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Molded and Filled Chocolates: Troubleshooting and Techniques


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5 hours ago, MoonChild said:

...

That's kinda interesting.  I can raise the temp in my chocolate room, but trying to get the humidity low might be difficult here in Hawaii.  I'm curious though........I've always been under the assumption that a colder room is better for working with chocolate.  Could you please elaborate on how a cold room can negatively affect my results?  Thank you! 


I prefer colder, about 65F/18C

 

if you can’t control humidity, stay on the cooler side, 22C/72F with 65% humidity is approaching nightmare territory 

 

 

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@MoonChild....colder is not automatically better...there is a point of diminishing returns which happens for me at about below 20 °C

Your mold is colder and your chocolate cools down much quicker and gets harder to work with ...cold mold, cold cocoa butter layer and cooler chocolate means you have less time in the perfect temperature zone...your first couple of molds may come out fine but then as everything cools down you start to have problems.

And any humidity above 50 % really screws with my results (not sure the scientific reason though).

I have a dehumidifier in my chocolate room running 24/7 and pull 2-3 liters of water out of it every day...then again I live in the tropics.

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14 hours ago, pastrygirl said:


I prefer colder, about 65F/18C

 

if you can’t control humidity, stay on the cooler side, 22C/72F with 65% humidity is approaching nightmare territory 

 

 

 

53 minutes ago, Avachocolate said:

@MoonChild....colder is not automatically better...there is a point of diminishing returns which happens for me at about below 20 °C

Your mold is colder and your chocolate cools down much quicker and gets harder to work with ...cold mold, cold cocoa butter layer and cooler chocolate means you have less time in the perfect temperature zone...your first couple of molds may come out fine but then as everything cools down you start to have problems.

And any humidity above 50 % really screws with my results (not sure the scientific reason though).

I have a dehumidifier in my chocolate room running 24/7 and pull 2-3 liters of water out of it every day...then again I live in the tropics.

 

Thank you both for your insight.  I kind of get the feeling that everyone's situation solutions are different.......even more after exploring other chocolate threads on these forums.  Supposedly, my work has two dehumidifiers for my chocolate room installed in my ceiling.  No matter what my work does, they can't get the humidity below 65%.  I think I can control my room temperature though......I'll have to look into it.  I'll probably test making bon bons in my room at both temps.  I feel like it's still a hit or miss for me and I can't get things to come out consistently way or the other.  One moment, I feel like I got it and things are looking good and then the next, my cocoa butter sticks.  I'm left asking myself...."Wait.....I did everything the same. Why did it work the last time, but not this time?"  Everyone here seems to have a lot of experience here.  Do you still have batches that are a complete fail or are you at a point now where everything cracks out clean every time?

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4 hours ago, MoonChild said:

I kind of get the feeling that everyone's situation solutions are different...


That's the number one thing I've learned about chocolate work. There are zero rules written in stone. Each and every thing that one person says you must do will be countered by someone who will say "yeah, not so much". The upside of that is, chocolate doesn't seem to be nearly as finicky and unforgiving as I once believed. It's really just about tweaking the basic guidelines until they work for you. One thing that makes sorting advice easier is to automatically write off any advice that begins with "you must always do it exactly like this". :D

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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  • 3 weeks later...

UPDATE:  Thanks to everyones' helpful advice and tips, I've been able to increase my success rate for most of my molded bon bons.  I still have a long way to go, but I'm grateful that I've been pointed in the right direction.  For the most part, I was shelling most of my bon bons at too low a temperature as assumed.....I just didn't realize I could go warmer for my chocolate out of fear that I would take it out of temper.  I really wish we could get an eztemper for my shop.  I'd really like to give it a try and see what a difference it'll make, but it'll take a bit of convincing before I can get my chef to purchase one. 

I hope my questions don't come off as annoying or irritating.....so far this forum has been a saving grace for me because not many places do chocolate work where I live so my resources for knowledge and experience are very limited. Unfortunately, , I am still running into some issues with a couple of bon bons and I've run out of ideas as to how I can fix my problem.  Once again, I hope I can get everyone's help with troubleshooting this. These are my knowns:

 

-Room Temp: 18 degrees Celsius (I found out that I cannot change this)

-Humidity: 57-60% at the lowest

-Thermometer was properly calibrated prior

-Cocoa butter is sprayed onto the molds at 27-30 degrees Celsius

-The first picture (gold and brown bon bon) was shelled with tempered Valrhona dark chocolate at 33.5-34 degrees Celsius

-The second picture (green and yellow bon bon) was shelled with tempered Valrhona Ivoire white chocolate at 31-31.5 degrees Celsius

-I filled the molds a couple of hours after the shells set.

