Back in Action!

Hello Everyone!

After another season working in Wyoming I’m back in Wenatchee ready to make chocolates for the holiday season.  I’m going to wait to unveil the holiday list until after Thanksgiving since there has been so much controversy about “Black Friday” and holiday shopping impinging on Thanksgiving.  However I wanted to give everyone who’s following my blog a head’s up that I am back in the Pacific Northwest gearing up for another fun holiday chocolate season.  I am going to preload you all with a teaser to get you excited for the upcoming chocolate line up.

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I present to you my new “Nibby Bark”

Now what is “Nibby Bark”?

Well first you need to know what the nibs are.  Cacao nibs are are the roasted cacao beans that are cracked and de-shelled into bits.  They are pretty much chocolate in their most basic form, before it’s pressed to make chocolate paste that has the sugar, more cocoa butter, vanilla, and lecithin added to it to make “chocolate” as we know and love it.

I took these lovely little nibs and ground them down to even smaller little bits and put them inside and on top of dark chocolate.  This idea was inspired by a chocolate bar I found this  summer that is very similar and I couldn’t get enough of it.  It’s definitely a treat for those chocolate “purists” out there. So if you know of someone who fits this criteria you can pick up a couple bags of nibby bark this holiday season!

Let’s Talk Preservatives, or Lack There Of

Hello Everyone,

I just received a bit of disheartening mail that has made me decide that a bit of chat needs to go on about preservatives, and what constitutes a preservative.

I won’t go into the details of the message I received, other than to say that my chocolates were thrown out by someone because I have glucose as one of my ingredients, and said person does not eat that “garbage”, and knows from other chocolate companies that this person has purchased from that glucose is not a necessary ingredient.

Now, I want to point out a pretty big distinction between the chocolate this person is referring to and what I do.  The majority of chocolate that is made by the chocolate companies that were mentioned by this person are bars.

I don’t make bars, at least not yet.  I make truffles, bon bons, confections, whatever you like to call them. Chocolates that contain ganache, the delicious chocolate and cream or chocolate and butter or chocolate and coconut milk or chocolate and water – blended filling that so many of us enjoy.

The main difference between bars and bon bons, is that bars are just chocolate with maybe some spices, nuts, herbs, oils, dried fruits, etc. mixed in.  The amount of free water available for mold growth in a bar is incredibly low, and therefore, there is no need to add any additional preservative.

Bon bons, or the confections that I make, typically are made with cream, which raises the amount of free water available considerably.  If I did not tie up some of that free water with some sort of preservative, the shelf life would probably only be a week or so.

To tack onto the point I made in my conversation about shelf life in one my previous posts, the best way to extend shelf life is to reduce the amount of free water available for bacteria and molds to latch onto.  The best way to “naturally” do this is with glucose.  There are a lot of other preservatives out there, like sorbitol, sorbic acid, sulfites, nitrates, etc.  I’m sure the list goes on, but that’s just a few to start with.

I like to pride myself in using no artificial preservatives in my chocolates, because I feel that reduces the quality, and I’d rather sell a chocolate with a higher quality and a shorter shelf life than vice versa.  That is why I use glucose in my chocolates.  It’s just simply sugar that binds free water without imposing any flavor or chemical alterations to the chocolates.  And, since glucose is what fuels our bodies, it’s one less thing our bodies have to break down to give us energy, if you want to think of it that way.

I guess the moral of the story is that I will not be able to please everyone with my confections and I accept that.  Someone will be displeased at some point or another, whether it be that I don’t make sugar free chocolates, or that I use glucose as a preservative, or because I don’t by fair trade, organic chocolate, etc.  You get the point.

Honestly, I would like to thank said person for clueing me into the fact that many might not have known exactly why glucose was an ingredient in my chocolates, and why it’s not a component of bar chocolates sold by a lot of other high end chocolatiers.

I just hope this post will provide a new bit of knowledge people can take away so that when someone starts in on the fact a chocolate is “garbage” because it contains glucose, you can educate them on actually why it is not.

Valentine’s Chocolate Order Deadline Today!

Hey Everyone,

I’ve been busy in the kitchen whipping up these delicious gems for you to give that person you love, even if that’s yourself! BUT, if you want to take advantage of these delightful goodies, I need your order in by midnight PST!

If you’re having issues filling out the order form, just email me what you want and where you want it sent and I’ll make sure it gets to you :)

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And in case you don’t follow me on Facebook, here is the new look of the Ginger Dogg…I hope you find it as beautiful as I do!

Here are the links to the menu and order form for your convenience, and have a wonderful Valentine’s, Singles Awareness, or just a wonderful Friday the 14th. Cheers!

