Pastry School Recap | Units 9/12 – Chocolate

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As my classmates know, I have a love-hate relationship with chocolate. I think it’s an admirable art form, and when tempered properly (i.e. heated and cooled in a precise way so as to cause the melted chocolate to recrystallize in a particular state that has shine, snap, smoothness and strength . . . don’t even get me started on my fascination with the physical chemistry of it all), chocolate is amazingly versatile. It’s great as a standalone confection, as a flavoring for other desserts, and as an architectural building block and design element.

But man, chocolate can be finicky when the kitchen is warm or humid, and messy without commercial kitchen equipment (my biggest complaint really). Writing this post reminds me of some frustrating chocolate structure-making, so let’s just get on with the photo recap without further ado:

A few highlights from Units 9 & 12 of pastry school:

Chocolate Candy Stand: The class theme was comics and cartoons. I picked Garfield, a childhood favorite of mine 🙂 
 Chocolate Boxes & Bows: Learning to build with chocolate!
 Queen of Sheba Cake:
Caramels and Toffee: Did not enjoy the process of covering these in chocolate, but sure loved eating them.
 Assorted Bonbons:
 Two-Tiered Chocolate Cake: Hand-painted these chocolate cylinder wraps with colored cocoa butter
 Chocolate Project: With a limited amount of chocolate, we had to create a structure. Our theme was SF, and I picked the Palace of Fine Arts. I wasn’t quite able to execute to 100% of my original design but was excited about what I was able to pull off!
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Office Bytes | A Box of Chocolates

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Life (work?) is like a box of chocolates!

In preparation for my recap of our chocolate units in pastry school, I dusted off my chocolate tempering skills and decided to try my hand at making chocolate bonbons and a chocolate box at home.

For this project, I made a round box with a keyhole cutout on top out of dark chocolate with some milk chocolate accents. For the company logo, I painted orange cocoa butter on a sheet of acetate before pouring on tempered chocolate and cutting the logo shape.

There are two flavors of bonbons inside: (1) salted basil ganache, and (2) pecan bourbon ganache. I only had maybe three dozen bonbons total, so I offered up the box for eating too. And wow, people were not shy.