Last Christmas was the first that we were married and, therefore, giving gifts as a couple. As finances were rather tight and I had plenty of time at home, we opted for home-baked goods for the majority of our gift-giving. My absolute favorites to make quickly became the no-bake options, especially the simple melt, mix, re-shape, and cool recipes. The ones that were melt, mix, pour, cool, and cut were even better, since they required much less time in the shaping step.
I would have liked to have ventured into the realm of dipped things (i.e., chocolate-covered stuff), but I have yet to figure out a good way to dip something into melted chocolate and get it out without leaving blatant marks. Of course, I guess I could just hide the “dip marks” with icing or some other kind of decoration, but I’m confident there has to be a simpler solution. My guess is that it’s all about having the right equipment.
When it comes to making candy, I definitely do not have the right equipment. As a matter of fact, I don’t have any specialized equipment at all. For the most part, we pretty much just use what we have in our kitchen, so when making candy, all kinds of kitchen utensils end up covered with melted chocolate. Despite numerous attempts and innumerable messes, I have yet to find a kitchen utensil that does a good job dipping things, though, so I’ve pretty much given up on that part of the fun.
In doing some online investigation of something entirely not food-related, I came across the website for Three M Tool, a York, Pennsylvania manufacturer of custom wire baskets. These baskets are not the kind normally found in the possession of individuals; they are the kinds of baskets used in all different aspects of manufacturing, from custom racks for the commercial food service industry and standard perforated metal baskets for the aerospace industry. The manufacturer works with individual customers to design custom products, from many options, to perfectly suit the needs of the client. Although there is no minimum order requirement, The cost of such a basket would, of necessity, be a bit higher than most baskets found in people’s homes.
Despite the consideration of finances, I did think through the possibility, in some detail, of having a custom mesh basket made specifically for dipping things in chocolate. Since the basket can be made in any number of materials and finishes, it would definitely be possible to get one that could be sterilized and easy to clean. I could have the basket made to perfectly fit into the chocolate-melting pot, with no wasted area in the pot. After a little bit of research, the engineers could probably even help me determine the ideal hole size, to have the excess chocolate drip through without losing the items being dipped. On top of all that, I would even have a choice in the basket’s handle style, though I’m not sure which would be the most comfortable and user-friendly.
At this point in my candy-making career, no expense is really worth it, since the candy we make at our house brings in absolutely no income. So unless I decide, some day, to go into the candy-making business, I probably won’t be buying a candy-dipping custom-made basket, but it sure would be nice, come Christmas and the treat-making rush!