I've been asked about doing tuxedo strawberries for a dinner the night before a wedding. This would be for November 16th. I've never made them, but I've seen pictures and tutorials and know that they aren't difficult, just time consuming. She wants about 30 and is saying to bring them the night before. However, I know that they have a short shelf life. I have a regular day job so don't have the luxury of doing them the same day. I would advise her that I would drop them off on the way to work on the morning of the 16th which means I can do them Thursday evening minimizing the time to less than 24 hours.
1. Do you think this is reasonable? I have no idea how long it takes to make one.
2. I don't want to use Wilton candy melts or have to deal with tempering chocolate. I can get Guittard A'peels. I've never used them though. Do they melt easily and taste good?
3. Finally, this is my cousin (who is an event planner) asking me for her daughter's wedding. I'm already making wedding shaped sugar cookies and have given her a really good discount. I have no idea what to charge for these and know they can be expensive due to the time involved. Anyone have any idea what the going price in Toronto is? Or what is a reasonable price? I don't want to overcharge but I don't want to undercharge either. Who knows, this could lead to future requests.
Typically in the $4 each range. The A'Peels are good.
Thanks KoryAK. I quoted a price of $4.25 and she was fine with that.
Now I just have to figure out where I might get long stemmed strawberries. LOL. I'll probably go to one of the upscale groceries to get better quality berries. We have a few Whole Foods here now.
I made some just last weekend, for the first time, also for a grooms cake. Here's what I learned. I used Merkins wedding white chocolate to dip the strawberry in first, then placed them on a cookie sheet I had placed in the freezer for 10 minutes then put a piece of waxed paper on. You freeze the cookie sheet to instantly stop the chocolate coated strawberry from puddling at the base. The cookie sheet goes into the freezer, not the strawberries. After the white chocolate sets, melt dark chocolate (I used chocolate chips but next time I would use Merkins dark chocolate) because melted chocolate chips were too thick. The whole process went quickly and was really easy BUT, and this is a HUGE but, after you tilt the strawberry and complete one side of the tux, you need to jiggle the container of chocolate to level it before dipping the second side of the berry or you'll end up with a very wrinkled looking tux lapel. The other tip is to use a new plastic icing bag, with a little melted chocolate in it and snip just the smallest amount off of the tip. Use this for the tiny buttons and be careful when you lift the bag off of the little button because a fine chocolate string will follow. Also use the bag to form the bow tie. It will look really bumpy but continue doing others then go back to the first set of bow ties and tamp them down with the tip of your finger and the bumps will go away. To make them the night before is taking a chance. They break down so easily. I did mine the night before and when the bride picked them up I noticed one had started to weep. Hope this helps you out.
Thanks Denise this is very helpful. Your advice is great! Luckily I only need to make 30 total, 15 tuxedos and 15 wedding gowns. I am dropping them off in the morning (I think this is for the out of towner's dinner the night before the wedding) before I head to work. I'm going to do a trial run this weekend on a few to make sure I know what I'm doing and see how long it takes. I'd prefer not, but I might be willing to get up really early and do them if they will dry in time. I figure I might end up doing them at midnight. LOL.
Once you finished them, did you refrigerate them at all? Did you tell your bride not to refrigerate them?
Is the Merkens wedding chocolate like Guittard A'peels or did you have to temper it? I've just discovered that my local store has the milk chocolate and the dark chocolate a'peels but is currently out of stock on the white chocolate ones. They have the 31% white, 38% milk and 61% semisweet chocolate wafers. But I think that means I have to temper the chocolate, which I was trying to avoid. They have paramound crystals as well, but I've never used them, so not totally sure what they do. I was going to search to see if there were any threads about tempering and such.
AGreat article on tempering chocolate
yes, I refrigerated the cake with the covered strawberries on them over night. To hasten the "drying" time or set up time, just remember to pop the lined cookie sheet in your freezer for 10 minutes then remove. Merkins doesn't need to be tempered. You might want to look for white chocolate bars in your grocery store, they won't be white like wedding white chocolate but will be more of a wedding white or off white. You won't need to melt white chocolate bars either. Saves you a headache. Skip the Paramount Crystals. That's added to chocolate to make it thinner (something I should have used when I melted Nestles dark chocolate chips for mine), but all Paramount Crystals are is a flaked Crisco. So if you need thinner chocolate just add a half teaspoon of Crisco to it and stir till it's incorporated. Best of Luck.
uh, no. Paramount Crystals are not flaked Crisco. Paramount Crystals are flaked cocoa butter. BIG difference.
