Demystifying Chocolate Molds
Melting Minutes Chocolate Academy - Lesson 9
There is no reason to be intimidated by chocolate molds. They require a few extra steps than truffles, but the results are worth it! Not only do they look more professional, you’ll love the endless selection out there. I’ve seen molds for airplanes, revolvers, peanutbutter cups, sheep, angels…you name it, it’s probably out there. In this example, I’ll demonstrate the process using a heart polycarbonate mold and caramel pecan filling.
The Melting Minutes Chocolate Academy series is a great place to start if you’re new to tempering chocolate. Your reward will be delicious homemade chocolate candy made by YOU!
The process is the same whether you’re using plastic, silicone, or polycarbonate molds. Although plastic molds are unavoidable due to their wide selection and low cost, I prefer using polycarbonate molds because of their durablity and because they produce chocolate with a noticiable shine. I also like that one polycarbonate mold produces more chocolates than is typical with the other types of molds. I wouldn’t go as far as saying this balances out their higher cost, but expect to need two to four plastic molds to produce the same amount of candies as a polycarbonate mold.
For this demonstration, I have tempered dark chocolate and prepared my Caramel Filling recipe and added chopped pecans. I made the caramel in advance and have cooled it to room temperature. I don’t recommend using filling that is too hot or cold because it will affect your chocolate in negative ways.
Using a large spoon, fill the cavities of your mold completely with chocolate. It’s more important to work fast than to worry about making a mess all over your mold.
Begin tapping your mold on the counter to settle the chocolate into the cavities. Let it sit for a few seconds and then turn your mold upside down over your bowl. With a wooden spoon, tap the side of the mold 1) to remove the excess chocolate and 2) to encourage any bubbles in your chocolate to pop.
The bubbles can be persistent so I also tap the mold (with moderate force) on the counter. Check the mold for any bare spots and fill with chocolate as needed.
Once you have hollow cavities, hold your mold face down for a few seconds to ensure the sides will be thick enough. Tap the mold again with your wooden spoon to keep working at removing the excess chocolate and bubbles.
At this point, your mold is a mess. You need to remove the chocolate using a bench scraper on the surface of the mold so that later you will have a smooth surface for the final coat.
You now have hollow cavities. Stick the mold in the refridgerator and set a timer for 5 minutes. This will be enough time for the chocolate to harden, but not too long to cool the mold down too much. When the timer goes off, place the mold on the counter and let it sit as you work prepare the filling and get your chocolate back up to a good working temperature.
Meanwhile, start filling your molds with whatever goodness you decide. It’s easiest if the filling is placed in a piping bag. I don’t use a tip, I just cut a small hole at the end of the bag. For my caramel pecan candies, I first sprinkled a small amount of pecans and then topped that with caramel.
Be careful to not get filling on the upper ridge of the mold or else the chocolate backing will not adhere to the sides. You want to work neatly and carefully.
Leave 3/16th of an inch between the filling and the top of the mold to allow enough room for the chocolate backing.
For the final layer, top your mold with tempered chocolate and spread it around carefully with a spoon or rubber spatula.
Tap the mold on the counter a few times to settle the chocolate. Then use an offset spatula to carefully and gently push off the excess chocolate back into your bowl. Be extra careful not to take any filling with it.
There’s a hard balance between over scraping the mold and having the filling seep through versus under scraping the mold and having too thick of a layer of chocolate. This is problematic when you remove the chocolate from the mold. It’s best just to keep an eye on things. If your filling is really soft, like caramel, you may have to live with a bit more chocolate on the backing.
Stick the molds in the refridgerator for 20 or so minutes to set the chocolate backing. As chocolate hardens it contracts, so you will know you’re almost ready to pop the chocolate out of the mold when you start seeing foggy or lighter areas on the underside of the mold as shown below.
To remove the chocolate, place a layer of parchment paper down and tap the mold (with the exposed chocolate side down) on the counter with moderate force. I find it effective to angle the mold and tap on one of the edges. It never fails, when I tap it completely flat I squish a candy that popped out without me realizing it.
Each time you tap, a few pieces of candy will fall. If some refuse to come out, try refrigerating the mold for a few minutes.
Be sure not to touch the chocolate any more than necessary because you will leave fingerprints. You may have to clean up areas where extra backing staying attached to the candy. They come right off.
After making your own molded chocolate, you will appreciate all the hard work our beloved chocolatiers go through to produce such beautiful candy. You will also be dying to box them up to present them to someone you love.
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