Dissecting a Caramel Heart
Melting Minutes Chocolate Academy - Lesson 11
Think back to biology class…do you remember slicing open worms and pinning their skin to a board so you can try to identify their tiny little organs? Well grab your scalpel! We’re going to dissect a heart!
I should probably mention that it’s not a real heart. I’m talking about a caramel filled chocolate heart that seems to have a few issues.
The goal is to diagnose what went wrong with our poor caramel heart so you can avoid making the same mistake. This lesson will further your understanding on how to get consistent thickness of your chocolate shell when using chocolate molds. You’ll still need your scalpel though.
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!
For this demonstration, I used my heart polycarbonate mold and Simple Caramel Filling Recipe. This recipe is normally the perfect consistency for molded candies. I’m a fan of caramel that closely resembles gooey sauce as opposed to the kind that sticks to your teeth. This recipe gets me enough gooeyness to use in my chocolates.
However, this time I used more heavy cream than I should have. The result was caramel sauce that was very runny. I would say the consistency was similar to real maple syrup…not Log Cabin or Mrs Butterworth’s…the REAL stuff. You get the idea…it was more liquidy than gooey.
Don your goggles, and let’s make the first incision…
Here we can see that the shell seems a bit thick on the upper side of the heart, but it is especially thick on the bottom. The top of the heart and the rest of the sides seem fine. They have a shell thick enough to support the candy structure, but not too thick to over power the filling.
What happened to the upper side of the heart?
Perhaps a reason the upper side of the heart was on the thick side might have been because the mold wasn’t tapped upside down enough to remove excess chocolate. A good habit is to inspect your molded cavities to be sure the chocolate is consistent on all sides and that you don’t have any pooling going on.
Another reason that irregular thickness might occur is because the tempered chocolate is over crystallized or is sitting at too low of a temperature. If your chocolate seems too thick to flow around and cover the mold, try raising the temperature. Be sure not to exceed 93°F (34°C). Otherwise you’ll have to retemper your chocolate.
What happened to the bottom side of the heart?
Let’s check out the real problem with this heart. The previous pictures don’t adequately show just how thick the bottom of the heart ended up being. So let’s use our scalpel and slice it open another way. (Aren’t you glad we’re not still talking about worms?)
Notice how the bottom is about half the thickness of the whole candy? The reason for this is because the filling was too runny to support the weight of the chocolate backing. When the chocolate was added, it sunk into the caramel and caused the backing to be thick and dense.
Overly thick chocolate could also be to blame since it would tend to be heavier and not scrape off the mold as easily. Raising the temperature would solve that problem. Just remember to not throw the chocolate out of temper.
The end product of this candy was disappointing. Instead of biting into a chocolate shell that snapped and was followed by the oozing of caramel, the experience was more like biting into a solid chocolate candy bar. There was barely any gooey-oozing caramel and the taste of the filling was mostly absent.
The lesson here is to keep the consistency of your fillings in check when using chocolate molds. In time you’ll learn the limits on how thin you can go when it comes to filling. Also remember to tap the excess chocolate out of your molds when making the shells. Any pooling will prevent you from achieving the perfect chocolate shell. And finally, increase the working temperature of your tempered chocolate if you notice it getting too thick.
Do you have any tricks to achieving the perfect chocolate shell? Share it with us in the comment section below.
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