-Ganache fillings were 30 degrees Celsius or lower before filling and left to crystalize overnight.   

 

My issue, as you can see in the picture, is that I still have a little cocoa butter sticking to the mold in spots and don't get a 100% clean release.  I feel like I've gone as warm as I can go with the respective chocolates before I lose temper, so I'm not sure what else I can do.  Has anyone else run into this issue or know what else I could try to fix this?  Any help is appreciated.  Thank you so much!

thumbnail_IMG_7237.thumb.jpg.2183dec526b8a7ab1c84592093ad63c9.jpgthumbnail_Resized_20191223_172025.thumb.jpg.89f5b09b64db9a18263671984874a9ea.jpg

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You are working with temperatures that are a bit too high. Since you are working manually you can't be sure that ALL the chocolate is at the temperature you are measuring. Most probably some parts in the bowl will be a bit hotter and some parts a bit colder. The hotter parts are melting the thin layer of cocoa butter on the molds, sending it out of temper.

Try lowering of 1 degree Celsius your working temperatures for chocolate.

 

 

 

Teo

 

Teo

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  • 2 months later...

I realize this is an older thread, but in preparation for actually working with chocolate today, I've been doing a lot of reading and read through this whole thread as well as some others.  Thank you to all here who asked and answered questions.  I had good success today on take 3 or 4 of doing molded chocolates thanks to what I learned here.

 

I have some dome polycarbonate Chocolate World molds.  This is what I did after gleaning from all the shared knowledge here.

 

When I got the used molds, I washed them in hot soapy water in my sink.  The next times I used them, I've just rinsed them using hot water, at the end of today's batch, I heated them up and rubbed off the excess chocolate with a soft towel.  I think heating and wiping off is the process I will follow as long as things don't get too messy.  After I polish them, I will store them face down in a box in an attempt to not get dust on them until I am ready to use them again. 

 

I polished my molds using vodka and some cotton make up removal pads.  In previous attempts I polished with a clean soft cotton cloth, but found that the next time I used them I got little spots on the chocolates.  I also understand some use 91% isopropyl, but went with the vodka option.

 

I tempered my chocolate using some silk trying to keep the chocolate as hot as possible while still staying in temper.  I don't have A/C, but it was a moderate day in the Bay Area, so the house about 68- 70.  I set my bowl of chocolate over a water bath kept at temperature with a sous vide and an acrylic top to keep the water and its vapor out of the chocolate.  

 

I did not warm my molds before filling.  I had 4 molds to fill.  I filled them each with a small metal ladle.  As experience and reading here has taught me, I tried to use as little chocolate as possible to completely fill so that I didn't have so much to wipe off.  I tapped my filled mold on the counter and also tapped on the sides of the mold with my taping knife to get the bubbles up through the chocolates to the surface.  I am not using the ideal chocolate for molding, but it's what I have and since I have quite a bit of it, I will use it up then get the proper couverture.  I also hand dip chocolates and the chocolate I have works well for that, not as well for molding.  


I filled one mold at a time.  Once I had tapped out the bubbles, I scraped across the top with my newly acquired stainless steel taping knife from Home Depot.  This knife worked better than the dough pastry scraper I had been using. I held the knife at between 45 and 80 degrees or so and tried to take off as much as possible in one pass.  I scraped off the sides carefully as the knife is pretty sharp and it wasn't as easy to scrape smoothly in that direction.  I did one more pass with the knife across the top to make sure it was clean.

 

I varied how long I let the chocolate sit in the molds.  The shortest was about a minute, just waiting and then dumping it back into my chocolate bowl.  Longest was to set it down, fill the next one then empty the first into the bowl.  The ones that sit longer had a tendency to have a harder time emptying and left a lip of sorts close to the edge.  Once I also turned one mold over and set the mold corners on the edges of a jelly roll pan to let it drain.  That left a lip too.  After the shells were emptied, I again scraped the top with my taping knife.  They scraped clean nicely.

 

Once the shells exhibited the matte finish that shows they are beginning to crystallize, I put each tray into my household fridge,  at 43F, 6C - I know it's a bit cold but it's what I've got!  I left them for about 15 - 30 minutes or until I could see that all or most of the shells had released.  This is the first time I put my shells into the fridge.  On this forum several of you said this is what you do.  In addition, the recommendation came from Michael at Michael's Chocolates in SF whom I met the the Chocolate Craft Experience and who was generous with his time and help.  

