Creating chocolate masterpieces used to be the speciality of artisan bakeries and stores. Now, with advances in cooking, anyone can create chocolate masterpieces within the realms of their own homes. Spruce up that next holiday meal or add a little extra charm to that humdrum cake by creating your own chocolates with the help of plastic chocolate moulds. Make your friends and family think you took hours to make individualised chocolates by following these simple steps when creating your next chocolatey masterpiece.
Purchase speciality candy-making chocolate. Most grocery stores and/or craft stores carry this particular type of chocolate. It is important that you use candy-making chocolate when moulding; otherwise, the chocolate will not set properly within the chocolate moulds.
Prepare your desired batch by following the instructions on the chocolate candy bag. Work with small chocolate batches because candy-making chocolate hardens quickly.
Fill bottom pan of a double-boiler pan with hot tap water. Don't fill the bottom pan more than halfway; the water must not touch the pan above it. Remember that you will also be warming the water, and although it won't be boiling, it is important to remember that water moves when warmed.
Insert top pan with selected amount of candy-making chocolate into place above the bottom pan.
Use medium heat to warm the candy chocolate. Stir often to avoid hardening and overcooking of the chocolate.
Add and stir in room-temperature nuts, raisins or other desired items once chocolate has melted.
Check your chocolate moulds for debris and wetness. If moulds are dirty or wet, chocolate will not form properly. Remove all debris and wetness from moulds before using.
Store moulds at room temperature at all times.
Place chocolate into a polypropylene bag, or use a small ladle or spoon to scoop warm chocolate from pan. If you are using a polypropylene bag, trim the bottom of the bag after it has been properly filled with chocolate. You can purchase speciality chocolate bags at crafts stores.
Pipe or scoop chocolate into the moulds. Fill the chocolate up to the top line of the mould. If some chocolate overflows, use a spatula to level off and scrape any extra chocolate from the surface.
Tap the moulds on the countertop to remove any excess air bubbles from the chocolate. Air bubbles can cause cracking during the hardening process.
Place chocolate moulds in the refrigerator on a level shelf. Check moulds every few minutes while in the refrigerator to make sure overcooling does not happen. Small condensation drops on the surface of your chocolate or cracks in your chocolate indicate that the chocolate has sat in the refrigerator too long.
Remove the chocolate moulds from the refrigerator once hardened. The overall hardening process should take about 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the moulds--10 minutes for moulds that are quite small, 20 for moulds that are considerably bigger in size.
Turn moulds upside down on a dry surface. Tap gently on the moulds. If completely hardened, the chocolate should easily come out.
Place the chocolate back into refrigerator if it does not fall easily out of the moulds. Pull moulds out of refrigerator and repeat steps 7 and 8 until all chocolate has come out of the moulds.
Towel off any extra moisture that may have developed on chocolate with a paper towel. Place on plate and serve.
For a more professional look, use specialised chocolate handler's gloves to avoid fingerprints on your chocolate. You may also drizzle additional chocolate over the moulds to give it a contrast in colour.
Caution is needed when working with liquid chocolate. If not handled properly, severe burns may result.