Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Modeling Chocolate

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I have a love-hate relationship with fondant. I love the vibrant colors, I love the shapes you can form and I love that it smooths over a cake so beautifully. But the eating part? Not so much my favorite. If you aren't sure what fondant is, just think back to the last wedding reception you went to...remember the cake? Chances are it was covered with something overly sweet and smooth that most people peeled off. Yeah, that's fondant.

Enter Modeling Chocolate. This stuff is a great alternative to fondant and is pretty easy to make, too. It can be colored just as vibrantly and sculpted and smoothed into whatever shape you want. (I haven't tried covering an entire cake with this yet, so I'm not sure how that works...) Plus, it tastes just like chocolate because it's made from chocolate!

Just to be clear...

Molding Chocolate: pure chocolate or chocolate made with vegetable solids and/or cocoa butter, like Wilton Candy Melts; this stuff is great for pouring into candy molds (get it? molding chocolate?)
Modeling Chocolate: this is chocolate mixed with syrup (in our case, corn syrup) to make it pliable

Modeling Chocolate   [click to print]
14 oz. Chocolate or Candy Melts
1/3 c. Light Corn Syrup

Melt chocolate in 15-30 second bursts in the microwave. Stir very well between each nuke, white chocolate melts very easily and also burns very easily. If you notice any graininess, it's probably already burned and you'll be better off just starting fresh.

Once the chocolate is melted and smooth, warm the corn syrup in the microwave for 45-60 seconds and add to melted chocolate. Immediately stir mixture but do not overmix! According to Chef Talk, "You will notice that as you stir, the chocolate will seize into a thick gooey mass and will clean the sides of the bowl. Look closely to make sure you don't have any streaks of unincorporated chocolate...this unincorporated chocolate will become lumpy grain later and you don't want that. The mass will seem a little oily, that's OK. But the more you stir, the oilier it gets and you don't want oil dripping off it either. It's a delicate balance."

When your done mixing, pour modeling chocolate onto large piece of plastic wrap. Flatten chocolate to about 1/4 in. thick and cover completely with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for a few hours until chocolate sets; it will be hard at this point.

To use modeling chocolate, remove from refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature. Break off a small piece and begin kneading it in your hands. It will be crumbly and rough and seem unkneadable at first but keep going! It will get softer and smoother as you continue to work with it. If it seems lumpy, the chocolate probably wasn't melted completely before adding the syrup; just try to pick out those lumps and knead until smooth. If it's your first time making this stuff, I suggest you use pre-colored candy melts, but if you prefer custom colors, add a little powdered food coloring until you read the desired color. If the chocolate gets too soft while you're working with it, set aside to return to room temperature or stick in the fridge for a few minutes.

Source: Adapted from Wilton and ChefTalk

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