It’s a cold, dreary Saturday in Chicago and as a consequence I have lost all desire to leave my warm house. :p So while I’m delaying the inevitable trip outside let’s catch up on what’s been going on these last few weeks of school…

Right after the last exam we covered Chocolate Candies. Here’s a small sample of what we made in class.

Small Sample of Chocolates From Class

Talk about overdosing on chocolate. Chocolate was way more complicated than I thought it would be because of its temperature sensitivity but in the process of making all that candy we learned a ton. Everyday for 2 weeks we made and sampled 2-3 different chocolate candies and it was good at first (I mean, really, how can anyone resist chocolate in mass quantities when it’s right in front of you?) but that last week I literally made myself sick from all the chocolate I ate that now the mere smell of it makes me think twice about popping a piece in my mouth. Favorites? Oh man there were a lot of good ones. Texture-wise, the Earl Grey ganache filled chocolates were the best. The ganache was so silky and melted so nicely once in your mouth. Flavor-wise, the Colombian was my top pick… the espresso in the ganache was so good!

You might have noticed that some of the chocolates above are a little rough looking. Well that’s because I had to throw them in my bag to have both hands free to hold this on my trip home:

My Chocolate Showpiece

Behold my Chocolate Showpiece! It’s BIG. Really big. And so my bundle of chocolates had no chance getting hand carried home. Thank God I had a ride home that day – I wasn’t feeling like bringing this one home on the usual train and bus ride.
Here’s a close up of the chocolate rose:

Chocolate Rose and White Chocolate Leaves

Ok…now the last thing we covered was Sugar Showpieces. It is absolutely amazing what you can make with sugar and some ingenuity. Here’s a simple showpiece the chef demo-ed for us:

Chef's Demo Sugar Showpiece

And here is mine. Try not to laugh too hard.

Haha My Sad Looking "Bird"

I can hear you laughing people! Haha…omg…isn’t it sad? My poor bird ended up ostrich looking because the sugar cooled too quickly for me to be able to shape it right and all my other bird attempts broke on me. It was so hilarious to see everyone’s misshapen birds on their showpieces when we put all of them in one room after class. It totally looked like an aviary for “special” birds.

Wish me luck on this last exam – I am sooo going to need it. I can deal with the chocolates and chocolate showpieces but I’m dreading the sugar showpiece section. Blowing sugar is a royal pain in the arse! Well sugar showpieces are difficult in general b/c it’s so danged delicate. Everything breaks so easily and you can’t fix it. You have to start all over again. After class, I drove me and my showpiece to the Christmas party at Xin’s and with every frickin’ bump in the road (and you know Chicago has A LOT of them) a piece fell or I could hear something cracking. Argh!

Two more weeks to go…