Beans: Ecuador RFA Trinitario Sweetener: Cane sugar, caramelized with lime juice to create an inverse syrup
Problem: The caramel is sticky and has no crystalline structure. It doesn't grind into the cacao butter, sticks to itself, and sticks strongly to the wheels and drum of the melanger, making a solid mess on the wheels and base. The lack of structure from creating the invert syrup prevents it from being ground into the cacao butter matrix like sugar usually is.
I will try caramelizing more pure sugar crystals and not acidifying them and seeing if the caramel crystalizes. Failing this, I may also partially caramelize sugar without allowing it to liquify and make an attempt at using this.
I made a hard caramel with the wet method, but I used the lime juice to turn it into an inverse sugar. I'm pretty sure the hard caramel on its own would still gum up the works the way it happened with me, sadly. I do intend to toast the sugar though and see if that works.
What were you trying to accomplish with the left handed sugar? Just curious
I've had no issue with toasted sugar; again, the flavor impact is minimal/subtle, just a slight reduction in sweetness. I have not tried hard caramel with chocolate yet, but I had no issues when making praline pastes using dry caramel. Blitz the hard caramel in the blender first to break it up into small pieces / powder.
Invert sugar is comprised of two types of sugar - glucose and fructose. Fructose is incredibly hygrosscopic - meaning it has a high tendancy to pick up water - and hold onto it. Sugar becomes very sticky when it gets wet.
This is why an inverted sugar isn't going to work well for chocolate. You're not doing anything wrong, other than trying to use a sugar source that's high in fructose.
Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands - and then eat just one of the pieces.