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9xU0EFx26pwRUdEeGU4bmpxUDA/edit?usp=sharing

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9xU0EFx26pwVXQxektMWFZSOGs/edit?usp=sharing

2014 Valentine’s Chocolates Are Here!

Hello Everyone!

The time has come to choose sides, and people definitely have strong opinions either way it seems, they either love or hate Valentine’s day.  I think back to when I was a kid and we used to give Valentine’s out to our classmates at school, oh the childhood thrill of getting a “Be Mine” Valentine from that boy or girl you admired.

I admit that now that I’m an adult, the holiday has never been my favorite. Maybe it’s because Valentine’s has become “Single’s Awareness Day” for more years than I want to admit, but it’s more than that.  I think those out there in relationships should appreciate their significant others equally everyday, and not let this one holiday dictate dropping 1/2 your paycheck on a nice dinner and new diamond earrings just to show how much you love you have for that special someone.  This has just inspired me come up with an awesome idea.  Once I get up and running full time, I will have a “Just Because I Love You” box with 2 chocolates you can give to your loved one, anytime, because I think expressing your love for someone shouldn’t be designated for just one day of the year.

I cannot deny that Valentine’s is one of the biggest chocolate holidays of the year.  Be that as it may I want to stress that I want people to buy chocolates from me during this holiday because they love eating my chocolates! Since you can only get them during certain times of the year right not why not take advantage of it.

However, if you enjoy showering your significant other on Valentine’s day, more power to you! Go for the gusto and buy some chocolates to complete the Valentine’s package.

Bottom line: I don’t feel you have to necessarily have to celebrate the holiday in order to enjoy artisan chocolates.

Enough of the Valentine’s rant. Let’s get to the good stuff, the chocolates!

One quick note about the Ginger, it has a new name and will have a new face! I’m sure there will be many who will not understand the name “Ginger Dogg” and I’ll probably have to change it eventually due to the reference to Snoop Dogg, but I’m just going to revel in it for the moment.  Here’s the story of why I renamed it…when I was in culinary school I decided I wanted to make a ginger flavored chocolate, so I took fresh ginger and juiced it in this crazy strong commercial juicer, which created a full glass of “ginger juice”. When I brought it back to the candy lab my chef started singing “Rollin’ down the street, sippin’ on ginger juice”. I thought it was such a great pun that whenever I make this chocolate that is always what I sing in my head. Therefore I decided to throw caution to the wind and rename the chocolate. Now you too can think of that song when you’re eating the Ginger Dogg.

But back to business…

Here are the links to the menu and order form for your viewing pleasure:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9xU0EFx26pwRUdEeGU4bmpxUDA/edit?usp=sharing

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9xU0EFx26pwVXQxektMWFZSOGs/edit?usp=sharing

Order deadline is the 5th of February!

Happy Chocolate Eating!

Willow

“Best Before”: A Guide to Yeti Chocolates Shelf Life

Well the Christmas rush is over, and this by far was the busiest I’ve ever been for any holiday I’ve made chocolates for…by far! A little underprepared, which caused a few scrambles here and there. Thankfully only one shipping snafu, though one is definitely less than desirable, but better one than two or five.  I came out of the holiday season extremely exhausted, exhilarated, and with a whole new toolset of slides to use in future of things that went really well, and things to change.  I can say that I’m already in the advanced planning/prep stages for Valentine’s day (I feel like a grocery store, I already had my Valentine’s menu planned and it wasn’t even New Years!).  But I guess that’s what you have to do to stay ahead of the game.

However I digress, let’s get back on track with the topic at hand…shelf life of Yeti Chocolates.

During the holiday season, and really every time I make chocolates, the issue of shelf life comes in to play.  With good reason I suppose, as no one wants to eat a moldy chocolate.  And trust me, I don’t want to sell one either.  That is why I generally err on the side of caution when writing the “Best Before” date on my chocolate boxes.

The problem is that people are so conditioned at seeing a date and thinking that once that date passes they cannot eat the product.  That is not always the case.  And there are times that a product will have a date listed and expire before that date comes to pass.  I actually had that happen to me this morning with a carton of cream, the date said 1/24/14, but it was definitely not probably acceptable to consume (even though I did as to not waste a good expensive cup of Stumptown coffee).

The problem I have with putting an expiration date on my chocolates is that every one of them has a different shelf life, which makes it tricky to pin point exactly when they will go bad.  That is why I put “Best Before” versus “Expires On” or “Sell By”, simply because I’m giving you a guideline with which I feel is around the optimal date with which you should eat your chocolates.  Are they immediately going to go bad the day after the “Best Before” date? Of course not.  But I’m trying to also make it known that you shouldn’t wait 6 months before you eat them either.

