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130 of 131 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, an inexpensive book on making chocolates the professional and modern way
Andrew Shotts is as good of an author as he is a pastry chef (he was named Pastry Arts and Design top10 some year or other). This is a great book, aimed at intermediate or higher pastry chefs. This book does require some specialized equipment to do the fancier techniques (dipping fork, molds, transfer sheets). But even without any specialized equipment, you can make...
Published on December 23, 2006 by Eric J. Wu

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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too thin
I bought this book because it was less expensive than some others, but now I wish I hadn't--it's just too thin on the details to be truly useful. I made the dark chocolate ganache the other day and after a while I determined that my ganache was broken. Well, now that I have skimmed Greweling's Chocolates and Confections, I realize that it probably wasn't broken until I...
Published on July 30, 2009 by Debra Daugherty


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130 of 131 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, an inexpensive book on making chocolates the professional and modern way, December 23, 2006
By 
Eric J. Wu (cambridge, ma USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Making Artisan Chocolates (Paperback)
Andrew Shotts is as good of an author as he is a pastry chef (he was named Pastry Arts and Design top10 some year or other). This is a great book, aimed at intermediate or higher pastry chefs. This book does require some specialized equipment to do the fancier techniques (dipping fork, molds, transfer sheets). But even without any specialized equipment, you can make any of the chocolate candies in the book.

Contents include the following topics: chocolate basics and flavor pairings, including pairings with traditional flavors and non-traditional spices. About ~35 chocolate recipes. Recipes include standard classics like classic dark, classic milk, hazelnut praline. Recipes also include classic flavors (but maybe not classic pairings) like peanut butter+jam, and banana caramel. Finally there are non-traditional spice pairings like habanero+peanut butter, raspberry-wasabi, and mango-mint-coriander.

Techniques are where I think the book really shines. The book has excellent pictures and descriptions of making truffles, making molded chocolates, and making hand-dipped chocolates. Shotts shows the technique of airbrushing as well as how to use transfer sheets and luster or razzle dust. He does a good job of scaling down the equipment for the non professional. For instance when showing hand-dipped chocolates, he uses a baking pan + saran wrap + knife instead of sheet + frame + cutting guitar. After reading this book, you can go into any chocolate shop and say "I know how they did that technique". Surprisingly, Shotts never mentions tempering machines.

Finally, there is a book that shows all the techniques that professionals use. I don't have to pull out my issue of "Pastry Arts and Design" from 3 years ago or wait for a particular Food network espisode to come on. I have this book now. I love the range of recipes - not too classic, but not too experimental either. For those interested, there is a nice table of taste pairings for nontraditional spice flavors. The last wonderful thing is the price: usually you have to pay professional prices ($100-$250) for books that show professional techniques and recipes. Not so here.

Compared to others: "Fine Chocolates" by Wybauw is a great book with great tips on tempering how to correct molding mistakes. It's a lot more $$ (~$65 on Amazon, used to have to buy it elsewhere for $100) and is aimed at the more advanced chocolatier. This book is better than either of the Ecole Lenotre books.
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51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, January 13, 2007
By 
Robin (Bethesda, MD) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Making Artisan Chocolates (Paperback)
If you have ever worked through a long difficult candy receipe only to have it inexplicably fail--this is a good book for you.

The great strength of Making Artisan Chocolates is in the specificity of the directions. Making candy is unlike most kinds of cooking in that there is almost no room for error. Many candy receipes fail because they give general instructions with the idea that the cook knows how the candy is supposed to look, or feel at a given stage.

Instead of trusting that his reader is experienced, Shotts gives specific instructions, right down to which brand of chocolate will temper at which temperature. He charts guidelines for compatible ingredients and kinds of chocolate.

Thanks to Andrew Shotts I made my first successful chocolates last weekend. They were the best my family had ever tasted, and they looked gorgeous!
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60 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Review title, February 16, 2007
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This review is from: Making Artisan Chocolates (Paperback)
This is a good book with good recipes and tons of extremely specific information regarding technique and materials, though it's a little light on theory. My one complaint is that it's frequently very difficult to figure out what exactly is being pictured in the color plates as there are very few captions or labels on them.

And one quick tip: you should probably allocate at least $200 for practice ingredients when trying out some of the more colorful recipes for the first time. 90% of them will probably end up in the disposal.

A second quick tip for those of you who will be pulling out your hair trying to find the "G Pectin" some of the recipes call for; you can buy it here: [...] or rather you could if Amazon would actually let me include a URL to a site they don't own in a review.

