Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Chocolate and Confections

By student blogger Morgan

Chocolates are absolutely one of my favorite things to eat, but not something my classmates or I had a lot of experience making prior to coming to the CIA. Naturally, the excitement for this class builds mostly because we get to eat chocolate for breakfast five days a week, but also at least a little bit for the opportunity to learn and practice skills that are completely new. The class is broken into categories of confections including truffles, ganache centers, aerated candies and nut centers. We got to create everything in this class from our own hard candies (shown below in the little cauldrons) to learning the classical techniques behind the candies we all know and love like butterfingers and junior mints.

Each group of four students made a different chocolate or candy every day and worked in multiple different mediums including chocolate, marzipan, pulled sugar and jellies. Pictured above and below is just a small sampling of the chocolate spread we set out for the graduation buffet. From left to right we have sour orange slices (made with agar), chocolate dipped caramels, UFO's (hazelnut and maple marzipan),JFB's (chocolate cherry and hazelnut gianduja), Kahlua ganache, pistachio marzipan, cherry liqueur cordials and Bailey's Irish Cream cordials.

My favorite part of this class was surprisingly not the volume of chocolate I freely ingested on a daily basis, but learning the science behind chocolate and confectionery on a higher level. Chef Greweling is a true master of his craft and he wrote the textbook used for the course, which made the lectures easier to follow and retain. Instead of simply focusing on the 'how-to' of chocolates and confections, we dug into the 'why' and the theory involved. A solid understanding of why a medium works the way it does is what allows you to be creative later down the line.

On our last day of class we set up a table display using pieces from every part of the course for the AOS graduation. The most gratifying thing about being a post-extern baking and pastry student is that
every class presents your work to the public in some way. We make the desserts for the graduation, the bread for the restaurants and the chocolates served at open houses. All the students really appreciate the opportunity to see all of their hard work come together and getting to show off a little.

You can also see that we used the cakes from the current Confectionery Arts class for some added 
"wow-factor" at our table. 

Next stop for us is Contemporary Cakes, stay tuned!

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