We have become pretty accustomed to Twinkies, canned goods, and highly preserved foods that give us this false sense of security that all of our food has this amazingly long shelf life.  But what you need to remember is that like fresh vegetables and fruit, my chocolates have a shorter shelf because they aren’t filled with a ton of preservatives. And if I used them they may make them last longer, but probably won’t make them taste as good.

Another thing to remember is that unlike that Hersey(TM) bar at the store that will probably last 6-12 months, these are truffles/bonbons/filled chocolates, and it’s the ganache (the yummy center) that makes them less shelf stable.

Why is this? Well it’s due to (Aw) or water activity level.  What is water activity level to the non-scientific population?  Well, simply put, it’s the amount of free water available in a ganache that can sustain mold growth.  The more water available for mold/bacterial growth, the shorter the shelf life.  There are many ways to reduce the free water in ganaches, using butter over cream, using invert sugars or glucose to bind the free water, using artificial preservatives, etc.

Given that I’m trying to create the freshest, most delicious chocolate possible, I have made the choice of not using any artificial preservatives in my chocolates.  I sacrifice shelf life over taste, which most people seem to appreciate. But there are many out there who baulk a bit when I tell them my chocolates only have a 2-3 week shelf life, but I feel it creates a higher quality product that I’m proud to provide to my customers.

Based on the research I’ve done, and I’m currently doing my own little experiment, the shelf life of the less shelf stable chocolates (primarily cream or water based ganaches) is up to 12 weeks before mold growth is present.  Do I recommend you wait 12 weeks before eating your chocolates? Heck NO! I mean, why would you even want to wait that long to eat chocolates anyway.  I’m more of the proponent of once they are purchased or have arrived on your door step, savor, savor, savor, and maybe try and hold out from consuming the entire box in one sitting, at least try and have two sittings before they are all gone.

I know this has turned into a saga of epic proportions, but to recap what I want you to take away from this is that the “Best Before” date written on the bottom of the box is not an expiration date, but more of a guideline with which you base your own chocolate eating adventure timeline.  Don’t wait 6 months from the date, but try and consume within a week or two of the date…though I’ll admit I’ve eaten them a month after the date and they’ve been fine; not their peak by any means, but still palatable. Remember! I’d rather you eat them when they are at their peak of freshness.

And if you’re curious which chocolates have a shorter versus longer shelf life, shoot me an email at yetichocolates@gmail.com and I’ll give you a detailed list of what types are each of the chocolates (cream ganache, butter ganache, caramel, coconut milk ganache, etc) and their estimated shelf life.

Stay tuned in the next couple weeks for the Valentine’s menu and some more exciting developments in Yeti Chocolates!

Chocolate Order Deadline Today!!!

Hey Everyone,

Just a quick note that if you are interested in ordering Yeti Chocolates for the holiday season I will need to receive the order no later than 11:59 PST tonight in order for me to accept your order for processing.  The response to this year’s selection has been overwhelming, and no doubt there will be a lot of late nights this week to get all the chocolates made, boxed and shipped by Friday!

Needless to say the support I’ve received fills me with great joy and gives me a true sense that I can do this, that this can be a successful enterprise :)

Check out the previous post for all the info you will need to be successful in ordering, and if you need any help, please email yetichocolates@gmail.com, or comment on this post.

Thanks again for all your support of Yeti Chocolates, and for reading my blog!

Stay tuned for some exciting new developments after the holiday season!

2013 Holiday Chocolates!

Hello Everyone,

The time has come when you’re still feeling a bit stuffed from Thanksgiving, you may have a few bruises from elbowing your way to that special deal you couldn’t live without on Black Friday, and realizing that you just spent more than enough time with family and have to do it all over again in a few weeks.  What will make all this better? Chocolates, of course!

The holiday line up has arrived for your viewing pleasure:

There are also some other goodies available this holiday season worth mentioning:

Dark chocolate dipped peppermint marshmallows – Want a sophisticated addition to your hot cocoa on a cold winter’s night? Then try some of these! And they are dairy free for all you lactose intolerant folks out there!

Sweet ‘n’ Spicy Nuts – A delicious sweet and salty blend of peanuts, walnuts, cashews, pecans, hazelnuts, caramelized and then tossed in a delicious mix of salt, cayenne, rosemary and butter.  Yum, yum!

If you would like to get some of these delicious gems to share for Christmas (or not share if that suits your fancy) then click on the links below to order!

The link to the menu:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9xU0EFx26pwMEFPSkVHMnVhbUE/edit?usp=sharing

The link to the order form:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9xU0EFx26pwWHEtRW9reW10UEk/edit?usp=sharing

And if you cannot wait until Christmas to get your hands on some of the chocolates, I will be in Troy, MT on December 7th for the 4H Holiday Bazaar, and at Tumbleweed Bead Co. in Wenatchee, WA on December 12th selling and giving out samples and taking orders.

