Beautiful, basic molded chocolates are surprisingly easy to create at home! We’ll show you how!
Choose the Right Chocolate
There are two kinds of chocolate you can use for molding:
Couverture is high-quality chocolate. Dark chocolate couverture contains cocoa liquor, sugar, cocoa butter, and vanilla. This kind of chocolate tastes the best by far, but it is expensive and harder to work with because it requires tempering.
Confectionery coating, is not true chocolate, although it may contain cocoa liquor. Confectionery coating contains vegetable fat rather than cocoa butter, which makes it much more stable, but it does not have the same rich, complex flavor as high-quality chocolate. Confectionery coating is great to use when you’re making candies with kids. It also comes in a rainbow of colors and flavors besides chocolate.
Most candy molds are made of plastic and are fairly inexpensive, so you can stock up on a variety of shapes and sizes for different occasions. More things you might need:
- Chocolate lollipops: remember to buy lollipop sticks.
- Multicolored chocolates: get small paintbrushes and fat-soluble food coloring, available at craft stores and specialty kitchen supply stores.
- Small palette knife or offset metal spatula for smoothing and scraping off excess chocolate once you pour it into the mold.
- To make intricate multicolored candies, buy different colors of confectionery coating and some small food-safe paintbrushes. Paint one color at a time onto the surface of the mold and allow it to harden before moving on to the next color. Once each color has hardened, fill the mold with whatever color of chocolate you like.
- For advanced chocolatiers: you can buy pure cocoa butter online or at specialty food stores. Gently melt cocoa butter as you would chocolate. Tint it with fat-soluble colors, and paint the mold. Colored cocoa butter can also be added to melted white chocolate and tempered. Cocoa butter is very expensive, so use it sparingly.
Filling the Molds
- Fill each mold slowly with a squeeze bottle, spoon, or by pouring chocolate from a measuring cup.
- Using your palette knife or spatula, scrape off any excess chocolate into a clean bowl; it can be gently warmed and reused.
- When the back of the mold is smooth and even, gently tap the tray of chocolates on the countertop to pop any air bubbles.
- If you’re making lollipops, insert the sticks, twisting gently so that they’re completely coated with chocolate.
- To make the chocolate harden quickly, put it in the freezer for a few minutes.
- Once the chocolate is firm enough come out of the mold, invert the entire mold onto a clean towel and twist very gently to release the chocolates.
How to Melt Chocolate
- When melting chocolate or confectionery coating, there are a couple major league don’ts. Don’t let water or other liquid come in contact with it, or it will seize; And don’t allow it to get too hot. Excess heat will both cause the chocolate to separate, rendering it unusable.
- You can check the temperature of the chocolate by dabbing a small amount of it on your lip or the inside of your wrist. It should feel warm, not hot.
- Coating chocolate and some brands of couverture come in small discs for easy melting. If you’re using a large block of chocolate, chop it into small pieces so that it melts evenly. The easiest way to do this is on a cutting board, using a serrated knife.
To melt chocolate or confectionery coating:
In the microwave: This is a very easy way to melt chocolate: place it in a microwave-safe bowl and zap it on high power at 10-second intervals, stirring each time, just until it’s completely melted.
In a slow cooker: A slow cooker, set on low heat, is perfect for melting chocolate and keeping it at just the right temperature while you work. All you need to do is stir it occasionally and keep an eye on it to make sure it’s not getting too hot. If it does get too hot, turn off the slow cooker, remove the insert, and stir in a couple of pieces of unmelted chocolate to cool it down quickly.
In a double boiler: This method allows you the most temperature control, and is best for higher-quality chocolate. Set up your double boiler with a small amount of water–the water should not be touching the top pan–and warm it over medium-low heat. Melt chocolate, stirring occasionally, just until the mixture is smooth, then remove the pan from the heat.
Once the chocolate is melted and smooth, you can spoon it into clean, dry plastic squeeze bottles. Set the bottles in a pan of warm water to stay at just the right temperature while you work. Be sure to dry the bottles before using the chocolate.