk of cracking.

    Mixture of Tempered Chocolate, Hazelnut Praline Paste and Feuilletine

    Spread Slab of Chocolate Carres Filling

    A Final Chocolate Carre



    Meaning "rock", these are rough shaped mounds of toasted almond, candied orange peel and milk chocolate.

    Focus Techniques:
    - Forming "drop candies" with Tempered ChocolateMise en Place is important! Because tempered chocolate can set quickly, these candies must be processed quickly and in small batches. Enough toasted almonds, orange peel and Tempered Chocolate for two to three candies is mixed in a bowl that has been heated. Heating the bowl will prevent the chocolate from setting too quickly. The candy is portioned into small mounds using spoons (using hands will create unattractive, "shaggy" looking candies). Once the candies are portioned, the bowl is rewarmed and the process continues. If at any time the bowl or spoons become coated with the mixture, they should be replaced. 


    Chocolate Covered Almonds (Amandes Enrobees de Chocolat)

    Simple but classic - candied almonds coated in chocolate.

    Focus Techniques:
    - Intentionally crystallizing sugar when making a caramel. In order to make sugar covered almonds, a mixture of water, sugar and nuts is actively stirred as it boils, breaking one of the cardinal rules of caramel making. By agitating the mixture as the water evaporates, the sugar eventually recrystallizes. At this stage, the nuts are coated in a hard, sandy coating of uncaramelized sugar. It is possible to use these nuts for candies. It is also possible to continue heating the nuts, melting the sugar to create an actual caramel.
    - Using chocolate dipping tools to coat candies. For smaller candies, like these Chocolate Covered Almonds, it is most efficient and practical to coat the nuts by hand. However, specially designed dipping tools will create a cleaner finish. 

    Almonds Coated in Crystalized Sugar

    Fully Caramelized Almonds and Almonds Candied in Crystalized Sugar

    Chocolate Dipping Tools

    Enrobing Candied Almonds in Dark Chocolate

    Final Chocolate Covered Almonds

    Next - Sessions 66 & 67: Chocolate Candy Stand

    Previous - Session 64: Chocolate Orange Truffles and Chocolate Boxes (cont.)

    Take a look at the full syllabus

    Questions? Comments? Send me an email or leave a comment.
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