Mother’s Day is my favorite holiday and I assume I am not the only one. No words, no cards, no gifts, and no celebration can express the “thanks” we should show to Moms all over the world. You could buy the most expensive, delectable chocolate truffles packed in attractive packaging or you could present to her some not so perfectly round, uneven sizes of colorful balls that clearly shows the home-made characteristics, and you can be sure that most, if not all, Moms will select the later ones. When accepting the chocolates she will secretly wipe off a teardrop from the corner of her eyes and she will tell you that: “the spices in this kitchen always make my eyes teary”
Today, however, we will create a “perfect” hand-made chocolate with the help of molds. I am going to show you how easy it is to make these beautiful chocolates for your Mom that she will not believe they were not store-bought. The other benefit of this post is, that you can save it and use it as a reference for future use for birthdays, anniversaries and other happy occasions.
You can also look back to the post dated April 19 and review the recipes for hand-made chocolate truffles; those are also very easy to make, they look inviting and their taste is all up to you; why? Because the ingredients that you can use to create them are practically limitless.
I’d like to reiterate that you can always send me a note for recipes, or questions about recipes I published and any other questions you may have. We are not a site like, for instance Northfork.patch.com: where you can see this message:……..”my chef doesn’t like giving out his recipes to the public.”)
First thing you need is: Equipment
- I used a chocolate tempering machine, but it is not necessary, you can temper the chocolate manually. (See the brief note at the end of the post). A more detailed tempering procedure will follow this post. However, if you are interested to learn more about this equipment, I can send you more details; just drop me a note. It is completely controlled by a computerized system; so you do not need to guess if the chocolate is in temper.
If you prefer to temper the chocolate manually, you will need a good chocolate thermometer (if you will be working with chocolates more often, it is worth to buy a laser thermometer (not cheap) with infrared laser sighting; it measures surface temperature up to 4 feet away, highly accurate (takes out the guess-work), great in determining if the chocolate is in the right temperature, meaning “tempered”). Alternatively, you could also a digital thermometer with a probe.
- A couple of larger bowls (not plastic)
- Disposable pastry bags (I like the disposable pastry bags for chocolate, because working with chocolate can be messy; these can be discarded after a single use and no need to wash them)
- Chocolate molds, of course – if you only going to use the molds only once, you can buy the inexpensive plastic ones, that you can throw away, once completed making the chocolates; (keep in mind, however, that the chocolates will not be the same as compared to using professional-quality molds); if you think that you may want to practice and do it more often, it is worth to spend the extra money for polycarbonate molds. These molds made to withstand multiple uses over a long period. You will need to take care of them, however, like never scratch the cavities of the mold (the area that comes in contact with the chocolate). Chocolate will pickup any imperfection in the mold; therefore, if you damage the cavities, the mold becomes useless. They should be cleaned in warm soapy water and rubbed with a very soft sponge, nothing abrasive. Let air dry the molds, and then buff the inside gently with soft cotton balls.
- So, as I said before, we are going to work with magnetic molds: it is a 2-piece chocolate mold (bottom & sides) held tight by magnets. To use them, you need to pull the two pieces apart and line the bottom with a transfer sheet. This is the side that becomes the outer shell of the chocolate.
- Transfer sheets – a transfer sheet contains edible designs, made with cocoa butter; it is designed to transfer its’ content on to the surface (or outer sell) of the chocolate. You can buy it online from chef suppliers (see the note at the end of this post)
- A ladle to pour the chocolate onto the molds
- Parchment Paper or Silpat
- Chocolate spatulas
- Sheet pans
- A digital scale
- Flexible bowl scrapers
- Heat resistant spoons (not made from wood)
- A whisk
- Immersion blender (optional)
- Hand-held mixer (optional)
1. After you assembled all the equipment, the first thing you need to do is prepare a baking sheet with a cooling rack in it.
2. Next, you need to create the outer shell of the chocolate. Today we will use the standard method.
3. Cut the proper size of transfer sheet for the mold, then place the cut transfer sheet on the smooth side of the mold (the “bottom” of the mold) then put together the two pieces of the mold (It will be easy because the magnets will pull the pieces together). Make sure to hear a “clicking” sound before you pour the chocolate into the mold otherwise it may not be closed correctly and you may have a chocolate disaster on your hand.
NOTE: You do not necessarily need to use the magnetic mold; in that case skip the above the step and use regular, single unit molds.
4. I have tempered my chocolate in the machine, ready to be used. Take a ladle, dip it into the chocolate and pour it into the prepared mold. You have to fill the mold to the rim to assure that the chocolate coats the entire surface of the mold cavities. You should tap the filled mold a couple of times on the table to take out any air bubble that may have collected while filing. It will also help you to see if the cavities are filled correctly.
5. Then with a swift motion turn the mold around above the prepared baking sheet and let the excess chocolate drip off. Also, lightly tap the side of the mold with your spatula to aid the dripping process.
6. Lay the mold on the cooling rack that is placed on a baking to complete the removal of excess chocolate.
5. After about 10 minutes, pickup the mold and check the sides of the mold cavities to see if the chocolate has begun to set (it should look ticker and drier) if it is, then
6. Use the chocolate spatula to scrape the top of the mold clean and return the mold back on the cooling rack over the baking sheet. Allow the chocolate to set completely before filling it with the ganache.
NOTE: I do not want to make this post too large, so I did not include a ganache recipe. You can certainly use the ones provided in the April 19 Post. However, if you wish to test a new recipe, please send me a note, I will send you 1-2 ganache recipes for the filling.
7. Fill the pastry bag half-full with the ganache, cut the tip of the pastry bag off and start to fill the mold’s cavities with the ganache nearly to the top of the cavity; you need to leave a bit of space for the closure. You may need to tap the mold again on the table to let the ganache settle, (no space between the wall or outer shell of the chocolate and the ganache because that can spell trouble (like allow microorganism to enter to fill the space).
8. You need to let the ganache settle a few hours before closing (overnight rest is preferable.)
9. The last step before un-molding the chocolates is closing the cavities. Pour the tempered chocolate over the filled cavities. Use the chocolate spatula to cover the entire surface. Tap the mold again, then take your spatula and scrape off the excess chocolate. This site actually will be the bottom of molded chocolate so appearance may not be that important, but please make sure that all the cavities are covered. Try to make this chocolate layer as thin as possible. Let it set again. This time put it into the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes or until the chocolate has released from the side of the mold.
10. Let the chocolate warm up to room temperature. Invert the mold over a parchment paper or a silpat; tap it lightly to drop out the molded candies.
NOTE: You can buy some of the equipment mentioned here at the following places:
1. J B Prince
36 E 31th Street
New York, NY 10016
6103 15th Avenue,
Brooklyn, NY 11219
I used: Valrhona 72% and 66% dark chocolate and 39% milk chocolate. You can purchase them at Trader Joe’s
I also like ScharffenBerger’s Dark and Strong milk chocolate; available at Bristol’s Market