The Pastry School Diaries: Confessions of a Chocoholic

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Editorial Assistant Lauren Katz is enrolled in the part-time Pastry & Baking Arts program at New York City’s Institute of Culinary Education. Follow her each week as she shares her sweet experiences! 

After the past few lessons about making chocolate confections, I will never look at a chocolate bar, truffle or bonbon the same way.

The art of making chocolate is one that requires patience, expertise and creativity. Once melted over a double boiler (to prevent burning), you need to constantly watch over chocolate like it is your most prized possession���it can't get too thick, too thin, too hot or too cold. Just a few degrees off and your chocolate becomes dull or does not set.

We started off easy with mendiants, which are rounds of melted chocolate that are piped onto a baking sheet and topped with a variety of dried fruits, nuts, spices and other flavorings.

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We then moved on to rolling truffles. We made a wide assortment, from maple-bourbon, to green tea, to caramel to strawberry.

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Finally, we learned how to make and fill bonbons, which was the most time consuming and temperamental process out of them all. The results were gorgeous, though.

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I've enjoyed learning about chocolates because of all the different flavor possibilities: you can add so many different sweet, savory, spicy and tangy ingredients to your product—chocolate really is like an blank canvas.

I want to know: What's your dream chocolate combination?

Check back next week for more sweet tales!