Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Updated Link for News Segment

In case you missed it, I made it into the Kansas City news.  It is now up on youtube and I have an active link here now, so you can just click.  


Or search kansas city pride elbow chocolates.  For details about the video, check out the post I'm Famous!

First experiments

A few days ago I made my first ganache at home from a recipe I had used in the past, with left over Ghiradelli chocolate. My goal was the ultimate in emulsions and practice with a 7th grade math problem (For 14 oz of 71% chocolate, how much 60% and 100% do you use?)  I was so tickled with my new ganache technique and superior emulsion that Danielle took a picture.   The ganache had a nice feel to it once it set.  I'd like it to be a bit softer, but it definitely had the creamy smoothness of a well done emulsion (I just like typing and saying emulsion).  My second one is setting up as we speak.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Working at the shop (photos!)


 I can prove I was actually at Christopher Elbow Chocolates, working with the chocolate.  Nikki took these pictures on my last morning.  I am cutting ganache with the guitar (it really is called a chocolate guitar). 

In this picture I am actually cutting the ganache.
This is a good picture since you can see other parts of the shop.  I am simply working on lining up the ganache so when I cut it we get as many pieces as possible.  In the lower left corner you can see pieces I've already placed (these are prominent in the first picture too).  In the background, however, you see the hood where all the painting happens.  Behind that is the tempering machines where molding, capping, and enrobing takes place. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Participating in every step of the process

By the time I left, I helped, at least a little, with every step of the process for both the ganache pieces and the molded chocolates/caramels.  I’ve written about most of the steps (cutting ganache, painting, molding, filling, capping), but finally made the frames and enrobed and used the transfer sheet (these are the first two things you see in the video).  I was pretty terrible at putting the thin layer of tempered chocolate on the pate de fruit, but everyone was amazed at my first attempt to make the thin layer and frame build for the pure chocolate ganache (the first real thing you see in the video).  Now I just have to decide how I want to do frames and cutting at home.  My smaller process needs more affordable ways of doing all this.   Regardless, I'm really glad I got to work at every stage and not just so I would know how to do them but because it is in doing every step that you appreciate what can go wrong and what the needs are of the next step. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I'm Famous!

KMBC, a local Kansas City news station filmed while I was at Elbow Chocolates and I found the video today.  Go to http://www.kmbc.com/ and scroll down until you see, on the left hand side, Kansas City Pride: Christopher Elbow Chocolates.  I am working on getting more permanent/stable link to it. 

Around 1:32 you see a hand with a mold putting chocolate on it and scraping --- that is me.  Then about 1:44 you see me prepping the caramels to be capped.  I am making sure there is no caramel stuck to the sides or sticking up in the middle (happens often when you are filling and then the capper has to scrape it off and/or tap it down as appropriate). 

Some more helpful info.  The first thing you see (around 0:40) is Timmy making a frame --- he is forming the thin layer of tempered chocolate that forms the bottom of the ganache.  I had planned to post about this tomorrow, and still will.  Then Timmy and Ethan are enrobing the ganache and putting the transfer sheet on (the markings on the tops so you know which ones are which and it is part of the art).  After the scenes with me, you see Betsy and Dana cutting ganache (pictures of me doing this are forthcoming ---  I have to keep you coming back somehow.)

Any questions?  Let me know.

I get to keep my hat!

Since early in my stay, I’ve been hoping they would let me keep the hat they gave me to keep my hair out of the food.  O.k. a crude way of noting health department standards.  They have a great way of dealing with this, everyone wears matching, reasonable ball caps.  I get to keep mine.  Yeah!  Everyone at the shop is fantastic and as my questions have grown over the few weeks I’ve been here, they have been more than willing to answer! More photos on their way.  Keep an eye out!

Transport and Housing (Pictures Finally!)

The sweet blue Schwinn Racer.  My trusty steed. 
Over the next few days I'm going to get photos posted from my time in Kansas City.  Then as I start making chocolates at home, I'll post about that experience.  My thermometer and scale and first chocolate order are on their way!

I have to admit I miss my blue Schwinn.  It was way too heavy to justify shipping and I live way to far up a hill, in CS, for this bike, but I can still dream about having such a bike in my life regularly again one day. 
Basil and amazing yellow cherry tomatoes from the house garden.

The humble abode.
It looks rather unassuming from the front, but there is a nice backyard and the interior was recently updated making it a great place to stay.  Added bonus:  It was close to Westport where there was good food, a reasonable grocery store, (close enough to) Elbow Chocolates, and Oklahoma Joes, the best barbeque in Kansas City (I only tried them, but it was the best pulled pork I have ever had and everyone says it is best).