So it’s been awhile since I’ve blogged. Life has been busy and to be honest, I wasn’t doing much baking for a while. But I have missed the baking and the blogging so here I am.
The temperatures are cooling off and fall is definitely here. Jack Frost is working his magic and each day brings a new masterpiece to the foliage that lines our streets. With fall brings the thoughts of consuming apples in all types of sweet treats. When we were in Minneapolis a few weeks ago we stopped by Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and indulged in one of our favorite treats — caramel apples! My favorite is the turtle while Marshall loves the apple pie caramel apple. I kept thinking about that apple for days afterward and finally decided I needed another one. Since I couldn’t just stop by and get another, I decided I would need to make my own. Having never made one before, I was a bit nervous as to how to go about it. But the internet did not fail me and before long I had lots of good advice to help me along.
I decided to try using Peter’s Caramel and I was quite pleased with it. It had a nice flavor and was easy to work with. I microwaved the caramel and then dipped the apples. I had seen some pictures of chocolate dipped apple slices on Pinterest and was interested in doing caramel apple slices. I tried everything I could think of but I could not get the caramel to stick to the cut part of the apples. It coated the skin just fine though, so dipping whole apples was not a problem. After letting the caramel set up in the fridge, I dipped them in tempered chocolate. For the slices I ended up having to dip them in chocolate first and then add some caramel. I have to say that I felt my apples were just as good as the ones we had a few weeks ago. I even tried making the Apple Pie Caramel Apple last night and was told it was right on the money. I would definitely encourage everyone to try making their own caramel apples. It was lots of fun and super easy!
Here in the midwest we are having a cold spell. For the last two days the schools have been closed because of severe temperatures and weather warnings. Last night it reached –22 degrees. So, when I was trying to decide what I should experiment with, a recipe for a dipped confection called “hot chocolates” caught my eye. This confection has a cinnamon marshmallow atop a dark chocolate ganache. It required curing overnight so I made it the other day and today I dipped them.
I am still having some difficulty in getting dipped chocolates to look neat and beautiful. However, I tried dipping some round chocolates and some square chocolates. I ran out of tempered semisweet chocolate and when I began to temper some more semisweet, I got thinking that I might prefer these dipped in milk chocolate instead. In the end, I think the milk chocolate ones taste the best. The milk chocolate also seemed to dip better too and I’m not sure if I need to adjust the temperature on my machine or what. I will have to do some more experimenting and reading on that.
Last week I decided to try making a butter ganache filling because they are supposed to last longer than a regular ganache. I looked through my book and decided to try making the lemon butter ganache. The only problem was that one of the ingredients was fondant. I have never made confectioner’s fondant before, in fact I had never even heard of it before. But I really wanted to try this recipe so I figured I would need to figure it all out.
So one day early last week I made the fondant. I was really nervous about it because it required agitating it at the end and I didn’t exactly know what to expect and didn’t know how to know if I was doing it correctly. But I decided I would just jump right in and see what happened. It actually went very smoothly. After I had poured it on the marble slab and agitated it for about 10 minutes, it began to get opaque and very thick. Then all of a sudden, it seemed like it turned into a rock. I was afraid I had ruined it. I knew it had to cure overnight so I was just hoping that it would soften up overnight. I decided it felt lumpy and so I massaged the lumps out of it and it seemed a better texture after that. I put it into a container and left it overnight. The next day Marshall sampled it and it was very smooth. So I was hopeful that it turned out the way it was supposed to.
I have had my eye on a recipe in Martha Stewart’s Living magazine called Chocolate Dipped Caramallows. Marshall saw the recipe and it reminded him of his favorite See’s chocolate which has caramel on the bottom with marshmallow on the top, then dipped in chocolate.
Today Marshall decided to try making sugared orange peel. Here is what he did:
Cut the orange peel into strips and remove the excess pith. Put it in a pan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and then drain it. Do this two more times. In another pan, make a simple syrup using equal parts of water and sugar and bring to a boil. (Marshall used 3 cups each of water and sugar.) Add the orange peel and then simmer for about an hour, when the orange peel starts to get transluscent. Cool the orange peel in the syrup and then drain on a rack until tacky and mostly dry. At this point you can roll it in sugar.