How Are You Making These Holidays Special with Chocolate?

Clay Gordon
@clay
12/11/09 10:09:11AM
1,680 posts
It was a frigid 19 degrees F when I woke up this morning, with wind chill down to 5 degrees. Winter is here (though officially still 10 days away), which means we're smack dab in the middle of the ChrismaChanuKwanzakah holiday rush. All of us are busy, I know, so asking you to take a few minutes out to share what you're doing with everyone may sound like a huge imposition.But giving and sharing are just a part of what the holidays are about and this is one way we can share with hundreds of people all around the world - a holiday shout out in words (and pictures if you have them).Now, because I started this discussion it's up to me to get it going.Several years ago I purchased a small wet mill to make chocolate with. I've made many batches but I am always looking for new ways to use the mill because these days I pretty much only use it when I give chocolate-making classes, which is not often enough.So I've been experimenting with using it to make nut butters and pralines and it was just a small step from there to adding cocoa powder to the nut pastes and start making something that Nutella would dream it might be - if Nutella could dream.I found a good source for small (4 oz) glass jars in small-ish quantities, so I am bottling my own chocolate/nut butter spread. Without going into exactly how I'm using the four ingredients I am using (a guy has to have some secrets) the ingredients are:roasted nuts (hazelnuts, almonds, or a mix)cocoa powdersugar (I experiment with different kinds)salt (I experiment with different kinds; kosher is the stand-by)So - how are YOU sharing chocolate for the holidays this year?:: Clay


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clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/

updated by @clay: 04/09/15 10:57:18PM
Andy Ciordia
@andy-ciordia
12/11/09 10:34:14AM
157 posts
This is our first year for gift boxes and those are doing well. We also came out with a chocolate fudge and caramel sauce which we introduced with a moist chocolate bundt cake. Devilish. During our testing I gained 10# which I'm now working out extra hard to peel back off haha!We also brought out a few new infusions for our truffles: peppermint, winter spice, ginger, mexican cinnamon, and rosemary.All in all it's turning out to be a great season and we're having a lot of fun with it. Already writing down lessons from this year to be applied to next. Now I need to remember to put into the work orders my own gifts for friends and family before I forget!
Kelly Peterson
@kelly-peterson
12/12/09 06:43:33PM
1 posts
My attempt at mocha mousse parfait with Kahlua cream was a huge success last holiday season. Now, of course the challenge is to out-do myself, which shouldnt be difficult with this recipe I found at Godiva: chocolate gingerbread souffls with cranberry sabayon. I was actually browsing the website since Im currently aiding the Godiva holiday promotionthere are so many things you can do with Godiva chocolate. Some of my guests are counting on my pumpkin brule, but I am sure I will not disappoint with chocolate.
Ilana
@ilana
12/13/09 01:34:17AM
97 posts
my guests and friends got these-nothing super special but okay.
Ilana
@ilana
12/13/09 01:42:42AM
97 posts
for xmas celebrating friends:
Melanie Boudar
@melanie-boudar
12/13/09 04:31:59AM
104 posts
A few new flavors..fig, walnut and port wine, cranberry,walnut and orange, caramel stuffed and dark chocolate dipped turkish figs, lime in the coconut- a mounds type coconut layer except with organic unsweetened coconut and agave syrup so its not so sickening sweet with a lime infused ganache layer, and tropical fruits we dehydrate ourselves-no preservatives-pineapple, papaya, apple bananas, mango and starfruit, dipped in dark chocolate.
Corinne C. DeBra
@corinne-c-debra
03/16/10 02:35:16PM
4 posts
For those on the (U.S.) East Coast, I'm sure Spring (this Saturday, March 20) can't come soon enough this year. I've been spending the last week of Winter (out here in California, where it's been merely wet, and not so cold) celebrating St. Patrick's Day/Green Week on my chocolate blog. There are so many ways to celebrate when it comes to chocolate.http://chocolatebanquet.blogspot.comPlease do send ideas for theme weeks; I will try to cover if I haven't already.Regards, Corinne D.
Ruth Atkinson Kendrick
@ruth-atkinson-kendrick
03/18/10 02:34:36PM
194 posts
Here are my Easter bunnies.

