Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Temper Tantrum...

...or "Favor FAIL."

By now, it's no secret to you all that I've got a penchant for puns. So I knew I'd want to accompany the note explaining our charity donation to the Wetlands Institute with an edible "turtle" treat combining chocolate, caramel and pecans.

I'd never tempered chocolate before, but after reading up on the process -- which sounded simple enough -- attempted to melt some in a makeshift double boiler so I could create candies using a turtle mold I had ordered online. And...it really didn't work well at all. The mold was too shallow to create a substantial piece of candy, so any plans to create filled molded candies wouldn't work out if I stuck with this particular turtle shape. Larger turtle molds, I discovered, existed, but would require much more chocolate -- making this a pretty pricey favor!

So I started seeking out recipes that included the key ingredients in a non-molded form. I loved the idea of this recipe -- because bark is simple enough, and is supposed to be somewhat jagged and imprecise, right? -- but again, had issues with the final product. The caramel's consistency reminded me of Sugar Daddy candies -- painful to eat -- and, despite my best efforts, this batch of chocolate bloomed.

As you can imagine, I was getting pretty frustrated. I didn't want to give up on my edible pun favors, so Mr. Bruschetta suggested I consider a baking -- rather than candy-making -- project, since I didn't have any previous experience working with chocolate, but I bake (successfully!) pretty often.

After a bit of searching, I settled on Baci di Dama, or "Lady's Kisses" -- chocolate and hazlenut sandwich cookies that originated from Piedmont in Northern Italy. Okay, so no pecans, but I figured we could add a caramel liquor to the ganache. Two outta three ain't bad, right?


While this recipe turned out well -- those little cookies were delish! -- it also took way too long to finish one batch. And since the "kisses" are rather tiny, I thought each guest would need to receive several...which translates into much more pre-wedding baking than time permitted! (I had hoped to find a recipe I could make about two weeks in advance, and then either freeze or store in airtight containers until closer to our date.)

At this point, I started to seriously reconsider making our wedding favors myself. With each new idea, I'd been researching packaging options -- including clear favor boxes and a variety of cellophane bags creatively dressed up -- so I was expending time and mental energy outside of the kitchen as well.

After a month of futzing with failed favors, I needed a solution that saved me any additional stress...but you'll hafta wait for a future post to hear what turtle-esque favor we selected!

I'm always so embarrassed when kitchen endeavors don't work out as I'd hoped...so feel free to commiserate with your own DIY wedding FAIL.

Anyone else plan on -- but then reconsider -- making your favors?

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