|Title: Making Artisan Chocolates: Flavor-Infused Chocolates, Truffles, and Confections
Author: Andrew Garrison Shotts
Publisher: Quarry Books
Genres:: Aphrodisiacs, How-To Guide, Non-Fiction
Reviewer: SexHerald Staff
Andrew Garrison Shotts
Reviewer: SexHerald Staff
If chocolate is the universal aphrodisiac then artisan chocolates have to be the highbrow version of such indulgence. Andrew Garrison Shotts is a world-renowned chocolatier and has helped to formulate the E. Guittard line of high-end couture chocolates in addition to creating his own line with his wife, Tina. With such a culinary background, it may be a bit trite to say that Shotts knows a bit about how to make chocolate (dark, white, milk) tastier and dares to try various types of spices, fruits and other types of confections to create new flavors for connoisseurs of chocolate.
From humble beginnings to a growing expertise, Shotts reviews the backdoor knowledge of the right percentages of cocoa beans that create dark or light chocolate, how to make unbroken ganache, and reviews current trends in chocolate mixtures. In addition to presenting why certain flavors that may sound odd (lavender, basil, curry) aren’t so mind-boggling when considering one’s palate and how specific spices are available to enhance flavors in desserts, not just meats, veggies and side dishes.
Shotts begins with the basics: covering ingredients as an instructor in culinary school who’s informing his students of the history and importance of the cocoa bean when creating chocolate. He moves on to techniques, such as tempering which stabilizes the fat crystals in the cocoa butter allowing candy bars and chocolate chips to melt in your mouth and goes on to list a variety of flavor infusions from South Asian spices to fruit blends, ending this portion by suggesting some interesting pairings.
Part two gets to the good stuff: almost four dozen recipes for molded chocolates, confections, hand-dipped chocolates, and chewy, gooey truffles. While artisan chocolates have a classy look and design, and are created with tender, loving care the whole process from start to finish can be quite time consuming if you’re including ganache, fillings, or adding some decorative elements by creating patterns with colored cocoa butter on Mylar. Shotts divides recipes in ascending order from easy to medium to difficult per chapter. The easiest ranging from a honey thyme truffle that requires a lot of mixing and not so much concentration outside of setting tempering the ganache at the right temperature. Move forward to the more difficult banana caramel truffle that includes three steps of creating a banana puree, caramel crunch, and a banana caramel ganache to perfectly mix and set up a balance between all the ingredients up to that point.
Initially, Making Artisan Chocolates sounds and looks intimidating. With an array of four color photo spreads that display how the experts final product looks, someone a bit less familiar with the preciseness of this art (yes, cooking/baking is an art) may be a bit daunted if one’s first crack out there doesn’t mirror the books. What person has time to temper chocolates, try out new recipes, measure temperatures and make puree? What is good about Shotts’ take on the everyday person creating a fine desert experience is that it is applicable to many. What seems impossible or just inconvenient can be done with patience, gaining know-how and the willingness to try, try again. Anyone interested in taking the first steps to break away from making chocolate chip cookies to move on to molded hazelnut praline may be in for a big surprise.
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