I hope you enjoyed the line up for Christmas, and I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Hey Everyone,

Just wanted to do a little Halloween tribute in pictures of the chocolates I made for Halloween.  For those that follow the blog and ordered, a million thanks are sent your way, I was definitely A LOT busier than I expected to be!

So here they are, the Halloween chocolates, for your viewing pleasure:

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I like this photo style, makes the chocolates look slightly creepy, perfect for Halloween

The chocolates in color, Caramel Apple bottom left, Nutty fluff top right, Pumpkin spice bottom right

The chocolates in color, Caramel Apple bottom left, Nutty fluff top right, Pumpkin spice bottom right

 

That's alotta chocolates! (And these were just the ones I shipped out!)

                 That’s alotta chocolates! (And these were just the ones I shipped out!)

 

Here's a close-up of the packaging I used this go around

                             Here’s a close-up of the packaging I used this go around

 

Well, there you have it, a little “Boo-tiful bites” (in pictures) just in time for Halloween.  I hope you enjoyed the Halloween chocolate picture gallery, and you all have a goulishly good time tonight!

Stay tuned as I have a chocolate workshop I will be putting on November 10th, and of course the holidays are just around the corner, so I will have the holiday selection up in no time!

 

Back in Action, Just in Time for Halloween!!!

Hello All,

Well it’s been a year of many changes for me, most of which have been great.  I bought a new house this spring, took a new job in beautiful Jackson, WY, bought a new car…just to name a few.  2013 has been a great year which I hope continues through the it’s course to 2014.

One bump in the road, depending on you look at it, was that my season working in Jackson was cut short due to the government shut down.  I’m sure everyone has felt the pinch of this shut down, and I felt it first hand, when discovering the day of the shut down that myself and my co-workers were not essential employees that we had been told we were the day before, but furloughed.  At the time I was pretty upset, for many reasons, but have decided to look at the silver lining this shut down has provided me; that I got to come home to my new house 3 weeks earlier than I planned…and that I get to start making chocolates sooner.

For those of you who don’t know me (and I’m sure there are many who read this blog that don’t, which is awesome!) Halloween is my FAVORITE holiday.  If they had to nix all the holidays save for one, Halloween is the holiday I would choose to stay.  Most would probably disagree with me, which is fine, but really, what’s more fun than to dress up in something ridiculous and enjoy a party with all your other friends dressed in equally ridiculous costumes.  It’s awesome!

That’s why when I friend mentioned that I should make Halloween chocolates, though I hesitated at first because I felt I would have too much to do when I got home, the more I thought about it, I realized that I’d be an idiot to not pay homage with chocolates for my all time favorite holiday.

The fun part about this is that I’m completely mixing it up this go around.  I’m only offering one box size, with the option of buying 3 and getting 1 for free, since 3&1= 31, which is a clever play on Halloween.

As for the flavors, I’m only offering 3, a pumpkin spice in a jack-o-lantern mold, my nutty fluff in a peanut butter cup mold, and my caramel apple in a dome mold, 3 flavors that I feel are pretty fitting for the occasion.  They will be packaged in a 3ct. box – it’s like a sophisticated fun sized treat for that grown up kid at heart, even if that’s you!

So stay tuned for pics, and if you’re interested in purchasing any of these boo-tiful bites, email me at yetichocolates@gmail.com.

Willow

SALE, SALE, SALE!!!

Hello Everyone,

I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s or Single’s Awareness Day, or whatever expletive you like to call that wonderful day of February 14th.  The initial chocolate madness is over, however I have been left with a sizable amount of chocolates that I’d like to dispatch to others, so they don’t go to waste, and so I don’t eat them :) The last thing I need is to gain 20 lbs from eating all my leftover chocolates.

That’s where you come in…if you didn’t get your chocolate fix the first go a round, or if you’re the type who doesn’t buy into getting gifts for Valentine’s then this is the perfect opportunity for you.  It’s not for Valentine’s it’s just because you like eating chocolate that you would buy these lovely morsels, and also because they are 1/2 price!  Yes my friends, you heard it here, all of my chocolates, barks, and jellies are half off the original price.  And to make the deal even sweeter, I will give free shipping to all orders over $50! What chocoholic can pass up a deal like that!

Now quantities are limited, so the quicker you place the order, the better for you.  Just email yetichocolates@gmail.com with what you would like (I’ll re-attach the menu and order form) and I’ll send you a paypal request for the amount owed and get it sent to you straight away, it’s that easy.  And no need to worry that you don’t have a paypal account, you don’t need one, just an email address!

Here’s the link to the menu:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B9xU0EFx26pwOW9jV2xGTE5HWGc/edit

Here’s the link to the order form:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B9xU0EFx26pwX1VfX0lycGU0MVU/edit

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at yetichocolates@gmail.com.

WillowBacon_bark