 

While the shells came back to room temp, I made my fillings, a raspberry pate de fruit of sorts and a Corazon ganache (blood orange, pomegranate and passion fruit.)

 

I filled my shells when the filling was about 85 - 88F.  My first layer in was raspberry, then the ganache.

 

I tempered my ganache using silk but couldn't remember how long people had waiting before capping.  I knew that you can cap sooner if the ganache is tempered, just couldn't remember how long.  I decided to wait about an hour.  The ganache had clearly begun to set so I decided it was good enough.  

 

To cap, I sparingly covered the ganache with tempered warm chocolate (I know I should have warmed the shells first with my hair dryer, but I forgot - next time!). I tapped on the molds  as before to help get rid of air bubbles,  then scraped off with the taping knife.  I tried to minimize the number of passes as the bottoms actually seem to get worse with more passes.  Usually no more than two passes.  If I had a hole in the bottom, I used my spatula to put a small dollop of chocolate on it.  


I read about using acetate sheets for nice shiny bottoms, but I didn't have any, though I do have some sheet protectors like @Jim D. used, decided against using them for now.  

 

Once the bottoms started to crystallize, just a couple minutes later, I popped them in the fridge for 15 minutes or so.  

 

I let them come up to temperature for 30 minutes or so, then demolded them onto a jelly roll pan.  Indeed, hearing them all fall out onto the pan was music to my ears as in the past lots of banging and even freezing was required to coax them out.  If you bang too hard on your molds, they will crack!    This time all four trays came out pretty cleanly.  I did need to do a gentle tap a couple times, but not more than I think is expected.

 

The chocolates are not perfect, I see some lines across the tops of a few of them and they're not as shiny as I wish they were, but my best so far.  I also have some that are leaking, but not surprising as I forgot to heat the shells before capping.  

 

Thanks again for all the questions and answers posted here.  I was reminded today about the quote I saw here "if it were easy, anyone could do it." It's not easy but it sure it fun and satisfying when it works.  

IMG_0833.jpeg

Edited by GRiker (log)
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9 hours ago, GRiker said:

I tempered my ganache using silk but couldn't remember how long people had waiting before capping.  I knew that you can cap sooner if the ganache is tempered, just couldn't remember how long.  I decided to wait about an hour.  The ganache had clearly begun to set so I decided it was good enough.

 

If you temper your ganache then it means it's already at working temperature (below 32°C), so it' better to use it immediately, otherwise it will get thicker and thicker with time.

 

 

 

Teo

 

Teo

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10 hours ago, GRiker said:

I realize this is an older thread, but in preparation for actually working with chocolate today, I've been doing a lot of reading and read through this whole thread as well as some others.  Thank you to all here who asked and answered questions.  I had good success today on take 3 or 4 of doing molded chocolates thanks to what I learned here.

 

I have some dome polycarbonate Chocolate World molds.  This is what I did after gleaning from all the shared knowledge here.

 

When I got the used molds, I washed them in hot soapy water in my sink.  The next times I used them, I've just rinsed them using hot water, at the end of today's batch, I heated them up and rubbed off the excess chocolate with a soft towel.  I think heating and wiping off is the process I will follow as long as things don't get too messy.  After I polish them, I will store them face down in a box in an attempt to not get dust on them until I am ready to use them again. 

 

I polished my molds using vodka and some cotton make up removal pads.  In previous attempts I polished with a clean soft cotton cloth, but found that the next time I used them I got little spots on the chocolates.  I also understand some use 91% isopropyl, but went with the vodka option.

 

I tempered my chocolate using some silk trying to keep the chocolate as hot as possible while still staying in temper.  I don't have A/C, but it was a moderate day in the Bay Area, so the house about 68- 70.  I set my bowl of chocolate over a water bath kept at temperature with a sous vide and an acrylic top to keep the water and its vapor out of the chocolate.  

 

I did not warm my molds before filling.  I had 4 molds to fill.  I filled them each with a small metal ladle.  As experience and reading here has taught me, I tried to use as little chocolate as possible to completely fill so that I didn't have so much to wipe off.  I tapped my filled mold on the counter and also tapped on the sides of the mold with my taping knife to get the bubbles up through the chocolates to the surface.  I am not using the ideal chocolate for molding, but it's what I have and since I have quite a bit of it, I will use it up then get the proper couverture.  I also hand dip chocolates and the chocolate I have works well for that, not as well for molding.  


