I know this is probably going to be the easiest fix..and most likely something silly we are doing wrong. But, when we try to make Milk or Dark Chocolate Coconut Clusters or Peanut Clusters...the chocolate is hardening SO fast after we ladle in our bowl that we are basically ruining the majority. I told the girls to now use as much, and do much smaller batches (annoying, but zero waste). Is that the secret? Please help!
**I am using all Peter's Chocolate...toasted coconut...and VA EXLARGE roasted peanuts .
warm nuts in microwave a little
I think that Jim and Pam may both be partly right.
The questions I have are:
1) How cold is the room you're working in?
2) What are the pans made of?
3) How big are the pans?
4) Are the nuts at room temperature (or colder)?
It's easy to over-temper in a Chocovision machine, just as it's easy to under-temper. A machine like that is no replacement for actually knowing how to hand-temper and how to tell if your chocolate is in temper. The default temperatures may not be the best ones for your chocolate.
If the room is cold and you're using stainless steel bowls and they are big bowls and you're dumping cold nuts into the chocolate -- well that would cause it to set up very quickly - especially if you are setting the bowls down on a stainless steel or marble table. Just suck the heat right out of it!
The bowls should be at the same temperature as the chocolate in the temperer, or as close to it as you can manage. You can use a heating pad under a marble slab (or between two sheet pans - this is best!) to create a warm surface to work on.
The nuts should also be as close to the temperature of the chocolate as possible. If you have a small bread proofer that would work, as would an incubator or an oven with just the light on. I would be careful about microwaving as the heating could be uneven and you don't want fat to migrate to the surface of the nuts.
Thank you Clay! The room was low 60s, the pans were stainless steel, and the nuts were about room temperature. I warmed the nuts very slightly, used glass bowls that we also warmed, and the difference was NIGHT and DAY! Thank you! I knew it would be something silly that we just overlooked. :)