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Friday, January 30, 2015

Culinary School - Sessions 66 & 67: Chocolate Candy Stand


Culinary School: Sessions 66 & 67 (01.28.15)

Chocolate Candy Stand



Feed Me, Seymour!

What happens when a (truly underwhelming) blizzard results in a snow day, and you're left watching old movies on Netflix? Well, if one of those movies happens to be "Little Shop of Horrors", you might find yourself scrapping your original Chocolate Showpiece design for something a touch more... inspired. 

Say hello to "Audrey II", the iconic man-eating plant, rendered in chocolate form as a candy dish.

In Process "Audrey II" Chocolate Candy Stand Showpiece



Somewhere that's green!

Green, like my drafting skills... 

The project requirements were simple: a base structure, a vertical element and a candy dish. The design can use no more than 1,000g of dark, milk or white chocolate. Projects must include a sketch and a scale rendering.


Candy Stand Project Sketch


The snow day threw an unfortunate curve ball. Rather than have two full sessions for production, our schedule was unexpectedly reduced to one... with a little extra time allotted for final detail work after the upcoming chocolate tempering exam. That meant there would be little time for correcting mistakes... and there are always mistakes!

My design seemed simple enough at first. Two interlocking demi-spheres form the head. Over a dozen large leaves surround the head and form the arms. White chocolate molded in small cones will become teeth. And if time permits, tempered milk chocolate will be used to paint details, such as lips and vein-accents throughout the leaves.


Molding Chocolate Leaves

Base Elements for the Chocolate Candy Stand Showpiece

Unmolded Chocolate Leaves

Base Structure for the Chocolate Candy Stand Showpiece

White Chocolate Teeth in Molds

The first attempt at molding the bowls was an unqualified failure. A ridge element in the bowls made it difficult to release the chocolate, even after it had set for several minutes. However, subsequent attempts aided by a chilly freezer and some patience (patience... what's that?) resulted in success.

Not too bad of a start!


In Process "Audrey II" Chocolate Candy Stand Showpiece



Are you a Sweet Genius?

Rounding out a week dedicated to design, I have also been fortunate enough to assist Chef and Sweet Genius Ron Ben-Israel, the undisputed pre-eminent force in wedding cake design, in a three day class dedicated to sugar paste orchid design. That may sound like a lot of time of a very specific topic, but when you see the incredible detail in his work, you understand exactly why.


Ron Ben-Israel Cake Decorating Class

Ron Ben-Israel's Sugar Paste Orchids - Buds

Ron Ben-Israel's Sugar Paste Orchids


- Ingredients Running Tally -



I'm sincerely amazed at how little chocolate we have been using. But when you know how to re-temper your own chocolate, it's possible to make a little go a long way... if you're not constantly licking the spoon... and that would just be a tremendous health code violation!

Ingredients used to date (01.28.15):
  • Flour: 23,900g
  • Eggs: 14,050g (281x)
  • Sugar: 16,875g
  • Butter: 15,090g
  • Milk/Cream: 13,070g
  • Chocolate: 3,675g (since 01.12.15)


Next - Session 68: Chocolate Tempering Test


Previous - Session 65: Chocolate Carres, Rochers and Chocolate Covered Almonds


Take a look at the full syllabus




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