August Daring Bakers Challenge: Candylicious!

After lurking for several years, I finally worked up the nerve to join the Daring Baker’s Group!  The Daring Bakers host monthly challenges for baking nerds enthusiasts like myself who get excited about trying complex or unusual baking recipes.

This month, Lisa and Mandy challenged us to make candy, one non-chocolate candy and one tempered chocolate candy to be exact.  This was a great challenge for me to start with as I love to make truffles but hadn’t done it in a while.  I also wanted to try make Paté de Fruit (fruit jelly candy) which was one of the suggestions for a non-chocolate treat.

I started with the Strawberry Paté de Fruit candy.  Paté de Fruit is made from fruit juice or puree combined with sugar and pectin or gelatin.  The mixture is cooked on the stove to a specific temperature so that it gels firmly, poured out into a pan to set up and is then cut into shapes and rolled in sugar.  I tried to make a similar recipe about a year ago and ended up with a burned mess, so I was definitely interested in trying it again.  I’m sorry to say that I still need some practice on this recipe.  It’s a challenging recipe in itself, but particularly tricky on an electric stove.  Just like the last time I made it, I could never get the strawberry mixture up to 225°F.  This time, though, I managed to pull it off the stove before it burned.  The result was a tasty, though flat and chewy, strawberry candy.

Determined not to let this candy beat me, I tried again the next day with a citrus Paté de Fruit recipe adapted from the October 2010 issue of O Magazine.  I used Ruby Red Grapefruit as my citrus.  Once again, I never could get the mixture up to the right temperature and made a guess as to when to pull it off the heat and pour it out.  This time I ended up with a candy that was a bit on the soft side, but much more palatable and very tasty.  Once I come down from my sugar high, I plant to try this a third time and see if that’s the charm!

For my tempered chocolate candy, I chose to make a dark chocolate truffle flavored with organic Anise extract.    Since I am fortunate enough to own a tempering machine, I used that to temper some Valrohna Le Noir Gastronomie 61% Dark Couverture Chocolate to dip the truffle centers into.    I finished off the freshly dipped truffles with a little sprinkle of cocoa nibs on top.  I confess that my couverture chocolate was a bit stale, so I wasn’t able to get a nice shiny finish on the truffles but the taste was good. I discovered that I am really out of practice at making truffles, but it was a lot of fun.  It has fired up my enthusiasm for making them more frequently!

Truffle Filling:

9 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 – 2 tsp Organic Anise Extract (to your taste preference)

Coating:

1 lb of Valrohna le Noir Gastronomie, tempered
1/4 cup cocoa nibs for decoration

Heat the cream on the stove until just barely simmering.  Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl.  Stir gently until the chocolate is fully melted.  Add flavoring and stir to combine.  Let the mixture site overnight until firm.  Scoop chocolate out by the teaspoonful and roll into balls.  Dip in 1 lb of couverture grade chocolate that has been tempered and sprinkle the top of each truffle with cocoa nibs while the chocolate is still wet.

Blog Checking Lines: 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!

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8 Responses to August Daring Bakers Challenge: Candylicious!

  1. I love the idea of using anise, but nobody else I know cares for the flavor. I would get stuck eating the entire batch! I just love all the ideas people are coming up with for this challenge!

    • Rebecca says:

      It turned out to be a really subtle flavor. It didn’t really taste like licorice, but added more of a subtle fruity kind of flavor. I think even licorice haters would probably like it if you didn’t tell them what was in it! Of course, if you don’t want to share, then telling is good!

  2. Katie says:

    A tempering machine? I didn’t know such a thing existed! Tempering would have been easier for me if my thermometer had gone down to 80 degrees and not stopped at 100 degrees. Your two candies look delicious, and I’m especially drawn to the ruby red grapefruit one.

    • Rebecca says:

      ChocoVision makes a nice little machine for home use. It’s a little expensive, but worth it if you’re going to be tempering chocolate a lot!

  3. Kim says:

    I’ve read of a few others who had trouble with pate de fruit so you definitely aren’t the only one. Your truffles look great! Nice job on the challenge!

    • Rebecca says:

      Yes, it was kind of reassuring that I wasn’t the only one having trouble. It was really fun to try, but I’ve decided that they are a candy worth paying for!

  4. Jenni says:

    Welcome to the Daring Bakers! You did a great job on your truffles, they look great! You have a tempering machine! How cool is that?!

    Also, don’t forget to copy and paste the blog checking lines into your post (you can find them on the forum, where the challenge is posted) so that you can have this challenge counted as completed! :)

    • Rebecca says:

      Thanks! The blog checking lines are all the way down at the bottom. Maybe I should move them up to the top so they’re more obvious.

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