Muffin Around Town

Muffin Takes on Third Bowl 

Nothing beats a gorgeous day on the slopes. Except maybe exploring the quaint unique shops in the nearby ski town. After a long day on the mountain, we took a stroll through the small town of Crested Butte to discover the best places to get a treat. A colorful ice cream and donut shop hidden on the top floor of a small building caught our eye. When climbing to the top of the ordinary steps, you wouldn’t expect to see colorful walls, tables covered in sprinkles, and the warm smell of fresh donuts in the fryer.  

Today we are going all the way to Crested Butte, Colorado to see and learn how Kendall Tankersley and Matt Smith make the biggest donuts and the creamiest ice-cream in town. 

These insanely delicious donuts are made fresh every morning and the ice-cream is completely homemade. All of their ingredients are locally sourced and environmentally friendly! Kendall took us behind the scenes to see exactly how each donut is crafted and each scoop is churned.

Lets start with the donuts: once the secret dough is made, Kendal proofs it so it can be rolled out, cut, and fried. 

What is proofing? 

Proofing is one of the stages of rising dough. The dough is in a warm area so that the yeast can produce carbon dioxide as they make energy. This causes the dough to rise and turn into light and fluffy donuts. 

Then, the risen dough is rolled out with a huge rolling pin so that the donuts come out even. She pops the big bubbles in the dough so that there isn’t too much air. The dough is then rolled about a half inch. Once that’s done, the donuts are cut by huge donut cutters with a swift twisting motion and set on a tray.   

The cut donuts are then set to do some last minute rising before hitting the fryer.

After the donuts cool down, they are dipped in chocolate or vanilla a glaze, or coated in cinnamon sugar and sprinkled with colorful SPRINKLES!!!! I wish I could send the smell of these fresh made donuts through the screen, there is nothing like it.

The most unique thing about having a donut shop in the mountains, is the obstacle of rising dough in high altitude. Kendall told us that every morning the dough takes a different amount of time to rise depending on the humidity that day. It could take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, depending on the weather. 

The oil that Third bowl uses to fry their donuts is very unique and important. They’ve tried all sorts of fats and oils, but the one that they came to use and love is palm oil. Don’t worry, their palm oil is orangutan friendly unlike most palm oil products. Other oils had made the donuts greasy because, unlike palm oil, they are not solid at room temperature. The donuts are fried in batches of nine at about 350-60 Fahrenheit and flipped half way through cooking. They are cooked for 1-2 minutes until they are golden brown and cooked through.

If you think these donuts are pretty great, you should check out their creamy and flavorful home-made ice cream.

Since they make their own ice cream bases, Third Bowl pasteurizes all of their ice creams in a pasteurizer. The ice cream is heated up to a certain temperature to kill all of the bacteria in the base. All of the data is recorded to insure the safety of all of the ice cream loving costumers.

Third Bowl makes their own ice-cream base from start to finish. Then they add lots of different flavorings and fun ingredients to make the best ice cream flavors! They have about seven flavors that never change like milk chocolate, vanilla bean, salted caramel, and mint chocolate chip, but they come up with dozens of new flavors everyday including many dairy-free options. 

Next, the base is churned in an ice cream maker. The sides of the machine are at freezing temperature, and when the base hits the side, the scrapers scrape the newly frozen ice cream into the mix until all of the ice cream is frozen. So cool!

This colorful and yummy wonderland had me eating a third bowl of the light ice cream and warm donuts. But the best part was savoring those flavors while looking up at the beautiful mountains surrounding the small town. Next time you are in Crested Butte CO, go check this place out, trust me it won’t disappoint. Or whenever you are in a new place, go muffin around the town. You never know what delicious experiences you might find!

Muffin Takes On JoMart Chocolates

I have been wanting to share something with you guys for a long time, but wanted it to be perfect before I posted. Back in November, I had the privilege to go behind the scenes of JoMart Chocolates in  Brooklyn NY, and learn all about the wonders of chocolate.

I shop at JoMart often for my basic candy melts and baking tools, so it was really cool to go behind the scenes of a store I usually shop at. The second I walked into the workshop, I felt the amazing energy of the room. There were chocolate temper machines running, fun chocolate molds, a table ready to work, and awe-inspiring pieces of equipment. It was like reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory all over again.

First, Michael and his partner Rose showed us a little bit about how chocolate came to be. You might be surprised to hear that chocolate actually starts from a bean. These beans are called cacao beans and grow on a narrow band near the equator called the Cocoa Belt or Chocolate Belt. We tasted lots of bitter beans from different countries, and learned how the beans turn into the melty goodness we know as chocolate.

Michael Rogak, the owner of the store, is the son of the founder Martin Rogak, and comes from a long line of chocolate makers. All of their chocolate comes from a place of love and passion for making people smile when they take a bite into a melty truffle.

The cacao beans are dried and roasted, then crushed into bitter cacao nibs. These nibs are then crushed and ground into a thick paste called chocolate liquor. The chocolate liquor can be separated into two parts by a hydraulic press; cocoa butter (the fat) and cocoa solids. To make chocolate, ingredients like milk, vanilla, some of the separated cocoa butter, and sugar are added to the cocoa solids. White chocolate is made with only the cocoa butter, leaving out the cocoa solids.

It was time to get our hands dirty. To give our chocolate a nice glossy look, and help it melt properly, Michael showed us how to temper our chocolate by hand. Tempering is a process of stirring the chocolate, letting it cool, and heating it back up slowly. The process is repeated several times. Michael demonstrated how tempering enhances chocolate by dipping one pretzel in non-tempered chocolate and another in tempered chocolate. The non-tempered chocolate pretzel never fully dried and the chocolate looked dull and stale. The tempered chocolate pretzel dried in minutes and looked shiny, fresh, and so appetizing,  I wanted to eat chocolate covered pretzels for the rest of my life. We sunk our hands into the rich melty chocolate and began to fold it until it cooled to the right temperature. Then we got to dipping! We dipped bananas and pretzels in the warm chocolate and topped them off with sprinkles and chocolate drizzles.

While we were dipping, Michael showed us how to make Jomart’s signature yet simple chocolate truffles and chocolate ganache. He melted chocolate into a bowl of cream, let it cool, and then rolled the cooled mixture into balls and cocoa powder.

Next, we learned how to fill chocolate molds and make beautiful designs on the shells of filled chocolates. We painted the bottoms of the molds with white chocolate and put our creativity to the test with stunning patterns.

When the molds were done cooling, Michael showed us how to make a shell of chocolate that we can fill with EVEN MORE CHOCOLATE. We filled the molds all the way to the top and scraped off the excess. After a few seconds, we turned the mold upside-down letting most of the chocolate spill out, creating a chocolate shell.

We then let the first shell cool and filled it with a chocolate ganache. I got a turn at the machine and filled the last layer of chocolate to top it all off. After all of the filling, tapping to get air bubbles out, and cooling, the chocolates came out of the molds and we couldn’t believe what we had just created.

It was so much fun being able to go up to the machine and get hands on. Most demonstrations and behind the scenes events use a look don’t touch kind of mentality but, by really touching, smelling, and even hearing the chocolate, I was able to get the most out of this amazing experience. I learned so much about the chocolate history, business, and science through this journey. Michael was right, chocolate really does relate to everything in the world. It was such a pleasure to meet people so passionate about their job and enjoy every minute of what they do every day. Thank you so much JoMart Chocolates for showing me the power of chocolate!

For your own chocolate experience at Jomart Chocolates vistit