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I have a caramel center that is very soft. It is very tasty so I would love to keep it as it is, but it is impossible to dip. I do not have the means to use truffle shells at the moment.

I was wondering if it will be possible to dip them by hand when they are very cold and hard. I know the shell will probably crack, but I was wondering if I do that and it turns out more manageable for a second dip if I will not be able to keep it as is.Will the fact that the first dip screws up the temper of the chocolate result in problems with the second dip?

If it is not possible I will have to change the recipe.

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There is another option to consider, which is pre-made truffle shells. Pipe your caramel into those then cover the hole with chocolate. Let the plug harden, then dip.

There was a very long discussion on this recently, the consensus being that it's a pretty common thing to do and it makes sense to use the technique where it makes sense. There are some very big names that got their start using pre-made shells and filling them. Vosges is one. They may still be doing it, though my guess is that by now they are using a one-shot machine due to the volume they produce.

Thanks for the reply Clay. I think I did not make myself clear. I know about the pre-made truffle shells, but the problem is that in South Africa, unless I want to use very inferior quality and not the Valrhona I am using, I have to import them. There are only one importer, that I know of, in South Africa at the moment that imports Valrhona and I cannot afford importing the shells at this stage. I am not allowed to use anything but Valrhona. This is why I am trying to get another solution. I have no problem with using pre-made truffle shells if only they where not so expensive in South Africa.

You are only "allowed" to use Valrhona?

You can certainly experiment with chilling the caramel but I think you will find it very hard to work with. Looking to make the caramel firmer, while the same flavor, is probably your best bet.

Using molds is not an option? Have you tried making snobinettes? People make those with wine corks covered in plastic wrap. Dip that in tempered chocolate, let harden, then remove the cork and plastic (carefully). You now have a "cup" that you can fill with liquid caramel ... and cap if you want or not. Great thing about this approach is that the "molds" are really cheap.

Hi Clay, yes the only "allowed" was just a joke on myself as my partner hates Callebaut that I have been using and now I am only "allowed" to use Valrhona. I love the idea of the wine corks and I will start collecting them from family and friends (it may even give me an excuse to drink a little more wine!)

Super easy solution.  We make 100's of them every week.

 

Purchase the Pavoni silicon spherical molds, and pour the warm liquid caramel into them.  Put them into the fridge to harden, and then pop them out of the molds while still cold and firm and dip them.  The caramel inside will soften at room temperature, but be held in shape by the chocolate shell you've just created.

 

Some will crack for sure, but just dip them again, and all is good.

 

Cheers

Brad

Thanks Brad, I think between Clay and yourself you have given me some food for thought. I am going to try the silicon molds and the cork "molds" and find out what works for me. I think the silicon molds sounds like the easiest way to do it.

Would you consider making your own cups or spheres with your permitted chocolate?  Molds are certainly available to make them.

Trouble with dipping cold centers - they expand as they warm, the chocolate contracts as it cools, and you'll get more pieces with 'caramel worms' than pieces without.

I've used Clay's snobinettes technique for years, but wrap the plastic around soft foam rubber fingers, I cut them to size and shape.  They collapse easily making it easy to remove.  Also, if you want high gloss on the surface, dip the plastic wrapped cork or foam as described, then loosely wrap again with more plastic. 

Yup - I like the foam best with deli wrap around them to make the snobinettes.

 

 

Ok, thanks everyone. So I have two things to think about this week.I will get hold of some soft foam rubber and try the snobinettes.

I will see if I can get the molds for the spheres. You will be surprised at how difficult it is to get decent molds in South Africa. You mostly only get the "hobby" kind. I am sure other chocolatiers know where to get them and if anyone from South Africa can point me in the right direction I will appreciate it. I can find nothing on the net or any stores in the Pretoria and Johannesburg vicinity that stock a decent selection.

As a long term solution I do think the spheres may be easier, but the snobinettes can sure help in the mean while as I need a solution pretty quick.

I think Chef Rubber in the US carries the molds, and so does Pavoni, the italian company selling them as well.
Thanks Brad. If I cannot find any in South Africa I will have to order them from somewhere else as soon as I can afford the freight costs. The postal services in South Africa is notoriously bad and you are never sure if you are going to get your post.

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