Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Don't forget to vote today! I know it's midterm elections and not the presidental elections- but really- go vote. Do your homework if you haven't already and go vote.

If you live in Las Vegas don't vote for Kenneth Wegner. More on that later. But he's a jerk. So vote for Shelly Berkley.

Super Saturday

It's over. It was fabulous (if I do say so myself). Everyone seemed to have a great time. Lunch was fun and light (which is what I was going for). My chocolate class went well, but really how can you mess up chocolate? I came home with a bunch of projects to work on- but most people finished their stuff there. I was just so busy making sure things were running smoothly that I didn't have much time to do crafts, which is okay.

All you need to know about CHOCOLATE

These are the handouts from my chocolate class:

All you need to know about chocolate….

  • Consumers spend more than $7 billion a year on chocolate.
  • U.S. consumers eat about 2.8 billion pounds of chocolate annually, making per capita consumption about 12 pounds per person a year.
  • American chocolate producers use about 1.5 million pounds of milk.
  • Chocolate has over 500 flavors components, more that twice the amount found in strawberry and vanilla.

Tempering: ‘Real’ Chocolate needs to be tempered in order to not form white crystals when drying. There are several methods of doing this, a common one using a double boiler- but an easier way is using the microwave.

No more than a pound at a time should ever be tempered, and tempering shouldn't be attempted when the air temperature is over 75 degrees Fahrenheit. A pound of coarsely chopped chocolate should be placed in an open, microwave-safe glass or ceramic container. The chocolate should be microwaved at full power for one minute and then stirred briefly. Continue to microwave at full power in ten-second increments until the chocolate is about melted and solid or lumpy. Then stir briskly until all the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.

Using a candy thermometer, the temperature must be tested as follows for the different types of chocolate:

  • (88 to 91 degrees Fahrenheit for dark chocolate, the generic term for semisweet chocolate or bittersweet chocolate.
  • 84 to 87 degrees Fahrenheit for milk chocolate or white chocolate.

For easier heating and reheating you can use chocolate wafers (commonly sold by Wilton in an array of colors) or Almond Bark. Both have the flavor of chocolate, but aren’t really ‘chocolate’ since the coco butter has been removed and replaced with palm oil. This eliminates the need for tempering.

-For dipping fruit (of any kind) it must be completely dry or the chocolate won’t stick.

-To flavor you can buy candy flavoring which is much more intense and doesn’t need as much to flavor so that it doesn’t add too much liquid to your chocolate.

-Always dry chocolate on waxed paper or parchment paper.

Soft Carmel for pretzel sticks


  • 2 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 (5 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk


  1. Place the popcorn in a large bowl. Shake and toss the bowl to make the unpopped kernels go to the bottom; discard.
  2. In a sauce pan over medium-high heat, cook the brown sugar, corn syrup, and butter, stirring constantly. Heat to 270 to 290 degrees F (132 to 143 degrees C), or until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms hard but pliable threads. Remove from the heat, and carefully pour in the can of condensed milk; stir until smooth.
  3. Dip pretzels into caramel- let .dry on waxed paper When they’re semi solid (they’ll never fully harden) then dip into chocolate. Drizzle with contrasting chocolate or sprinkle with chopped nuts, coconut, or candy sprinkles.

Chocolate Popcorn


White chocolate or White Almond Bark


1. Pop Popcorn

2. Melt chocolate and toss with popcorn until fully coated.

3. Lay out on waxed paper to dry. Drizzle with contrasting chocolate, sprinkle with toffee bits or candy cane if desired.

Chocolate Truffle Filling


11 ½ ounces milk or dark chocolate

1/3 cup whipping cream

Candy flavoring if desired

1. In a heavy saucepan combine chocolate pieces and whipping cream. Cook over low heat for 4-5 minutes or until chocolate melts, stirring frequently. Remove saucepan from heat and cool slightly. Whip with wisk until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until firm.

2. Roll into balls and then roll in powdered sugar or ground toasted nuts. Place on baking sheet lined with waxed paper and freeze for 30 minutes.

3. Dip into chocolate and allow to dry again.

Candy Clusters

1. mix your favorite cluster ingredients into melted candy (equal parts chocolate and either nuts, raisins, coconut, mini marshmallows, rice crisipies or other items)

2. mix thoroughly so that all ingredients are coated with chocolate.

3. Drop mixture onto cookie sheet covered with waxed or parchment paper. Refrigerate until firm.