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Friday, March 13, 2015

Culinary School - Session 84: Bonbons

Culinary School: Session 84 (03.11.15)


Just sitting around eating Bonbons...

The Bonbon is a confection that carries some heavy connotative baggage. A Chocolate covered symbol of affluence, excess, and perhaps laziness... Bonbons are a candy selection that says to the world, "I've arrived... no dime store Tootsie Rolls for me!" 

"Bonbon" literally translates from French to "good good". That is certainly straight and to the point, because what's not good about decoratively molded Chocolates with an assortment of delicious fillings?

The flavor of a Bonbon filling is limited only by the imagination. Classics like Milk Chocolate, Caramel and Almond have endured with good reason. But for the more adventurous palate, recent experimentation has brought some outlandish flavors such as balsamic vinegar, bacon and curry. 

Chocolate Espresso Bonbons

- Ingredients Running Tally -

Ingredients used to date (03.11.15):
  • Flour: 24,240g
  • Eggs: 15,850g (317x)
  • Sugar: 24,515g
  • Butter: 15,750g
  • Milk/Cream: 16,255g
  • Chocolate: 5,855g (since 01.12.15)

    - The Techniques -



    A classic Bonbon is a bite-sized, molded Chocolate candy with a Ganache filling. 

    The outer shell can be made with Dark, Milk or White Chocolate. The filling is usually a smooth, flavored Ganache made from a cream or butter base. Flavoring agents may include spices, zests, nut pastes, purees and alcohols. 

    The process for hand-making Bonbons is time consuming because tempered Chocolate must be poured and allowed to set at multiple stages. If any of the steps are rushed, the entire candy will be ruined. 

    Focus Technique:
    - Preparing Bonbon Molds: Good Bonbon molds are a critical piece of this candy-making process. Molds must be very sturdy so that the shape does not warp as the Chocolate sets. They must also be kept extremely clean and scratch-free. Even the tiniest scratches made from a rough cloth can ruin a mold, making it impossible to achieve the desired high-gloss look of the perfect Bonbon. Before each batch of Bonbons is made, the molds must be thoroughly washed, dried and gently buffed clean.
    - Molding Outer Shells: To form the outer shell of the Bonbon, molds are first completely filled with Chocolate. The Chocolate is allowed to set for a certain amount of time and then the excess Chocolate is poured back out of the molds. The longer the Chocolate is left to set in the molds, the thicker the coating will be. Knowing when to pour out the Chocolate is a judgment call. When the Chocolate is poured from the molds, any excess is scraped away so that the molds remain clean at the edges. 
    - Filling Bonbon Centers: When filling a Bonbon with Ganache, it is extremely important to not over-or under-fill the mold. The Bonbon should be filled to just a millimeter or two below the rim of the mold. If the mold is entirely filled, there will be no room to spread the would-be bottom Chocolate layer of the Bonbon. If the mold is under-filled, that bottom layer of Chocolate will be too thick.
    - Sealing the Bonbon: Once the Bonbon is filled and the Ganache has been allowed to set, a final layer of tempered Chocolate is spread over the surface of the molds and scraped smooth, sealing in the Ganache and creating the bottom layer to the candy. The Bonbons are then left to set completely. Over time, the Chocolate will contract and the Bonbons should easily pop out of the molds (provided the Chocolate was properly tempered!)

    Chocolate Espresso Bonbon

    Bonbon Mold

    Bonbon Mold with Initial Chocolate Interior Coating

    Bonbon Molds with Ganache Filling

    Ganache Filling Setting in Bonbon Molds

    Bonbon Molds with Chocolate Sealing Layer

    Final Bonbons Setting

    Chocolate Espresso Bonbons

    Chocolate Espresso Bonbons


    Cream Infusion Ganache

    A smooth flavored filling, perfect for Bonbons.

    Focus Technique:
    - Creating an Infusion: A Bonbon stuffed with a plain Chocolate Ganache may be delicious, but one of the best thing about Bonbons is the potential parade of flavored fillings. However, flavoring a Ganache requires more effort than simply whisking some spices into a bowl of cream and melted Chocolate. Many ingredients must first be steeped in cream, raised to a boil and then left to sit for at least a half hour in order to unlock their full flavor potential. The infused cream is then strained over the Ganache Chocolate and emulsified (i.e. stirred gently until the cream and Chocolate are smooth and homogeneous).
    - Controlling the Temperature of a Ganache: A freshly made Ganache will be warm and runny. Left at room temperature to cool, the same Ganache can become cold and stiff. The proper temperature and consistency for a Bonbon filling is somewhere in between. If the Ganache is too hot, it will melt the molded outer shell of the Bonbon or bring that shell out of temper. If the Ganache is too cold, it will not smoothly fill the entire cavity of the Bonbon mold. Therefore, the Ganache should at least be cooler than 86 degrees Fahrenheit, so as not to break temper, but warm enough to still be liquid, which will vary by recipe.

    Espresso Beans for Ganache Infusion

    Espresso Beans Steeping in Cream

    Next - Session 85: Bonbons (cont.)

    Previous - Session 83: Marshmallow, Rocky Road, Peppermint Patties and Branchlis

    Take a look at the full syllabus

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