I filled one mold at a time.  Once I had tapped out the bubbles, I scraped across the top with my newly acquired stainless steel taping knife from Home Depot.  This knife worked better than the dough pastry scraper I had been using. I held the knife at between 45 and 80 degrees or so and tried to take off as much as possible in one pass.  I scraped off the sides carefully as the knife is pretty sharp and it wasn't as easy to scrape smoothly in that direction.  I did one more pass with the knife across the top to make sure it was clean.

 

I varied how long I let the chocolate sit in the molds.  The shortest was about a minute, just waiting and then dumping it back into my chocolate bowl.  Longest was to set it down, fill the next one then empty the first into the bowl.  The ones that sit longer had a tendency to have a harder time emptying and left a lip of sorts close to the edge.  Once I also turned one mold over and set the mold corners on the edges of a jelly roll pan to let it drain.  That left a lip too.  After the shells were emptied, I again scraped the top with my taping knife.  They scraped clean nicely.

 

Once the shells exhibited the matte finish that shows they are beginning to crystallize, I put each tray into my household fridge,  at 43F, 6C - I know it's a bit cold but it's what I've got!  I left them for about 15 - 30 minutes or until I could see that all or most of the shells had released.  This is the first time I put my shells into the fridge.  On this forum several of you said this is what you do.  In addition, the recommendation came from Michael at Michael's Chocolates in SF whom I met the the Chocolate Craft Experience and who was generous with his time and help.  

 

While the shells came back to room temp, I made my fillings, a raspberry pate de fruit of sorts and a Corazon ganache (blood orange, pomegranate and passion fruit.)

 

I filled my shells when the filling was about 85 - 88F.  My first layer in was raspberry, then the ganache.

 

I tempered my ganache using silk but couldn't remember how long people had waiting before capping.  I knew that you can cap sooner if the ganache is tempered, just couldn't remember how long.  I decided to wait about an hour.  The ganache had clearly begun to set so I decided it was good enough.  

 

To cap, I sparingly covered the ganache with tempered warm chocolate (I know I should have warmed the shells first with my hair dryer, but I forgot - next time!). I tapped on the molds  as before to help get rid of air bubbles,  then scraped off with the taping knife.  I tried to minimize the number of passes as the bottoms actually seem to get worse with more passes.  Usually no more than two passes.  If I had a hole in the bottom, I used my spatula to put a small dollop of chocolate on it.  


I read about using acetate sheets for nice shiny bottoms, but I didn't have any, though I do have some sheet protectors like @Jim D. used, decided against using them for now.  

 

Once the bottoms started to crystallize, just a couple minutes later, I popped them in the fridge for 15 minutes or so.  

 

I let them come up to temperature for 30 minutes or so, then demolded them onto a jelly roll pan.  Indeed, hearing them all fall out onto the pan was music to my ears as in the past lots of banging and even freezing was required to coax them out.  If you bang too hard on your molds, they will crack!    This time all four trays came out pretty cleanly.  I did need to do a gentle tap a couple times, but not more than I think is expected.

 

The chocolates are not perfect, I see some lines across the tops of a few of them and they're not as shiny as I wish they were, but my best so far.  I also have some that are leaking, but not surprising as I forgot to heat the shells before capping.  

 

Thanks again for all the questions and answers posted here.  I was reminded today about the quote I saw here "if it were easy, anyone could do it." It's not easy but it sure it fun and satisfying when it works.  

IMG_0833.jpeg

 

I back off as soon as the ganache is firm enough not to squish out when I put the chocolate on the back.

 

I'm not a proponent of heating the backs before backing. 

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3 hours ago, teonzo said:

If you temper your ganache then it means it's already at working temperature (below 32°C), so it' better to use it immediately, otherwise it will get thicker and thicker with time.

 

2 hours ago, Kerry Beal said:

back off as soon as the ganache is firm enough not to squish out when I put the chocolate on the back.

 

Thank you!  I'll do that next time.

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On 3/11/2020 at 10:30 PM, GRiker said:

Thanks again for all the questions and answers posted here.  I was reminded today about the quote I saw here "if it were easy, anyone could do it." It's not easy but it sure it fun and satisfying when it works.  

Great job and great summary of all the tips posted here for so many years!

 

My two comments. First, I agree with Kerry that I never heat before backing off, and I keep my room colder than most in this forum so I don't feel it is a necessary step. Second, i'm not sure you were crystal clear on your polishing. I used to use cosmetic pads, and at Melissa Coppel's suggestion, went back to cotton balls. I use two balls at a time and do at most three cavities with them, flipping it over at some point. Melissa corrected me here too on my last workshop saying that if you keep using the same cotton then you're just moving the cocoa butter from one cavity to the next. She says one ball per cavity...I'm too cheap for that, and I'm not the top chocolatier in the world.  I'm not sure why you prefer vodka over alcohol, but I use alcohol only. I think with those two tips you'll see your shine become perfect on the next round. FWIW, after I do the alcohol thing I do one final rub down with THESE fluffy microfibers that I keep fastidiously clean (no fabric softener).