Thanks everyone. My supplier has the a'peels in stock in all three flavours (dark, milk and white chocolate) so for this order I'm going to use them. I will do a trial run this weekend to make sure I know what I'm doing with the tuxedos and to get an idea of how long it takes.
Leah is there any reason that I might need to add the paramount crystals to the a'peels? I read on my suppliers site that they can be added to candy coatings to make them thinner and creamier, basically the same description they have with the cocoa butter I could buy.
AI've only needed to add Paramount Crystals to Merckens when dipping cake pops.
Well, I've just done a trial run on a few strawberries to see how the a'peels melted and what the dipping time etc was going to be.
I'm finding that the a'peels seem thicker than I expected. I thought that after dipping, I could hold the berry up and excess would drip off, but it doesn't. So I think I may try adding some of the paramount crystals on the weekend. I've still got until the 15th to perfect this.
The other thing I'm finding is that the tops of the berries seem to get in the way and get chocolate on them. I'll have to be more careful with holding them.
Finally two question for those who have made these -
a) Do I dip right up to the leaves at the top, or leave some of the berry showing?
b) For the tuxedos, am I dipping the entire berry in the white chocolate and then doing the dark chocolate lapels? Does the back of the berry get covered by the dark chocolate as well? I saw on one tutorial on line that this person just dipped the front of the berry in the white chocolate and then dipped the dark chocolate.
Any and all advise welcome. :)
Apeels thickness: you can just shake the berry a bit and maybe scrape it against the bowl
Berry tops: yes you have to go slowly and be very careful handling them. Even if you have the long stemmed ones, hold them close the the berry with the leaves out of the way.
Dipping depth: personal preference. I like a little red showing at the top but not too much.
Tuxedos: again, your call. Me personally I don't like to eat dipped berries because they are a mess, They are not a one-bite item and the chocolate cracks and falls off when you take the first bite. So if I was eating one, I'd prefer less chocolate = dip just the fronts in white. From a assembly standpoint, you may end up with a line under the dark where the white stops so I have always dipped them all the way in white. It will also be faster since you don't have to be as precise.
Thanks KoryAK. I picked up some paramount crystals tonight, so I'm going to do another test run on the weekend. I ate a couple of the ones I did do, and they seem a bit thick to me. I didn't really like having the layer of white chocolate under the regular chocolate, so I'm going to try just doing the front of the tuxedo in white.
After all this, I may think twice before agreeing to do these. LOL.
I pull back the green berry tops and hold onto them while dipping. This keeps them out of the way.
Okay, I've completed my second test run with some paramount crystals and they did help. I've got to do the "official" dipping tomorrow evening.
Everyone says to wipe the berries with a damp cloth. I did that with wet paper towels. Even doing that, I'm noticing that little flecks of seed show up in the chocolate. Any hints not to have this happen?
And the other thing I found was that when dipping the tuxedo berries, after they've been dipped in the white chocolate and it's set, when I go to dip in the milk chocolate, I'm getting some of the white melting into it. Obviously my white chocolate is still a bit hot. Any suggestions what the temperature shoud be?
You melts should never feel "hot". Ever. If they are hot enough to melt your set white chocolate then they will probably also be streaking when setting. Just work with cooler chocolate.
Yep, that's what I got. Streaking.
Thanks for your help again! :)
I'll post pictures when I get them done.
Here's the finished product. Thank you to KoryAK and DeniseNH for their help and suggestions. I'm very pleased with the results and the client loved them. I was able to minimize any oozing (my trial runs oozed). I noticed that after the berries were placed on the tray to set, they often ended up with a thinner base and you could see the berry through it. By "painting" chocolate onto the bottom of the set berry I was able to seal it.