Thanksgiving hasn’t always been my favorite holiday. Like any other kid, it used to be Christmas. Once I started getting excited about food and the different ways to cook and flavor dishes, Thanksgiving quickly rose to the number one spot on my favorite holiday list.
Sadly, I think the last time I had more than 1 day off right before Thanksgiving was when I was 18, fresh in college, living the luxurious life of frozen TV dinners. I wasn’t really into cooking back then (at least not as much as I am now), and my friends and I thought we could just hit up a buffet or restaurant, score some turkey and call it a day. Little did we know that the buffet lines start forming before we even woke up (think hungover college kid sleeping schedule), and you definitely need a reservation to get into any decent restaurant – duh!
We ended up eating a bucket of KFC.
This year, I have it all planned out. I’m going to cook the entire dinner, and I’m going to make it exactly the way I want. I want homemade rolls, pies, and a brined turkey. Homemade turkey stock that has more flavor than any of the store bought stuff. I’m going to have a charcuterie board with candied walnuts, prosciutto, and all the cheese you can eat. I want to do it all myself and I eat till I can’t move. That’s my plan, which explains why I didn’t think to do a thanksgiving recipe until now. Did I mention I was a little rusty with this blog thing? Lucky for you, this one is not really for the actual thanksgiving dinner. It’s got the holiday flavors to keep you in the thanksgiving mood for as long as possible.
I present to you, cranberry orange bon bons.
Can we just take a moment to admire these photos? Now before you start thinking “wow, Cathy really stepped up her photography skills,” let’s all be real. It wasn’t me. Michelle from Infinite Imaging was kind enough to shoot these photos for me. I knew I would struggle with trying to make something brown look attractive. When in doubt, ask a professional!
I’ve done bon bons on my blog before, but this was way towards the beginning. I’ve learned a lot since then, and although the first post isn’t inaccurate, I’d like to think my technique has been refined. The coloring isn’t necessary, but here is a video of how I swirled the colors. Be sure to use cocoa butter at 86F°/30C°.
Tools you need:
1.5″ sponge paint brush
colored cocoa butter
polycarbonate chocolate mold
scraper (spackle knife from home depot is fine, just make sure to wipe dry after washing to keep from rusting).
Once you have the colors you want, it’s time to cast your chocolate.This will give you that nice thin piece of chocolate to hold in your fillings. Don’t forget, you have to use tempered chocolate or you won’t be able to unmold! See my tutorial on tempering chocolate here. This is pretty much the same technique for all mold shapes. Polycarbonate is the main “go-to” mold for chocolate due to it’s rigid material, making it easy to handle. This allows for easy tapping (see in video below) and has a nice flat surface to scrape off excess chocolate.
For these cranberry orange bon bons, we will be layering 2 different fillings into each chocolate. I make the cranberry pate de fruit a day before to let cool, and then blend it before I use it. The cranberry is piped first, then the ganache is piped last. Be sure to leave room to seal the bottoms with more tempered chocolate.
I didn’t get a chance to record the sealing portion of the bon bons, but it is very simple. After your ganache has set (is no longer runny and will hold it’s shape), pour tempered chocolate on the mold. Use your scraper to scrape across; you might have to go one way, and then scrape again the other way. The chocolate will fill the remaining spaces, creating a seal.
At this point, I like to put the mold in the refrigerator. The cold will help the chocolate separate from the mold (you can see it lifting off if you look at the bottom of the mold). When most of the chocolates are lifted, flip your mold onto a parchment sheet, slightly slamming it down to help release the chocolates.
Now if I just have one a day, this should last me until Christmas
What are your favorite holiday flavors?
Cranberry Pate de Fruit
- 30 min
- Ready in:
- 30 min
- Place cranberry juice and water in a 4 quart sauce pot (use larger pot if doubling the recipe) with a candy thermometer. Turn on high heat
- Mix together first sugar and pectin. Add to juice and mix before it simmers
- Bring to a boil, and then add the second sugar and glucose
- Stir occasionally until temperature starts to rise past 212F°. At this point, continually stir until mixture reaches 219F°
- While the mixture is cooking, prepare a 8x8 pan lined with parchment and sprayed with oil. You can also use a fleximold to make individual candies.
- As soon as the mix hits 219F°, take it off heat and add the citric acid
- Quickly stir until mixed and pour into desired pan/mold.
- Let it set at room temperature.
- If using to pipe into molded bon bons, blend in a food processor until smooth.
- If using as is (candy gummies), unmold (if using fleximolds) or cut into squares. Roll in granulated sugar.
**I used 100% cranberry juice from ocean spray. This contains a mixture of apple, pear, and cranberry juice to cut the tartness. Do not use cold pressed organic 100% cranberry juice (ingredients: only cranberry juice), as this will be too tart.
**glucose will keep the candy from crystalizing and give you the correct texture of the candy.
Orange Dark Chocolate Ganache
- Heat heavy cream, corn syrup, and orange zest to a simmer, stirring to make sure syrup is dissolved.
- Strain the cream over the chocolate and set sit for 1 min (make sure you squeeze excess cream from the strained zest).
- Stir to emulsify
- If using in bon bons, cool to 86F°/30C° before piping