Truffles and filled chocolates were action items on March 20 at Mission College’s Hospitality Management class, Introduction to Chocolate and Confectionery. So far, students have already learned to make fudge, lava cakes, chocolate pictures and candy molds. While assignments revolving around chocolate occupy the first half of the course, a closer study of sugar fills the remainder of the semester.
“This class introduces students to working with chocolate, tempering chocolate properly and making chocolate confections,” says instructor Scott Brunson, a former professional baker and home confectionist. “Chocolate and sugar are temperature-sensitive items. With chocolate, if you don’t temper it properly, if it’s not shiny, it won’t have that crunch or snap to it when you eat it. The texture of sugar is based on what temperature you cook it to, how much water is left. Even a one or two degree difference will give a different final product.”
According to Brunson, low temperatures create soft candies, such as fondant and taffy. Cooking sugar at higher temperatures can produce toffees and caramels. Hard candies come from cooking sugar at the highest temperature.
After carefully piping chocolate Earl Grey ganache onto parchment paper, Selah Wallace comments to her twin sister, Cassia, that her truffles-in-progress look like Hershey’s Kisses.
“The reason I’m taking this class is so I can learn how to work with chocolate for when I make wedding cakes,” says Selah, using a tool to flatten the tops of the ganache.
“I love chocolate and I want to work more with it,” says Bellina Barajas, preparing Rob Roys, truffles made from scotch. “I want to be a professional pastry baker. My dream is to open my own bakery.”
“This is one of my fun classes,” says Erinne Contival, piping out ganache. “I want to eventually open my own restaurant.”
“I’ve been taking classes at this program for three years,” says Michele Shoup, chopping chips from a thick bar of chocolate. “I had some personal setbacks, but I plan to get my A.A. degree in Hospitality Management in Spring 2016.”