Decorative chocolates make excellent gifts for friends and family. But there's no need to buy them from a shop. You can make them in your own home by pouring chocolate into moulds of different shapes and designs. Often, novice chocolatiers fail to prepare the chocolate properly. This results in dull or streaked sweets. Tempering is a process in which the chocolate crystals are evenly distributed throughout the substance, which results in shiny and smooth confections. Follow these steps to produce attractive shiny chocolate moulds.
Put the pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil.
Ensure the stainless steel bowl is completely dry and add the chocolate pieces to it. Chocolate chips or coins are recommended as they melt evenly. If using a chocolate bar, cut it into pieces no larger than 1.3 cm (1/2 inch) square.
Place the stainless steel bowl over the pot of boiling water and stir with the spatula until the chocolate is smooth. You can leave the water simmering gently or turn off the heat completely. Do not let moisture form on the stainless steel bowl.
Place a thermometer into the melted chocolate and allow it to reach between 43.3 to 48.9 degrees Celsius (110 to 120 F). Refer to your chocolate's manufacturer for specific melting and tempering temperatures. If no information is available, heat the chocolate to 43.3 degrees C (110 F).
Remove the stainless steel bowl from the pot of water and dry the bottom with a towel. Allow the chocolate to cool slightly.
Spread 1/3 of the melted chocolate on the nonporous surface with the spatula and gather the chocolate together into a pile using a pastry scraper. Many chocolatiers use a marble or granite slab.
Continue to spread and bring together the melted chocolate until it thickens and cools to 28 to 29 degrees C (82 to 85 degrees F).
Add some of the melted chocolate in the stainless steel bowl to the cooled chocolate and stir gently with the spatula.
Collect the chocolate on the marble slab and add back to the stainless steel bowl. Stir it gently, careful not to create bubbles. Steps 6 to 9 are crucial to distribute the chocolate crystals evenly, ensuring a shiny, finished result.
Measure the temperature of the chocolate. If it is 32 to 33 degrees C (90 to 92 degrees F), the chocolate is tempered and ready to pour into the moulds. If not, repeat steps 6 to 9 until it reaches the desired temperature.
Pour the tempered chocolate into clean dry moulds and let them cool. The chocolate will harden into smooth, firm and shiny moulds.
Different types of chocolate may have varied temperatures for melting and tempering. Check with the brand for recommendations. Store the chocolate in an airtight container in a dry cool spot.
It is important to keep the chocolate as dry as possible. Even a drop of water can cause the chocolate to curdle. Use protective gloves or mitts when handling the stainless steel bowl as it will be very warm. Take care when handling the melted chocolate as it will be molten hot. Be sure to clean up chocolate spills and splatters as soon as possible to avoid staining your kitchen surfaces.