Category:storiesTags : decorationsdragees So many people have come into the store looking for the shiny silver balls known as dragees. When I tell them we can’t sell dragees they are astonished. Until just a few weeks ago, I thought they were actually outlawed by law, but it turns out the truth is stranger than that.
In 2003, a lawyer in Napa County, California, started a lawsuit against sellers of the little silver balls because each ball contains small amounts of silver – you know, to make them shiny. Of course, any business he sues has the option of paying this attorney to settle out of court, thereby assuring that the public is once again saved from the evil of tiny bits of silver.
Perhaps this attorney, Mark Pollok, is looking out for the public good. Maybe he just found an easy way to intimidate large and small business to pay him money. Regardless, almost no one in California sell dragees any more.
Just so you know, you can buy dragees in any of the other 49 states, and in Europe.
If you want to read a newspaper article about the dragee suit, you can click this link to read an article from the San Francisco Chronicle.
Well, sometimes it happens. The melting candy sometimes becomes troublesome. Usually, the chocolate, dark chocolate, white, and superwhite candies give no problem at all. But the colored candy can sometimes be stubborn. One of our customers called me and told me that the pink melting candy was too thick to work with and would not flow easily. After I spoke with her, I grabbed a bag of the pink, ripped it open, and melted it down as a test.
Pink melting candy being poured into a mold. Notice that the top of the candy is clumpy.
It turned out to be a little thicker than usual, but I was able to work with it, and even poured it into molds and dipped some graham crackers. Here’s the process I went through:
I melted the candy like we recommend, in the microwave, twice, at half power for 30 seconds, stirring after each 30 seconds.
At the end, the candy was somewhat thicker than normal, and it seemed to start to harden even as it was being poured. I threw in some shortening flakes (paramount crystals) to thin it out. I used a lot of the flakes, about twice as much as I would normally recommend. That made the candy considerably thinner, but when poured into a mold, it didn’t spread out to fill the mold, but remained thick and ropy (see the photo).
I picked up the mold, still flat, about a half to one inch from the table and dropped it onto the table.The candy immediately spread out and properly filled the entire mold, and then went on to harden in the refrigerator into little candy treats (see the photo).
This colored melting candy needed some extra shortening flakes and some tapping to make it smooth.
To sum it up, colored candy melts can sometimes be thicker than usual. If you have a particularly stubborn batch of candy, add about twice as many shortening flakes as you normally would. Even a little more, if you have to. If the candy pours into the mold easily, but doesn’t fill it properly, pick up the mold about an inch and let it fall to the table again. That should smooth it out just fine.
A couple of days ago, one of our customers brought in a cake to show me that she had made letters out of Isomalt sticks she had recently bought from us. She said that the Isomalt was easily melted using the microwave instructions on the package.
After melting the sticks, she just poured the liquid into the letter forms and let them harden for several minutes.
Our customer, Bethany, had never used the Isomalt sticks before, and she just wanted to experiment with them. As the picture shows, her experiment was successful.