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02 December 2010 @ 05:37 pm
More Holiday Planning...  
I have a question for those of you in the know (Hi, laser_radiation!):

If you were going to make something like peppermint bark (crushed candy canes, chocolate base, white chocolate top), what would you use FOR the chocolate portions? Would you melt down chocolate chips? Create something from a recipe? What?

I've been buying peppermint bark for family gifts in recent years, but looking at the retail prices for it, I'm seriously thinking about making my own. Also possibly doing some dipped pretzel rods, so the chocolate question applies there too.

~*~

In other news, I finished two stories for Last Author Standing (I took a skip for nbc_las this round). Voting is open at usanetwork_las and fox_las through mid-Sunday.

It's Time To Vote!


There is a new challenge up at fox_las for voting! Fanfics between 100 and 1000 words based on a specific prompt. Come, read, and vote for the best/least well written.

... who will come out on top?


I've really enjoyed the challenge of writing for all three of these comms, so special note: signups for the next round of nbc_las are open now, and they'll be starting up soon for fox_las and usanetwork_las too. There's also spn_las (open now, and I know many of you might be interested in that one). Check them out!

Since there's a writing hiatus for the comms for the next couple of weeks, I'll be examining the flyby Pinch Hitting emails for yuletide. Usually I'm not fast enough, and even when I like the request I often think "Still, it's 1000 words minimum! If I was sure I could commit to that, I'd have signed up for real!" But never say never...

Which brings me to the other important thing of note: I have an invite left for Archive Of Our Own. Comment if you're interested!

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janissa11: thinkingjanissa11 on December 3rd, 2010 02:14 am (UTC)
I think there are chocolate buttons that can be used to melt down and - that kind of thing. They'll keep their shape better -- I'm no expert (clearly!), but it seems as if I've used them in the past. (Erm. LONG past. Sorry.) There are white chocolate buttons, too.

You know what else is delish? Chocolate-dipped potato chips. Srsly.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Xmas Penguinhalfshellvenus on December 3rd, 2010 04:32 am (UTC)
I've seen something like those at Michael's and other crafts stores. Probably more expensive than on-sale bags of chocolate chips, but sometimes you have to buy the right ingredients even when they're costly.

Chocolate-dipped potato chips. Srsly.
Hahaha! This reminds me of the first time I had white-chocolate covered mini-pretzels as a kid: "Who MAKES something like this? Salty sweets? *bites* Oh... *Om-nom-nom-nom-nom!*"
the key of the day and the lock of the night: DragonflyBluelocknkey on December 3rd, 2010 02:18 am (UTC)
Anytime I've done melted chocolate dipped treats I get Ghiradelli in bulk and melt in a double boiler - not really a cost savings. :)

here's a good recipe for peppermint bark http://candy.about.com/od/specialoccasions/r/pepbark.htm and tempering chocolate makes a huge difference unless you get chocolate bark, which can just be melted, but the real thing tastes better. I did marshmallows, dipped in white chocolate and rolled in toffee bits one year - yummmmm!!!!

Candy making chocolate is also good (and melt ready) if you can find a good brand - Wilton's is not good. :( The Merckens brand was tasty last time I used it but it would probably have to be ordered.

Ghiradelli apparently makles a dipping /candy chocolate now.

http://www.amazon.com/Ghirardelli-Chocolate-Double-Flavored-Dipping/dp/B001M2BLVM

Edited at 2010-12-03 02:19 am (UTC)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on December 3rd, 2010 08:17 pm (UTC)
You're all giving me such great info!

It's interesting (probably a generational thing) that like you, when I hear "Melt chocolate" I immediately think "double-boiler." But when I poke around online and look at recipes, most of them say "Melt chocolate in microwave in 30-second stages, stirring in between."