Chef

Rubber

Dot

Com
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too thin, July 30, 2009
By 
Debra Daugherty (Brookline, MA, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Making Artisan Chocolates (Paperback)
I bought this book because it was less expensive than some others, but now I wish I hadn't--it's just too thin on the details to be truly useful. I made the dark chocolate ganache the other day and after a while I determined that my ganache was broken. Well, now that I have skimmed Greweling's Chocolates and Confections, I realize that it probably wasn't broken until I started stirring it around to check it! Hot summer day = room temperature about 79 degrees. Apparently ganache is unstable between 74 and 85 degrees (curiously, 85 is the temperature Shotts wants us to stir in the butter as I recall) and will separate upon stirring. I performed Shotts' "fix" of the ganache, which involved adding boiling corn syrup to the broken ganache and the resulting truffles were very soft and thin. Greweling, on the other hand, says that you only add a liquid to a broken ganache when warming and agitating the ganache doesn't work and that adding too much liquid will make them soft. Aha! That explains it. In any case, I'm concluding at this point that Shotts' book just skips too many details and that if you are serious about chocolates, you should probably get Greweling instead. I know I will!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for tips and recipes, November 26, 2008
This review is from: Making Artisan Chocolates (Paperback)
I have dabbled in chocolate making before, focusing my efforts predominantly on rolled truffles. I got this book because I wanted to learn more advanced techniques, especially related to making molded rather than rolled truffles, and because I wanted more interesting recipes. I'd been getting a lot of my previous recipes from the internet, but they seemed more basic and straightforward and I was looking for more fusion and unusual recipes. I was pleased when I received this book because it delivered in both areas.
On the technique side, there is a very thorough body of content here. What's great about it is that it really dives into everything from melting points of different types and brands of chocolate to tools and equipment to basic construction techniques. As a home cook I appreciate that he was able to give such detailed information without coming across as pretentious. He makes it very user friendly to chocolate makers of all levels. One complaint could be that some of the items these recipes require are more specialty items, but they are not always necessary and can be easily purchased online. One of the ingredients I find often called for is Cocoa Butter, which I couldn't find in local stores but found easily online. I have found that after some google searching it is easy to find professional chocolate making tools that can easily be purchased by a home cook.
The recipes he provides are also fantastic. They range from more classical recipes like a salted caramel-filled truffle that was absolutely fantastic, to more creative combinations like peanut butter and jelly and lemongrass-coconut. With such a wide range of flavor combinations you are sure to find recipes that speak to different flavor palettes. I have tried 6 of the recipes so far (including both rolled and molded chocolates) and all have been exceptional. The Rocky Rhode Island Candy Bar, which as it sounds is not a truffle, was easy to make and earned rave reviews from all who tried it.

The instructions are also very thorough and clear. He assumes nothing about your abilities making them easy and straightforward to follow regardless of your level of experience. He also does a good job of indicating the difficulty level of each recipe so you can pick one that is appropriate to your skill set. Beginners will appreciate that there are quite a few recipes labeled 'easy.'

I also enjoyed the charts on what flavor combinations work well together and his suggestions of how to experiment with different flavor combinations. (He talks about how he puts a piece of chocolate in his mouth along with other items such as fruits or spices to see if the combo might work.) As someone who loves to not just follow recipes but experiment on my own this section made me very excited to try things on my own and branch beyond the recipes.
Overall, I am thrilled with this cookbook and cannot wait to try more recipes. I am already planning to give chocolate themed gift baskets for the holidays and you can bet that a few truffles from this book will be featured.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Missing some basics to launch home experiments, October 26, 2010
By 
This review is from: Making Artisan Chocolates (Paperback)
If all you want to do is follow recipes and make the goodies in this book, then this is a good start. But while the author talks about inventing your own flavor combinations, he doesn't give you some basic recipes to alter to give it a try. There are differences in the ganaches you use to make rolled truffles, hand-dipped truffles, and filled centers. He touches on them to some extent, explaining that the cream to chocolate ratios differ. But he doesn't give a simple formula to start from nor does he give you basic dark or milk chocolate recipes for the variants in the ganaches.

A plus to this book was the instructions for tempering chocolate with a microwave.

A big minus was that he recommended freezing ganache slabs for hand-dipped chocolates and then cutting them. Cutting frozen chocolate causes it to shatter, ruining all the effort you expended to that point. Disappointing.

Overall, it's a good intro and gave me things to think about, but there were more answers it could have provided and didn't.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars decent book, September 28, 2007
By 
Cindy (South Carolina) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Making Artisan Chocolates (Paperback)
This was a decent book on chocolate making. I would of preferred pictures of the real finished product instead of the flavors such as a honeycomb and a thyme leaf on a plate or a coconut. There are quite a few pictures of many of the finished products. Overall, worth the money.
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23 of 30 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lots of fluff and no substance, April 22, 2007
By 
This review is from: Making Artisan Chocolates (Paperback)
This book is not what I expected. He skims over things, but doesn't really delve into information. If you really want a good book on the subject, I recommend Chocolates and Confections: Formula, Theory, and Technique for the Artisan Confectioner, or fine chocolates, great experience by Jean Pierre Wybauw.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book!, July 30, 2007
By 
Todd M. Thalimer (Elizabeth, CO United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Making Artisan Chocolates (Paperback)
I am a budding chocolatier, and I was looking for something more my speed than a simple candy book. This book is perfect for me! It's got some very advanced recipes that have helped open up my repetoire. The techniques are very good as well, with lengthy pictures and descriptions on some of the finer parts of candy making like using molds, and tempering chocolate. This book has really opened up my mind and given me lots of ideas for other things I'd like to try.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great guide book, June 7, 2007
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This review is from: Making Artisan Chocolates (Paperback)
The explanations are very understable and easy to follow. For example, I had always struggled with the correct way of tempering chocolates. This book has explained it so thoroughly. So also other methods and even recipes. I recommend this book to any aspiring chocolatier to have it with them.
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Making Artisan Chocolates
Making Artisan Chocolates by Andrew Garrison Shotts (Paperback - January 1, 2007)
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