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Welcome to the Chocolate Gourmand!

What is this site all about?!!
I love making desserts! I want to share my experience and knowledge making candies, cookies, ice cream and other recipes. By providing information on technique, equipment, and ingredients in a simple and illustrated manner, I hope that you will be encouraged to try making desserts. If you already make candies, see how someone else does it and share your thoughts and advice.

Coffee English Toffee
When you first bite into one of these toffees, the coffee flavor comes on fast and strong, but quickly fades and is overtaken by the buttery toffee flavor. I’d personally like the coffee flavor to linger on longer, a sentiment echoed by some tasters, but I’m not sure exactly how to achieve that goal. Perhaps a liqueur or some other coffee flavoring would prolong the flavor—I’m open to ideas! I’m definitely planning on adding these to my holiday candymaking.

English Toffee
This is an all time favorite of my regular candy recipients. This year I discovered that if you melt the butter too quickly and it separates, it won't come back together again. The next three batches I was more careful as I melted the butter and they turned out great. I bought a new clip-on digital thermometer that I set on the pot while I still used my favorite alcohol based thermometer. Beyond 100° C, the digital thermometer accuracy was horrible, off by as much as 10° C. This is totally unacceptable. The probe was positioned about 1/4 inch above the bottom of the pan. Perhaps it needs to be immersed more than an inch?

Gianduja Truffles
I've been making these for several years now. This year I opted to try the melon ball technique for getting the centers going. They still required a chill and subsequent hand rolling to get nice and round, but much easier than the pastry piping bag and you don't have to monitor the viscosity as the ganache cools. I made the truffles extra big this year. A bigger mouthful and fewer truffles to dip—who could argue with this logic?.

Mocha Truffles
Like the gianduja truffles, I also opted to skip piping centers with a pastry bag this year. In fact, it was so late when I finished rolling the gianduja centers in cocoa powder that I just left the mocha ganache in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, it was too firm to smoothly scoop out, so I left it under the halogen lamps of our stove hood until it warmed up to mid 60s.

Pecan Caramels
This was a new addition to the assortment of candies this year. This first batch came out a little more firm than I wanted for dipping—but perfect for wrapping—so I made it again and added some maple syrup.

Pecan Maple Caramel
This was my second batch of these caramels. Before it was done cooking I decided to add 1/4 cup of maple syrup. For the last 2 years I have tried to make maple pecan caramels with no luck. It would always crystallize by the following day. This recipe uses some corn syrup instead of just relying on brown sugar and maple syrup for the sugar source. The touch of maple syrup makes these caramels simply delicious.

Espresso Caramels
I first made these last year. A variation of the classic cream caramel recipe, I increased the coffee flavoring this year, which was too subtle last year. The coffee flavor politely introduces itself before intensifying and fading to reveal the classic cream caramel flavor.

Classic Cream Caramels
I usually make another batch for dipping, but just went for wrapping this year since I made the extra batch of pecan caramels.

About Brian
Yep, that's meA resident of the SF Bay Area, USA, Brian enjoys making candies, cookies, ice creams and other desserts. Read more
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