Warning: Chocolate goes everywhere! Srsly, you will find chocolate in the weirdest places in six months from now!
When I took my first candy making class, it was at a place called Betty Lloyd's candy and candy molds were only $0.75. I would hazard a guess that I went to my one and only candy class in the mid-1980's. Back then, they suggested 'painting' your molds, which works well if you are using colored chocolate to decorate a solid mold, but not so good when making bonbons.
I used to use packaged fillings, but then I realized they didn't have the kick I wanted in my chocolates. When I made my first filling it to emulate the wonderful lemon filling from Ethel M's Chocolates. Thus my Limoncello filling was born.
After that, I began experimenting, resulting flavors are listed in the under For the Cure post.
But this blog is about the actual process of molding chocolate, so let's get started:
--I'll apologize for the quality of these pictures in advance. Believe it or not, I had all my lights on and the sun was shining through the windows.
Prepare your work spaces--Last year, I discovered FREEZER PAPER. Love this stuff. paper on one side and glossy slickness on the other side. I used to use just waxed paper, but this stuff is gold! I use huge pieces of it, and tape it to my counters. When I'm finished I just wad it up and throw it away. I do use waxed paper when I make my chocolate shells and when the chocolates are finished.
|Space for molding and filling chocolate|
|Finished chocolates - trim and put in paper cups|
Make level areas in the freezer
The freezer is important because you will need to freeze your chocolates to pop them out of the molds. After you make the shell, you freeze the mold. After you fill the mold, you freeze them. And after you put the bottoms on, you freeze them. You are opening and closing your freezer a lot!
Fill wells with melted chocolate. Tap molds on the counter to dislodge any air bubbles.
Dump and shake excess chocolate from mold
Using scraper, remove excess chocolate from top of mold
Place mold in freezer
After a few minutes, pull mold out. Touch center of well to verify solidness
Squirt filling into well, leaving enough space for the chocolate bottom
Place in freezer to stiffen filling
I didn't take a picture, but all my fillings are in quart-sized freezer bags. I warm them up enough to make them liquidy and easy to manipulate, but not too warm or you will melt through the chocolate shell. I trim one bottom corner and squirt out the filling.
Seal the bottom of the candy with chocolate.
The chocolate needs to be on the warmer side when you top it. If it has cooled too much, it will be difficult to get a nice bottom. Every mold is different and it takes practice to use the right amount of chocolate for this part. Once filled, tap mold against counter to settle chocolate bottom and to dislodge air bubbles.
Just the right amount. Add bottoms to all molds, and place in freezer.
Ready to pop out. Simply flip the mold over onto waxed paper.
If they don't drop out immediately, return to freezer for a few minutes. If you still have problems, I help it by warming the outside of the wells with my fingers. This is usually enough to pop them out. Sometimes it happens because your shell is too thin and your filling has contaminated the well, making it difficult for the chocolate to pop out.
Unmolded chocolates. Still need to trim and place in paper cup.
Organize candies to keep your counts correct and see if you have ones that are exploded or cracked.
The work area after a couple of rounds. It gets messier . . . trust me.
Running out of space. Time to trim, cup and place in Ziploc storage container. I write on my freezer paper to remind me what kinds are what. I usually have to do this at the beginning of the season.
I use a sharp paring knife to trim the excess around the bottom edges of the candy. Then place them in a candy paper cup.
My kitchen--in candy making process
And there you have it. Easy, right?
All you have to do is keep repeating this process until your mind grows numb, your back aches, and you have chocolate everywhere--floors, counter, cabinets, under cabinets, backsplash and yes, even on the dog . . . don't ask.
I can usually make 4-5 molds with 56-60 pieces per mold for about 250 pieces / day.
This year, I made 20 flavors of molded chocolates. Do the math. I have a love/hate relationship with making chocolates. I love inventing new flavors and the sense of accomplishment of having made the chocolates, but the actual process is back-breaking, headache-inducing frustration.
Huh, kinda like writing a novel.