I think that the specific use of crystals and amorphous structures have, and I can't believe I'm about to say this, considerable untapped potential in the confection world.
Traditional "meltaways" tend to take advantage of eutectics by combining dissimilar fats to result in a new, lower melting point than either alone. This has the benefit, as I said, of lowering the melting point. It also has the drawback of lowering the melting point!
I've been tinkering with an interesting twist on a classic treat, that is a peppermint bark for this holiday season. Now I love peppermint and I love chocolate, I even love white chocolate (although I've only found one brand I can stomach), last year I did some very basic peppermint-pine white chocolate bars. My problem with this combo is that the cooling of the mint combines with the cooling effect of the chocolate, and rather than getting a nice smooth melt, you end up with something all gummed up.
This year... this year will be different. First, I'm dropping the pine, because... well despite the fact that this pairing is just f-ing awesome, like biting into xmas morning, I have cultureless morons for customers... not the end consumer mind you, just some of the wholesale types. "Ew... it has pine in it? Gross!" So that is sad, fortunately I'll be making pine-peppermint macarons for myself to fatten up on... but I digress.
I want something that will not melt in your hands, but is not coated either... cause I'm lazy. I thought that a solid foam would be a good place to start, 1L of chocolate at a time cuz I is artisan yo! ;) Greater surface area, faster melt of chocolate, makes sense. I also thought it would be good, since this is a bark to have bits of candy cane though it... simple enough, kind of a fun childhood rustic edge. The problem... it's still gummy! (If it were so simple as using a whipper I would have never bothered writing about it.)
Back to the big board... what is causing the cooling? Cocoa butter crystals... can't deal with those without other major changes. Peppermint... that is the whole point of this product, so it stays. Sugar in the candy cane... I sorta cheat and use isomalt so I have clear candy canes, clear of course means amorphous, so no cooling there. The sugar in the chocolate... ah ha! Unfortunately Cluizel doesn't appear to make white chocolate paste and I'd rather not have that phone call... I think they already question my sanity. ("Why do you use such an expensive chocolate for R&D?" "I like to like the utensils.")
Ok it's a few weeks later now, I had to spoil and dehydrate some milk, add cocoa butter (45%), and... inulin. Inulin is frequently sold as a health supplement as it's a prebiotic, good for this and that... it can be used as a sugar replacer and its warming!
Candy cane is somewhat finely chopped, whipper is double charged... discharged into a bowl, candy cane mixed through and portioned into the final plastic packaging, which acts like a mold. Repeat with a layer of red chocolate. I thought the dramatic layering of Red/White looked better than a swirl, I was going to add some titanium dioxide to the white... but I'm getting way off point.
The melt was ethereal, light and smooth without melting readily in the hand (take that M&M!) the flavor was decidedly unsweet, simple, and straightforward. The lack of emulsifier was readily apparent. It is like... peppermint milk without a hint of gumminess. Having it to do again... I think I'd be compelled to just make a layer of peppermint isomalt between the colored layers. This would provide more control of texture to the consumer and would have substantially less waste, not to mention just being all around better.