“The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’ (I found it!) but ‘That’s funny …'” – Isaac Asimov
With all due respect to Dr. Asimov, I suggest another exciting phrase to hear in the kitchen, one that heralds new discoveries: ‘Oh crap!’
Last big project to do before leaving town tomorrow was to dip my caramels so as to give them enough time to set before packaging. Got to the shop this morning, got the chocolate tempered and ready, cut up the caramels, put one on the fork and started dipping.
It was at this moment I realized I hadn’t ‘bottomed’ the caramels, and uttered a phrase similar to the one above.
Bottoming (or footing) is an important step in dipping, both for caramels and truffles, because the centers aren’t solid enough to be held on the fork when dipped — the fork can squish into them, which makes the whole thing rather messy.
So you temper a bit of chocolate, spread it over the ganache or caramel, let it set, and then cut it up. Much easier to bottom one big piece than 120 little pieces.
Rather than try to bottom each piece, I decided to plunge ahead and dip them anyway. Caramel is more solid than ganache, but it’s much more sticky, so the first few were a challenge to get off the fork. But eventually I figured out how to stick the caramel on the edge of the fork, dip it, and then gently snap it off the fork onto the parchment paper. This might even work better than bottoming.