Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tip #113: Measure Mould Temperature

Looking to master moulding? We have a tip this week from the RCI Mechanics of Chocolate Moulding course held last September.

Moulds should be slightly cooler than the temperature of the chocolate you are putting into the mould. If your mould is too cold it will shock the chocolate and if it is too warm it will break the temper of the chocolate. Therefore, you should measure the temperature of your moulds before pouring chocolate into your moulds.

How do I measure the temperature of my moulds, you might ask? By using a thermometer, of course! Infrared thermometers measure the surface temperature of plastics and therefore are great for measuring your plastic moulds. A good rule of thumb is to aim for around 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

A variety of infrared thermometers are available for purchase online. The following companies are listed under Machinery & Equipment (subcategory: Utensils) in the RCI Buyer’s Guide and may also have the thermometer that you need for your candy kitchen:
Chef Rubber
ChocoVision Corp.
Hilliard’s Chocolate System
International Foods & Ingredients, Inc.
Linnea’s Cake & Candy Supplies, Inc.
Savage Bros. Co.
Union Confectionery Machinery

RCI members can access the RCI Buyer’s Guide online by signing in to the member side of the RCI website.

P.S. We’re hosting our Chocolate Boot Camp education course this week. Check out the RCI Facebook page to view photos!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tip #112: Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is defined as the capacity to be aware of, control and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. As a business owner and/or manager, your level of emotional intelligence (EI) can mean the difference between having happy, productive employees who respect your leadership and having employees who feel uncomfortable with your management style.

The good news is that EI is something that can be developed; therefore, this week’s tip is to improve your EI quotient. To help you get started, here are 10 strategies to improve your emotional intelligence:

  1. Learn to Listen
  2. Adapt to Situations
  3. Never Give Up
  4. Communicate
  5. Empathize
  6. Setting Priorities
  7. Go the Extra Mile
  8. Forgive
  9. Show Courage in Difference
  10. Be Optimistic, Smile
Pick one strategy at a time from the list above to work on and before you know it, you’ll have enhanced relationships in both your professional and personal life.

This week’s tip was inspired by an education session presented by Geri Grossman at our 2013 Fall Regional. Save the date for the 2014 RCI Fall Regional Conference this August 25 - 27 in Las Vegas!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Tip #111: Store Mint in a Different Room or Container

In honor of Chocolate Mint Day next week (February 19), this week’s tip reminds you to have all mint-flavored treats stored separately from other confections.

While mint is refreshingly cool and goes great with chocolate, it is also an overwhelming flavor that can seep into the flavor of your other candies and chocolates. Therefore, it is recommended to store your mint flavoring as well as products containing mint separate from other goods. Some candy makers make a lot of mint chocolates and find that a completely separate “mint room” is necessary but if that is not the case for you, storing them in sealed containers will at least seal in the flavor.

Do you have other ways for storing your mint flavored products? Please share them in the comments below!

We hope you have a Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Tip #110: Rice Krispy Treat Conversation Hearts

Conversation hearts have been around for more than 100 years and are still an extremely popular candy around Valentine’s Day. This week’s tip is to make a larger version of this seasonal favorite using Rice Krispy treats.

You can easily do this by taking a sheet of Rice Krispy treats and using a heart-shaped cookie cutter and then dipping the hearts in colored confectionery coating. After the coating has set for a bit, write custom sayings on the hearts using another different color of coating.

Another quick idea – allow shoppers to customize their treat with a personalized saying! Now you have a quick and easy Valentine’s product and your customers will love the chance to get their valentine a custom treat.