Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Tip # 217: Get the Crunch Without the Cracks

Randy Hofberger of R&D Candy Consultants, LLC, is an active member of RCI and the lead instructor for RCI’s Chocolate Boot Camp®. This week’s post is an excerpt from his article “Crunch Without the Cracks,” which offers eight tips to reduce cracking in chocolate-covered pretzels, cookies and crackers.

Texture is so very important in our foods and is a large part of the eating experience. Many of our most popular confections have a crunchy texture and using baked goods such as cookies, crackers and pretzels is one way to provide this. When coated with chocolate, however, there is a chance the finished product will crack, making it less appealing to consumers.

What cause these fissures to develop? While it may seem that there are little micro earthquakes occurring on your pretzels or gremlins attacking the chocolate-covered cookies, one of the main culprits can be moisture entering these dry baked goods and causing them to expand. To prevent moisture from coming in contact with the finished product, one of the most obvious solutions is to use packaging with a good moisture barrier. While this will solve many of the cracking problems, there are other factors that can cause cracking. Also, this will not help any of your products that are open to the atmosphere in your display cabinets.

Other suggestions to reduce cracking in chocolate covered pretzels, cookies and crackers include the following:

  1. Have a uniform coating. Unequal coverage will cause different contraction rates and, thus, cracking.
  2. Thicker coating is a stronger coating and a better moisture barrier. Coverage should be complete without pin holes, air bubbles or thin spots.
  3. Using a chocolate formulated to be softer will be less prone to cracking.
  4. Enrobed baked goods will generally have less of a heat load and will require a gentler (less) cooling.  Good cooling tunnel conditions will have little or no air movement at the tunnel entrance and a temperature of approximately 65ºF.  Air velocity may be gradually increased to about 700 CFM until the chocolate is set – at which time velocity may be increased to 1200 CFM. Coldest tunnel temperatures exceed the low 50sºF. Total tunnel time should be a minimum of eight minutes, but 12 minutes is better.
    If your operation requires you to maintain consistent tunnel settings because of various product mixes, increasing the tunnel belt speed will give less total cooling and more line production. 
  5. Enrober/tunnel/feeding area relative humidity should not exceed 55%.
  6. Pieces to be enrobed should be room temperature or warmer (up to 78ºF).
  7. Pretzel and cookie packages can be opened the evening prior to enrobing. This will help them equilibrate to the atmospheric conditions.
  8. Rough-surfaced centers reduce cracking and the loss of the chocolate shell, e.g., salted pretzels are better than unsalted pretzels.

 Stay connected with RCI through Facebook for more tips and inspiration dedicated to the retail candy maker. Not a member? Click here to learn how RCI can help you build your sweet business.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Tip # 216: Submit a Nomination for the Candy Hall of Fame

Induction into the National Confectionery Sales Association’s Candy Hall of Fame is one of the highest honors in the confectionery industry, recognizing individuals who have served, over and above their personal careers, by giving back to the industry through active participation in trade associations, educational efforts and community involvement.

We’re proud to see RCI members honored by the Candy Hall of Fame, including those from the class of 2016.

Pictured above (clockwise from top right): James Day of Esther Price Candies with wife, Elaine, Vivian Farber of The Madelaine Chocolate Co. with husband Jorge, Bernard Garbusjuk of Boehm's Candies accepting award with family, Bernard with wife Hee Jeong Park and Thalia Hoenthal of Guittard Chocolate Co. with husband Michael. All inductees were recognized at a luncheon as well as a formal banquet.

RCI members inducted into The Candy Hall of Fame, class of 2016:
  • James Day, Esther Price Candies Corp.
  • Vivian Farber, The Madelaine Chocolate  Co.
  • Bernard Garbusjuk, Boehm’s Candies, Inc.
  • Thalia Hohenthal, Guittard Chocolate Co.
  • Patrick Murnane, Murnane Companies


Nominations for induction into the Candy Hall of Fame are welcomed from any source, but should include proof that the criteria below have been met. In addition, the Candy Hall of Fame Selection Committee accepts letters of support from individuals familiar with the nominee’s qualifications.

  • Twenty years of service in the candy industry (buyers must have at least 10 years of experience)
  • Nominees must have a demonstrated loyalty to building and supporting the candy industry through active participation over and above job requirements.
  • If nominee is retired or deceased, nomination must be within two years of either event.
  • Unless deceased, the nominee must attend the Candy Hall of Fame Induction event.
  • The nominee must agree to meet NCSA deadlines for materials and information.
  • The nominee must be at least 50 years of age.
  • The nominee must be a current NCSA member.
  • Nomination does not guarantee induction.

Nominate someone you know who is deserved of this honor and fits the criteria. Click here to download the 2017 call for nominations form. The deadline to submit nominations is Friday, January 27, 2017.


NCSA CHoF Selection Committee
Spitfire House
3135 Berea Road
Cleveland, OH  44111

Nominations can also be emailed to info@candyhalloffame.org.

Stay connected with RCI through Facebook for more tips and inspiration dedicated to the retail candy maker. Not a member? Click here to learn how RCI can help you build your sweet business.