Saturday, March 7, 2009

Emerging from Chocolate World

Persimmon Fudge

Hmm, not sure I'm actually ready to emerge from Chocolate World. Every day for the past 3 months I've thought, "I'm really getting pretty sick of eating chocolate." But then a few hours later I come up with another idea to try... and taste. Oh, the burden of creativity.

After deciding to give up our commercial kitchen at the end of December, I signed up for an online chocolate course to learn how to use chocolate in a way that consistently produces professional looking results. The course began in early January.

Chocolate is very tricky stuff. Even an accurate thermometer doesn't guarantee perfect results (or sometimes even acceptable results). Plus I had to develop centers using things like homemade fondant, caramel, fudge, and toffee. These are temperamental candies where I have to control the crystallization of a sugar syrup to create just the right form of crystallization. One small mistake and it becomes something entirely different. You can see my final results and read about what went wrong along the way on my Chocolate Temper wiki.

So, to celebrate finishing this course, I'd like to offer two lucky winners each 12 Marshmallow Rabbits. This is not your traditional marshmallow rabbit. Nope, it looks like this:

Marshmallow Rabbit

I start with a homemade marshmallow, dipped in homemade caramel topped with a pecan half. That is dipped into a bath of perfectly tempered chocolate. (Tempered means that it will have a lustrous shine and a clean crisp snap.) The bunny faces are lovingly painted in white chocolate.

Here's what you have to do to enter this drawing. Go to my Chocolate Temper wiki to identify the 5 candies I submitted for my final project as well as the one candy that I chose not to submit. Email me ( with your list. If correct, you will be entered in the drawing to take place at noon on March 29th, rabbits to be delivered the following week.

I would offer it closer to Easter, but I need to fly to Portland to help an aged friend celebrate her 60th birthday.

Edible Santa Barbara Magazine
Be on the lookout for the new quarterly Edible Santa Barbara Magazine. It will be on the stands at the end of March. It will focus on local regional foods and wines. I'll be writing articles for it. Plus I've been testing the recipes and I can tell you they are really good! It's the kind of magazine you'll want to collect and save.

Stella Mare's Jazz
We've also been going to Stella Mare's (by the bird refuge) every other Weds. night to sit by the fire and listen to jazz. Our son Shaun plays the drums in a jazz trio (bass and keyboard) that night. Upcoming dates are March 28 and April 1st. They start at 7 pm. Stella Mare's makes delicious appetizers. My favorites are the grilled artichoke and the crab cakes. You can order wine, a cocktail, or hot chocolate as well.

Maybe we'll see you there? Saraphina goes with us and likes to sing along with the trio, so the more friends to distract her, the better.