August 29, 2011

Daring Bakers’ Challenge: Truffles and Candies

pate 1

The above photo of strawberry paté de fruits looks entirely normal and would lead you to believe that this challenge went off without a hitch.

This is not the truth.

Much like my first Daring Bakers’ Challenge a year ago today, this challenge was a hot mess.

strawberries pre processed

Before we go into details, let me tell you a little bit about this challenge. The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies. This was a special challenge for the Daring Bakers because the good folks at offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy.

pate pour 1

pate pour 2

pate pour 3

pate pour 4

For my take on this challenge, I chose to make strawberry paté de fruits, wasabi dark chocolate truffles, and Kahlua coffee truffles. In the beginning, all of these candies were shaping up to be delicious, wonderful renditions of a fun challenge. In the end, all of these candies left me blinking in disbelief at where it all went wrong.

To be fair, though, it’s not really the fault of these candies and the minor mishaps that occurred in their preparation that made this challenge feel so topsy-turvy. For this past week, I have been alternating between periods of intense productivity and utter ditzyness, between excited energy and dogged determination. My brain has been firing a mile a minute, I’ve been busier than ever, and my schedule has exploded with activity.

pate 2

The fall semester has started.

Five classes are now a part of my life. Two of History, two of Spanish, and one cute little elective of Music Appreciation. Fun and interesting they are, but an unexpected amount of work they are as well.

And I started a new job this week, too.

Ya see? Busy.

cream 2

Probably due to all the new information entering my brain this week, I’ve been embarrassingly spacing out when it comes to organizing other areas of my life, like Daring Bakers’ challenges and normal bedtimes.

Paté de fruits were formed from a delicious recipe provided in the Daring Bakers info packet, but proved ten times too sticky to cut out into cute star shapes. Wasabi dark chocolate truffles had a cool taste to them, but were summarily ruined by poorly-tempered chocolate. Kahlua coffee truffles were insanely yummy, but also fell victim to my irresponsible tempering.

melted chocolate

It was the chocolate I used. Rather than activate my college brain and my critical thinking skills and buy a few quality bars of chocolate, I decided it would be just fine to use some semi-sweet chocolate chips I had in the pantry.

It was not just fine.

Basically, the problem lies in their structure. Regular ol’ chocolate chips are crafted with extra bits and pieces (a.k.a. chemicals, additives, etc.) to make them hold their shape while baking. While this makes for some lovely looking chocolate chip cookies, I’m sure you can see how chips specifically designed not to melt would not work for…er, melting. Tempering chocolate specifically requires melting chocolate until it reaches a certain temperature, cooling it down to another temperature, and then heating it up to another, melty, workable temperature again.

See what I meant about my brain not working?

messy truffles

Let’s not even talk about my wasabi decoration ideas.

pate 3

While I generally feel like this is a challenge best forgotten for me, I do want to leave you with a few thoughts. First, paté de fruits is yummy and cool—like huge chunks of Fruit Roll-ups coated in crunchy granulated sugar. Second, wasabi is tasty when mixed with chocolate, but probably not something that you’d want a whole box of. Third, adding 1/2 teaspoon of instant coffee and 2 1/2 teaspoons of Kahlua to your basic chocolate truffle recipe is a thing of immeasurable beauty. Even when it’s poorly coated with semi-melted, cheapo chocolate it’s insanely delicious.

Now, I’ve still got more homework to do in order to restore a sense of equilibrium in my suddenly-busy-again life. If you’d like to learn more about this month’s challenge or try out one of the many, many other candy recipes provided, take a looksee at the information packet from the Daring Bakers.


  1. I'm glad I'm not the only one who had a tough time with this challenge! Your paté de fruits look perfect, so I wouldn't have known they were a hassle. Now if only chocolate chips were more convenient. Nice job despite the hitches, especially with being so busy!

  2. I think your paté de fruits looks absolutely great.

  3. Ah, but at least you tried to temper the chocolate. I didn't even do that. In the great scheme of things, the taste is more important anyway, and the truffles sound delicious. Kahlua coffee flavours sounds ridiculously good, and I agree that your pate de fruit looks so perfect, you wouldn't know there'd been any issue. I want to eat one SO MUCH.

    Your classes sound cool. Hope the new job goes well! :)

  4. Oh my goodness! This first picture reminds me of Chronicles of Narnia... Haha. :)


  5. Well... your pics are gorgeous. I actually think I want to try and make the fruit candies since everyone seems to be raving about them. Now, didn't you read the part about not using chocolate chips? lol.. Great post, quite humorous. Best of luck with the new semester

  6. I know how you feel... this time of year is so busy! I bet those strawberry pate candies make it that much bearable. They look great!

  7. Yum, the pate de fruit looks so gorgeous! And you are coffee and chocolate too, although I might have to skip the wasabi :)

  8. You did a great job...the flavors you chose are amazing!
    and your pictures are stunning...looking at them it is hard to tell things were not easy making them

  9. A Koci-licious post as ususal! I love how you give us the "wart and all" account of your challenge. Love the pate de fruit - and I was liking where that wasabi decoration was going.

  10. Hey Koci. All of your candy ideas sound delicious and I really want one of those strawberry pate de fruit. Tehy came out beautifully!

  11. Those fruit thingies look delish!!


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