Monday, March 31, 2008

A New Trade...

I haven’t been able to blog much this week as my husband has been home sick all spring break…yep, the WHOLE time.

But, I now need to catch-up.

So, my new trade: Chocolatier. And, as per my blog description, I am certainly no master! I will explain. My child that has autism is on a diet free from gluten and casein (milk protein) due to both autism and allergies. He can eat chocolate but not “milk chocolate.” Sometimes even dark or semi-sweet chocolate contains milk. Almost ALL holiday chocolate (Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Easter, etc) contain milk, even if they are dark/semi sweet, even white.

This year, due to his age he is starting to feel left out. Additionally, it is hard to give the other children only foods he can eat (so he doesn’t feel left out) because they feel like they are being cheated. So, of course, I attempted to solve the problem by making his chocolate bunnies, eggs, etc. Actually, it wasn’t too bad. I have yet to get the knock of tempering chocolate, however.

Trader Joes has a great (and tasty) semi-sweet chocolate chip that is dairy-free. I used these, not realizing that when you melt chocolate chips to make molded candy, it is very soft & will melt in your hands. Just hold a chocolate chip in your hand for about 30 seconds (fortunately, he will eat one of the chocolate pieces in 30 seconds or less!). I had a hard time finding candy-making chocolate (dark or otherwise) without milk. So, we just keep it in the refrigerator.

I was limited in molds. I got them a long time ago with the intention of making the kids colored soap to play with in the tub out of grated and melted ivory soap and food coloring…ah, the intentions of the Martha-Stewart-types. I never got around to making the soap and they are quite passé to the kids now anyway. I had a mold that was all little frogs, one that had a bunch of animals (not one bunny!), and one that had crayons and a ruler. I started with these to see how they would work. So, much of the chocolate were frogs. There was a lion, a horse, a monkey, and a couple of elephants.

Eventually, I went to the store and all I could find with a bunny was a mold for chocolate lollipops with a bunny, a chick, a baby duck, and an Easter egg. They turned out pretty good (even my husband was impressed at how I made & wrapped them) and the lollipops were a hit, even with the other kids. In fact, they were gone days ago.

I guess it just goes to show you…anything is good as long as it is made out of chocolate!

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