Carol
@carol
03/18/10 05:29:43PM
24 posts
The bunnies are adorable, Ruth.Are they solid or filled?I use that same mold and fill it with a chocolate ganache.
Ruth Atkinson Kendrick
@ruth-atkinson-kendrick
03/19/10 10:16:46AM
194 posts
White is filled with passionfruit marshmallow. Milk is filled with gianduja. Dark is Manjari/Madagascar.
Nick Frappier
@nick-frappier
03/20/10 11:35:34PM
3 posts
Ruth,The bunnies look excellent, is that the same Manjari ganache that I have tried?Also have you had the chance to play with that Toscano Black yet?-Nick
Ruth Atkinson Kendrick
@ruth-atkinson-kendrick
03/21/10 12:02:36AM
194 posts
Yes on the Manjari, no on the Toscano:-)
Jeff
@jeff
05/02/10 11:26:32AM
94 posts
we are making our now infamous "Mommy Dearest Caramels"....they are made into the shape of wire coat hangers
TammyJo Eckhart, PhD
@tammyjo-eckhart-phd
09/16/10 08:14:02AM
4 posts
While I'll make some chocolate treats during the year especially for our annual Christmas party, The Chocolate Cult's biggest holiday event has to be our Annual Halloween Treat Challenge which I hope every chocolatier considers joining. However we are limited in terms of how many chocolatiers we can highlight so I hope people contact us soon.
Jcandy
@jcandy
11/29/10 12:56:17AM
12 posts
I love chocolate all year round, but there is just something extra special about chocolate over the holidays. I grew up enjoying a white Christmas with gently falling snow (or a blizzard) and a warm fire in the fireplace. I loved it. There is something about a white Christmas that adds to the spirit of the season for me. One of the things that has really helped me has been to whip up batches of Christmas cookies and Chocolate Christmas Candy. Living so far from my family, I still like to treat them to some chocolate Christmas candy. Unfortunately, my creative efforts would never survive the journey home. Instead, I have found some wonderful online resources that have helped me provide that special homemade candy gift by proxy.
Hanna Frederick
@hanna-frederick
11/29/10 03:51:49AM
4 posts
Hi Clay. Christmas Down Under is just an opposite of your climate. As a Hungarian -born, who lived even in Cleveland, OH (!) I have a hard time to fight against heat. So I am making "mini-magnum" type little truffles, coming from the freezer into insulated carry bags. Just experimenting of the "ganaches" - not short of ideas, short of time. From my last year NZ Christmas my printer and I designed a little paper Christmas tree box, holding 2 chocolates - see photo. Also a 3pc clear view box with red stooped strawberry and black pepper truffle, mint and nuts chocolates. Nice with red ribbon.
Java Cocoa
@java-cocoa
12/13/10 09:13:33PM
4 posts

I found a great chocolatier out of Illinois of all places to feature on my site. They make the best baby shoes and chocolate pizzas. I intend to send a box of their chocolates to all my friends and family. I love sharing handmade goodness during the holidays - it warms my heart.

TammyJo Eckhart, PhD
@tammyjo-eckhart-phd
11/14/11 07:38:50AM
4 posts

Our featured reviews for Christmas this year are insane. I put out our review calendar on November 1st on a few places and contacted a few people who had asked me about winter holidays months back, and in four days 9 of 16 dates were claimed. Now we are down to 3 dates right before Christmas and 2 before New Years.

We're tackling a wider range of products this year from drinks and food to soap and calendars all using or focused on chocolate.

dsfg
@lane-wigley
11/21/12 05:00:29PM
31 posts

When I got my chocolate gear 3 months ago, I thought it would be a mostly solitary endeavor with the exception of all the happy recipients of free chocolate. But, several of my friends showed quite a bit of enthusiasm in having a chocolate making party and it was awesome.

My next project is going to be the gianduja I was asking for advice on a few months back.

- Lane

Tao Watts
@tao-watts
11/13/13 07:55:46PM
10 posts

We have lots of "ferias" this time of year. I'm making cake pops in the shape of gingerbread men, and enrobing them in my 75% dark organic chocolate. Kids and adults alike love these! Also making ginger spice truffle again, as well as the favorite "holiday special" , a bark with cranberries, pecans, and coconut. Still early, but starting to get in the spirit!

Chocotoymaker
@chocotoymaker
12/05/13 11:48:08PM
55 posts

This holiday season season will be our third. While there is still much to be desired in terms of positive cash flow, production space and equipment, it has been one hell of a multitasking, 16 hour days with no days off for months at a time ride. We have given dozens of free make your own Turkey/Santa/Bunny classes to over a hundred kids. Here is a short "How to make a giant chocolate Santa" video that we have put together while having some fun and also hoping to promote our website.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WSh7e2SAa4


updated by @chocotoymaker: 09/08/15 09:07:11PM
Brad Churchill
@brad-churchill
12/14/13 08:10:45PM
527 posts

Well done video. Your Santas look great.

I also saw some clips of snowmen, and was wondering if you ever did them in white chocolate, and then used colored white chocolate for the hats and so forth? That would look pretty cool too.

I have a couple of questions:

1. how do you know when you have enough chocolate in the mold, and how do you control the amount of chocolate you put in each mold.

2. How many times do you fill the molds with chocolate to ensure the shell is thick enough?

Thanks in advance for your reply.

Brad.

Chocotoymaker
@chocotoymaker
12/14/13 10:43:32PM
55 posts

I make snowmen in a bunch of different variations, some of which can be seen at the website.

1. Most molds that we use, are spinning molds and we go with a set amount of chocolate that we have determined works for us ( as far as breakage and release times are concerned.) Our tempering machine has a dosing feature that allows us to choose the amount of chocolate that we would like to have deposited.

2. When using non-spinning molds , we typically fill the molds 2 times. Twice has been sufficient in most cases even when it comes to xtra-large molds such as the one in the video. Ultimately it depends on one's individual packaging considerations and weight requirements. I doubt you would ever need to fill anything more than twice, regardless of viscosity.

Chocotoymaker
@chocotoymaker
03/05/14 06:01:44PM
55 posts

Well even though the "How to Make a Giant Santa" was well received, it did little in terms of boosting the online portion of our business. So without having much hope for boosting the internet, but still in the holiday spirit, here is " How to Make an Easter Bunny and an Easter Surprise Egg" video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5dpvTj8qvE

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