we're just...a minor threat

while at the Valrhona factory, we saw how they make their praline paste.  a very interesting site indeed (no photos allowed within the working factory!).  they have a giant copper kettle that the caramel is made in, nuts are added and the mixture is turned until cool.  it is poured out and there is one dude that breaks it up with a giant mallet, drops it into a bucket, and places the small broken pieces into the grinders.  similar to the conching machines for the cocoa beans, the praline is ground and crushed until a fine paste is formed. 
the awesome thing about that process as well as with the chocolate paste is that they control the measurement of the grinding so that it is just small enough so that your palate cannot detect any grains.  they actually have a measurement and setting for that. 
not much different than a fluid gel i guess.  grind it up enough to where it feels smooth on your tongue.
i was initially wanting to make ground up caramelized walnuts, but i walked away from the praline for a minute too long and so a paste was forming.  seeing an opportunity to compete with the big guys at Valrhona (ha ha) i kept it going about 10 minutes until a smooth paste was formed. 
the toasted walnut with bitter fruit flavor was great.  very earthy. still wanting a powder form and not liquid, i added tapioca maltodextrin.

now i had a soft powder with that amazing sweet toasted walnut flavor.
it's actually way better than just the ground caramelized walnuts i was starting with.


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