If you know someone going back to school, you might want to give them a bar of dark chocolate. The Best Colleges.org web site has posted a list of The Best Foods for Students. The lists covers the best foods for studying, for a good night’s sleep, and for reducing stress. The top of the list for stress release is dark chocolate. Next time you hear of someone stressing out over a paper, an assignment, or an exam tell them to eat some dark chocolate. Oh yes….and send them the full list below, they might need some help sleeping and studying too.
Chocolate is the perfect wedding gift.
This month I’m making chocolates for two family weddings by supplying 2-piece chocolate gift boxes filled with dark-chocolate salted caramels (half plain and half with peanuts) for guests.
For the molds, I used Callebaute’s 811 Dark Chocolate for the molds. The 811 has a rich and smooth flavor that works well with filled chocolates.
To make the caramel, I used my favorite salted caramel recipe from “The Art of the Chocolatier” by Ewald Notter. This recipe produces a full-flavored salted caramel with strong notes of vanilla. The recipe calls for a whole vanilla bean. I make sure I use high quality Madagascar Beans that are soft and full. I also believe that the quality of salt one uses makes a big difference. As these were extra special chocolates, I made sure I used my favorite Le Saunier de Camargue Fleur de Sel. I’m able to purchase it at Mom’s Organic Market in Alexandria, VA. I just tasted the chocolates and these might just be the best salted caramels I’ve ever made. Delicious.
Since the weddings are just a week apart, I was able to make and pack all the chocolates at once. Making the chocolate was a 3-day process. The first day I made the molds. The second day I filled the molds (it took four batches of salted caramel). The third day I closed the molds, took the chocolate out of the molds, and placed the chocolates in candy cups. I finished day 3 by putting the chocolates in the 2-piece boxes. I purchased the 2-piece gold ballotin boxes I’m using at Belgian Sweet Design in Belgium, but you can purchase 2-piece ballotin boxes online at Bags & Bows and USbox.com.
The last step is to put the ribbon ornamentation on the boxes. I think I’ll do that tomorrow.
Packing the Wedding Chocolates
First step to packing the boxes was taking the finished chocolates out of the molds.
The next step was placing all the chocolates in chocolate cups. I love the look of chocolates all lined up and ready to be used.
Once the chocolates are ready it’s time to place them in the 2-piece boxes. Here are the empty 2-piece boxes assembled and ready for use.
Each box gets two pieces: one plain salted caramel and one with nuts.
The boxes are now filled and closed. The final step is the ribbon ornamentation.