So you want
to make chocolates, hm?
Well alright then.
Let's get started!
You're going to need a few
things first. I'm cheating and using a chocolate tempering machine.
You may temper it the traditional (non-cheating) way. How to temper
chocolate? Well. I'm not going to try to explain it here, mostly you
should look it up. Someday maybe I'll do a tutorial on that - but
don't hold your breath. I hate doing it, and that's why I paid $400
for this lovely piece of machinery. You can cheat, too, and
use candy melts. But they taste like chocolate candy, not
chocolate, and everyone will know you cheated.
If you can, work on a cool day
with less than 50% humidity. This is not a summertime project,
unless you've got kickass air conditioning.
You'll need some chocolate.
Duh. I'm using milk chocolate for this project, mostly because I
hate it and I know I won't be tempted to eat any. You should chop it
into pieces, but leave a couple for the seeding. More on that
You'll also need a mold to make
your chocolates. You can really use anything smooth (bowls, cups,
your barbie doll) to mold chocolate from, but for our purposes
today, we're using a standard candy mold. I've got this really
really nice one that I paid twenty dollars for, but you can get some
really inexpensive ones from a craft store. But they're wobbly. This
is my favorite shape for chocolates.
You're also going to need a
wire rack, a knife to cut the chocolate to bits, and something to
put under the rack to catch the melted chocolate. Waste no
chocolate; it can be retempered and used again when we're done with
OK! The chocolate goes in! The
machine is started. The first stage of tempering is the melting.
We're going to bring the chocolate up to 115 degrees F and hold it
there for 5 minutes. Or you can bring it up to 120, and by the time
it cools to 115, it will have been about 5 minutes. The purpose of
this is to melt out all of the crystals that are in the chocolate.
Yeah. We're dealing with molecular science, here. Chocolate is a
complicated beast. We want to get rid of all of the crystals, and
bring in only the Beta crystals. Trust me. Other crystals will screw
up all this lovely chocolate and we'd have to remelt it and start
Oh yeah. You're gonna need a
spatula, a scrapey thing, and a towel. Chocolate is messy business,
and unless you're the only one who's gonna eat this, you should
avoid licking the stuff off your fingers. No one wants to eat your
spit. That's just gross. Remember when Willy Wonka threw a fit
because Augustus Gloop fell into the chocolate river? Yeah. It's
The chocolate has been tempered
- my machine tells me when to throw the seed chocolate in and when
to pull it out. The purpose of seeding is so that you breed the
right kind of crystal by introducing the proper ones into the mix.
Kinda like building a new housing development and moving young
suburban couples with 2.5 kids and a dog into it, so that the
insidious criminal element doesn't get the wrong idea about what
kind of neighborhood it is. Beta crystals only. All the rest of you
just keep moving.
So anyway. Now that the
chocolate is ready, it gets poured into the mold. Fill each cavity
all the way up.
Use the scraper to smooth the
surface, and to push the chocolate into any cavity that didn't get
filled on the first pour. But make sure they're all full. THEN comes
the fun part! Bang that sucker on the counter top to dislodge any
bubbles. You may have to bang kinda hard. Bubbles in the shell make
the whole thing look really crappy and amateur.
Then, once you've knocked all
the air bubbles out, turn that puppy over onto your rack. Tap it a
little, to make the chocolate come out. The idea is to leave a thin
shell of chocolate clinging to the mold, not a huge thick skin.
mmmmm... Lookit all that
chocolate. Now. Leave it alone until the chocolate sets up a bit -
you'll know it's ready when you lift it up and the rack kinda comes
with it. You want the chocolate no longer liquid, but still a little
pliable. Perfectly tempered chocolate is hard and snappy when dried
- and if you've tempered this right and left it to dry completely,
you'll be prying that rack off with a spatula later and destroy your
work. No one wants that.
Once it's dried up a bit, and
still retains its shape but is pliable, turn the mold over and
scrape the top of your mold clean. It will leave nice edges on your
mold there, all the chocolate in the cups and none on the top. it
should look like the bottom right, not the top left.
Done! Feel free to pull out any
little bits that fall into the cups. It should be set up enough now
that you won't hurt it. Put these somewhere and let them set
completely. Don't be impatient, you've come this far.
You can see I didn't temper
quite enough for the whole tray. This is a test only, I didn't want
to use up a whole lot of chocolate.
Now for the filling!! Yay! You
can put darn near anything in a chocolate. I'm using caramel sauce.
For your first try, use something a little more solid, like 2 parts
melted chocolate to one part cream. you can add a little liquer to
that, or a couple drops of mint flavor. Anything works. Just make
sure that your filling is cooler than body temperature, or you run
the risk of melting the chocolate when you put it in and throw the
chocolate out of temper. That's bad.
Leave a comfortable gap there.
It's tempting, but don't overfill these, or the bottoms will be a
pain in the butt to put on. Now wait until the filling sets up a
bit. It should be firm to the touch - unless you're cool (foolhardy)
like me and use a near-liquid filling. This is a sauce, so it's just
not gonna get any harder than this. So I tempered the chocolate for
the bottoms right away. You could even leave yours out overnight, if
you wanted to.
Now. Since I'm cool (stupid), I
have to carefully pipe my bottoms on. You should be able to just
pour it on. Same deal as the shells - pour it on, smooth it out, tap
the bubbles out. Then wait for it to set up a bit and scrape off the
excess. I'm using this ziploc bag as a piping bag, because sandwich
baggies are way cheaper than pastry bags. And I don't feel like
making a parchment bag. Lazy *and* cheap!
I piped my bottoms on, waited
for them to set up a bit, then scraped them down carefully with an
offset spatula. If you used a harder filling, you'll be able to go
all willy-nilly with the scraper. On the left, my piped in bottoms,
on the right, after some offset spatula love. It's important to make
the bottoms even, so your chocolates sit up straight. Crooked
chocolates look dumb and unprofessional. But people are always
willing to eat your mistakes. Try that in any other hobby - I dare
When they're all set up, stick
the tray in the fridge for five minutes. This will make the
chocolate contract a smidge and make it easier to pop them out of
the tray. A perfect temper is important, because if it isn't
tempered, it's not coming out of that tray. Turn the tray over and
give it a sharp tap. The chocolates shoudl just come right out. if
they don't, try the freezer for a few minutes, but not too long or
you'll ruin the candy. And only tap once, collect the chocolates
that fall out, and then try again, or you'll end up smashing
perfectly good candies in your zealous efforts. Did I learn this the
hard way? Yep. Learn from my mistakes. And don't unmold chocolates
when you're frustrated.
My finished chocolates! Aren't
they beautiful?? Handle them with gloves on, or the heat of your
skin will melt the surface and smudge them up.
Yay! Now you know how to make
some chocolates! They're delicious every step of the way, and people
will be SO IMPRESSED when you gift them with these. It's awesome.