Feb 26, 2014

Chocolate Molds 101

Creating chocolates for your Purim mishloach manos is easy if you keep a few simple things in mind.

1. Water and chocolate do not get along. Chocolate is an oil based food. Moisture from water or steam can cause it to have a dull finish, and may cause it to clump so it will not pour and mold properly. Likewise, adding liquid food color to chocolate will cause it to “seize” and never melt again. Special, oil-based candy color must be used to color white coating chocolate. The best method for adding food color to chocolate is by removing a small portion after the chocolate has been melted and stirring in the color until the desired shade is reached. Then add that portion back into the rest of the chocolate. This will ensure your chocolate colors evenly.

2. Too much heat will ruin your chocolate. Chocolate melts between 88 and 100 degrees F. This is very easy to remember because it just so happens that your body temperature is normally 98.6 degrees, which means if you hold chocolate in your hands, it will melt. Chocolate doesn’t like being boiled any more than you do. So avoid overheating chocolate.

Using baking or “coating” chocolate will help avoid the problems associated with overheated chocolate. This coating or “baking chocolate” is not real chocolate and is not so temperamental if heated to higher temperatures. There are lots of different qualities in coating chocolate. Choose one that melts well and tastes good.

3. If you treat chocolate right it will last and last and last. That means you can store it for long periods of time and reuse it, melt it and re-melt many times over. Any chocolate left from a project can be wrapped in paper or plastic and stored in your pantry or anywhere far from the stove.

4. How much chocolate do you need? An average mold or lollipop uses less than 1 ounce. A bite sized mold uses 1/2 ounce. Therefore, since 16 ounces equals 1 pound, which we’re sure you remember from school, you will get about 16 lollipops or 32 bite size chocolates from a pound of chocolate. It is a good guide to start with 1 pound. Remember, whatever is left over can be left to harden and remelted for another use.

5. There are 2 methods of melting chocolate and neither one of them is melting it in the oven in a foil pan! 

A. Melting in a microwave

Put 1 pound of chopped chocolate in a bowl. Microwave on half or medium power for 1 minute, then stir. It will not be all melted at this point. Do it again. Repeat the process until most of the chocolate is melted and just a few chunks remain. Continue stirring the chocolate until it is all melted. Remember don't overcook your chocolate.

B. Melting in a double boiler

Put 1 pound of chopped chocolate in the top of a double boiler or a heatproof bowl and set it on top of another pan that has the water in it. Heat the water on low--do not bring it to a boil, and stir as it starts to melt. This will take around 15 minutes, so you need to be patient.

6. Filling Molds. You can spoon melted chocolate into the mold cavities, pour it from heat-proof measuring cup or gently squeeze the chocolate out using a squeeze bottle (this is definitely the easiest). Then hold both sides of the mold and tap it lightly on the table top. This will level out the chocolate and remove any air bubbles. If you are making lollipops, now insert the lollipop sticks into the mold, and with your finger roll the stick in its mold position. This will coat the stick all the way around with chocolate so the lollipop will not fall off when being eaten.

To make molds using different colors, melt Kandy Melts and use a small paintbrush to carefully fill in just the areas of the mold where you would like that color to appear. Tap the mold as directed and allow the color to harden before adding any additional colors. Do each color separately using a clean brush. Or you can use white chocolate you have colored as directed above and paint each color as directed.

7. Put the filled mold into the freezer on a flat surface. Small candies or bite size items will be ready to remove in about 5 minutes; larger pieces in about 10. Leaving it in the freezer longer than necessary is no problem at all. A freezer sets the chocolate quickly, makes it easier to remove the chocolate from the mold and gives a shiny surface finish.

When you take the mold out of the freezer turn it upside down and gently tap it on the table. The candy should drop right out.

8. Clean molds in soapy water, rinse thoroughly and dry. Molds are NOT dishwasher safe! Remove excess chocolate from containers and squeeze bottles while still melted, then place the containers in freezer until the chocolate is hard. The chocolate will come away cleanly when the container is flexed or bent.

9. Store extra chocolate in a cool dry place, not in the refrigerator. Remember you can reuse chocolate many times.

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