The Bread Doctor

artisan bakery in Torrington, Wyoming
September 2, 2014

Caramel Nirvana

I got up this morning and went for a walk along the Deschutes River here in Bend, and the view was amazing.  It was cool and crisp and the weather felt positively like fall.  I then went home, and got ready and fixed a little breakfast in my little chalet.  I then hopped in the truck and loaded all my trappings up to the International School of Baking.  It has only been one year since I have been here, but so much has happened with the progress of the bakery at home, and the decision to open a store downtown in Torrington.  It has been a wild train ride, and today was no different.  I have literally stepped off the train into Chocolate Wonderland.  While the rest of the world was celebrating Labor Day, I was working diligently with my teacher and her assistant to create caramel fillings that would be worthy of attention.

The whole day was spent on these fillings and learning to properly fill molds with chocolate and then filling and sealing them.  Marda’s first instruction to me was that I was responsible for the choice of the mold for the chocolates and how we decorated them.  We also made a caramel base which we then divided into portions and each portions was flavored and made into a filling for a molded chocolate.  It was a great education.  We had tried working with molds at home before, but did not have the right tempering equipment.  There was also some technique differences that made these chocolates turn out amazingly well.  I still have much to learn as the photos will reveal.  Chocolate is unforgiving and must be handled correctly.  My molding technique will get better, and my design work is just beginning.  But the fillings, and the tempering of the chocolate were sublime.  The chocolates all had a perfect snap when you bit into them and I have never tasted such intensely flavored caramels before.

These  chocolates are filled with hazelnut caramel which was a mixture of finely ground hazelnut butter with the caramel we made in the beginning.  The chocolate mold was dusted with gold powder before filling and has tiny ridges along the mold…it is a very art deco-looking chocolate, though the photo does not do it justice.  They are absolutely delicious and a definite addition to my menu.

These little beauties are filled with chocolate caramel.  This was made by melting chocolate and stirring it into the caramel.  The mold was decorated with a transfer sheet that is put into the mold ahead of time with a removable back piece.  The transfer decorations are cocoa butter and transfer right onto the melted chocolate.  Very cool and beautiful.  It looks like the chocolate has velvet wallpaper on it.

These are blood orange caramels which I painted with tinted cocoa butter.  I liked the array of colors, but my painting techinique needs some work.  The caramel was made by again mixing the base caramel with blood orange paste.  These are excellent and I was so excited to make them. 
I felt like I had reached a new level of understanding and appreciation about chocolates and caramel and the flavors were Nirvana!