Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Chocolate Balloon Bowl Adventure

First let me tell you: there are about a zillion videos on youtube on how to make chocolate balloon bowls. If you want to try it, you should definitely watch those! And then you should come back here, and I will tell you all the difficulties that you are going to encounter, that those videos sorta gloss over.

I decided to make these after a heavenly experience with chocolate balloon bowls at the Portland Pottery Cafe. I suspected it would be harder than it looks, but at first I thought I was pleasantly mistaken:
I knew it couldn't be that easy

Waffle cookies for the base: check.
Ghiradelli chocolate, because it's more chocolate and less...not-chocolate, I guess? Check. Melt, dip, place on cookies...all so easy, all so neat! Who knew?, how do you get the damn balloon out of the bowl? I mean, deflate it, obviously, I did that; but the balloons just tore and the part inside the bowls stayed inside the bowl. No amount of persuasion would get them out of the chocolate bowl, and the bowls are fragile, so they fell apart with my efforts. Fell apart with the balloon shreds still stuck to them! Also where it did come loose it left a gross balloon residue, even though I washed them.
I asked the chef at the PP Cafe, and she said, I dunno, I just popped mine & the came right out.

I got another bag of chocolate for Take 2. This time I washed the balloons thoroughly with soap and water, rinsed them, and before dipping each one in the chocolate, sprayed them with cooking spray. I tried to make a thicker layer of chocolate on each one...that was a mistake. I also, when I ran low on chocolate, added some white chocolate baking chips so I could keep trying; also a mistake!
Both the thicker bowls and the added white chocolate caused the balloons to pop and  splatter chocolate  all over the kitchen, which was not entirely unexpected - I was sort of surprised when that didn't happen the first time through. It was sort of hilarious and experiential, the first few times. After about the fourth one it was less amusing.

I did get four useable bowls, which is fine because I only have one mother.
The four good bowls

All the videos just gloss right over getting the balloons out of the bowls, where as in real life it is possibly an absolute fucking deal-breaking disaster! Use the spendy balloons that are meant to be water balloons, wash & dry them, and spray them with cooking spray.

Use the good chocolate, and only the good chocolate! I think the cheaper chocolate has to get hotter to melt, maybe? Which pops the balloons. You don't want the gooey chocolate-covered balloon to pop in your kitchen, or anywhere else. Melt half the bag of chocolate melting discs, then add the other half to them, to get the temperature you need. If you use the microwave (which, don't) be very attentive! A few seconds, check, mix, a few more seconds...or get this:
A burned mess on one side, and not even melted on the other!
Anyway! This might look like a disaster, but it was actually a fun learning experience. I kind of want to try it again - call me crazy - but I can't afford more chocolate! If I remember I'll take photos of the assembled desserts so you can see what all this effort was for.

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