And hey, I'm a microwave child! We got one when I was 11-12. But I still think of it mostly as a "reheating" device and not something you'd use for, you know... actual cooking of any kind. :0

I'm especially glad that both you and Jules below mentioned hating the Wilton's brand, because when Em mentioned meltable buttons that was the first thing that came to mind. It's what's readily available. Though apparently, not good. ;)
the key of the day and the lock of the night: ButterflyPurplelocknkey on December 3rd, 2010 09:52 pm (UTC)
The microwave will work. I've done it that way too. :) Just remember to work fast, because it also cools quickly. :) And, it get chunky and dry if you have to reheat. :( I actually have a melting pot that keeps the chocolate at a consistent temp for dipping, but it only does a small amount at a time.

Nope the Wilton's doesn't have very good flavor. The other brands are available on Amazon, which is usually pretty quick. :)

I'm glad you posted this I think I might do dipped treats for kiddos b-day party.

In searching for myself, I found this:

http://www.chocolatefountains.com/fondue-pots/electric-fondue-pots/chocolatiereelectricchocolatemeltingpot.cfm?alt=results

Edited at 2010-12-03 10:14 pm (UTC)
she said mysteriously: SH just tea for me thanksresounding_echo on December 3rd, 2010 02:24 am (UTC)
I know melting chocolate is really popular and works well consistency-wise, but I think it tastes less like chocolate and more like chalky sugar (particularly the Wilton brand).

If you've the time and resources, I'd experiment with melting chocolate chips. Perhaps a higher quality brand? Though I bet Nestle would rock it.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Xmas Penguinhalfshellvenus on December 3rd, 2010 08:19 pm (UTC)
I know melting chocolate is really popular and works well consistency-wise, but I think it tastes less like chocolate and more like chalky sugar (particularly the Wilton brand).

I'm so glad both you and locknkey said this, because otherwise I'd be off to the craft store to buy it. There is nothing worse than icky chocolate-- it doesn't matter how good it looks.

Several online recipes mentioned simply melting chocolate chips. I'm going to try for some milk chocolate (maybe also bittersweet), so I'll use the Guittard chips that Bel Air sells. They are SO good that I had to swear off buying them, or I'd just inhale the whole bag. :0
The Grammarian about whom your mother warned you.acostilow on December 3rd, 2010 03:49 am (UTC)
I would use chocolate chips or chocolate bars, the darker the better. You may possibly need to add a touch of cream just to make sure it smooths out, but it shouldn't effect the hardening process. If I remember correctly. :-D
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Xmas Penguinhalfshellvenus on December 3rd, 2010 08:21 pm (UTC)
Hmmm, the cream is a good hint!

I'm a milk-chocolate person (hate dark chocolate), so the farthest I'd go is bittersweet. And given the online info I found, it looks like basic Nestle's is a good place to start.

Yes! I'll just call it all "experimenting" until I like the results! *gains five pounds just from the thought of it*

:D
alienmom: xmas-gingerbread menalienmom on December 3rd, 2010 04:39 pm (UTC)
i've always used chocolate chips. they taste great and firm up nicely after melting & dipping. don't even need a name brand as long as the store brand is 'real chocolate'. you get the extra bonus of the bags being on sale this time of year.

costco has a 4 1/2 lb. bag of nestle chocolate chips for $9, which is 6-12oz. bags at 1.50 each (a good price for nestles).

all these goodies sounds yummy!! darling daughter got me hooked on white chocolate covered pretzels a couple christmases ago!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Xmas Penguinhalfshellvenus on December 3rd, 2010 08:30 pm (UTC)
Great advice! Thank you!

I'll probably be stuck with Smart & Final (and I think they have the Big Nestle's bag), because my husband is the only one with time to go to Costco, and he is afeared of the place. Too many people, too many choices, and the lines are too long. :0

darling daughter got me hooked on white chocolate covered pretzels a couple christmases ago!
What's funny is that what I like best is the yogurt-covered pretzels in the Bel Air 'Health Food' section. The slight sourness really rocks!

I'm planning (!) to melt Kraft caramels for the first dipped layer of the pretzel rods, and then do the second layer in either milk chocolate or white chocolate. Both sound glorious!

BTW, I wrote you a birthday drabble back in April. Something seasonal. ;) You were kind of absentee back then.

Love your tasty-looking icon. I prefer pfefferneus to gingerbread, but when I see the gingerbread men I immediately want to *bite-bite-bite-bite*. :D