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On 3/12/2020 at 1:59 PM, Kerry Beal said:
On 3/12/2020 at 9:30 AM, GRiker said:

 

So you don't find that more liquid fillings leak?

Not for that reason - no.

Some of those posted bonbons did have a few little droplets on the bottom after a while. If it's not because I didn't heat them before I sealed them, I wonder why?  too full before sealing?

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13 hours ago, gfron1 said:

i'm not sure you were crystal clear on your polishing

 

You're right that I didn't get the polish I was looking for, certainly not the kind of polish I've been seeing around here!

 

To recap, one suggestion is that I use the cotton balls over cosmetic pads.  Melissa uses one cotton ball per cavity.  You use two per three (only slightly less frugal I'll note! 😉). When I polished mine tonight, using one cosmetic pad per row (3 cavities), I couldn't believe how many I had for the trash can when I was finished.  

 

Then with those cotton balls, polish few cavities per ball - as few as my frugality will let me!

 

After that, you polish with a very clean, dry microfiber cloth - no alcohol?  Have you tried the Costco Microfiber cloths? https://www.costco.com/kirkland-signature-ultra-plush-microfiber-towel%2C-yellow%2C-16-in-x-16-in%2C-36-count.product.100356999.html

 

How/Where do you store your molds until you use them?  You polish them well ahead of using them right?

 

As for the alcohol vs. vodka.  Are you using 91% or 70% isopropyl, IPA?  I guess I wonder what that other % is and is it food safe...   I did think last week that maybe I'd give it a try, but alas no IPA to be found anywhere.  Sounds like you don't have any concerns about that...

 

Thanks so much for the input.  I really appreciate your suggestions.  

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To confuse things more about polishing molds:

 

When the annual eG workshop last took place in Las Vegas, we visited several chocolatiers and discovered many differences in how they prepared their molds. As described by gfron1, Melissa Coppel takes polishing to a new level. If I recall correctly, Jin Caldwell does not polish her molds at all--in fact, she does not even clean them between uses! You could not have a wider gamut than that.  Yet both produce beautiful, shiny bonbons. Andrey Dubovik washes molds in hot soapy water, adding that they don't need polishing unless you see water residue. Have you seen the shine he gets?  If not, check his Instagram photos. He loves to show off the shine by including a reflection of himself in the chocolates.  He believes the shine comes from being careful about temper--and, most notably, in working in a room that I consider quite chilly. I continue to wash my molds as Andrey says and polish them with a microfiber cloth, but I think the polishing is mostly superstition now. I think the humidity in the work space is a crucial factor as I have seen perfectly shiny bonbons go to a matte look in seconds when they are exposed to humidity.

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Now I’m going to throw another curve - Luis Amado cleans his molds with 5% acetic acid and a make up pad they make a pad. After he spritzers in the vinegar, gives it a quick heat with a hairdryer and simple swipe out with the make up pad.

 

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6 hours ago, GRiker said:

After that, you polish with a very clean, dry microfiber cloth - no alcohol?  Have you tried the Costco Microfiber cloths? https://www.costco.com/kirkland-signature-ultra-plush-microfiber-towel%2C-yellow%2C-16-in-x-16-in%2C-36-count.product.100356999.html

 

How/Where do you store your molds until you use them?  You polish them well ahead of using them right?

 

As for the alcohol vs. vodka.  Are you using 91% or 70% isopropyl, IPA?  I guess I wonder what that other % is and is it food safe...   I did think last week that maybe I'd give it a try, but alas no IPA to be found anywhere.  Sounds like you don't have any concerns about that...

To answer your first question, and pull in Jim and Kerry's comment - it doesn't really matter how you do it - just as long as the mold is truly clean. I believe an impeccably clean micro fiber can do the same as cotton and alcohol. And Jen Caldwell is correct...if I could have perfect temper and scraping skills as her I would likely not need to ever clean my molds...but alas.

 

I store my molds stacked vertically on a shelf. Not wrapped nor covered. Just vertical. I'm in a clean commercial kitchen though so our dust level is low since we're in constant clean mode. My heart molds that only get used once a year get wrapped in cling film between seasons.

 

And I've used both alcohols. They dissipate regardless.

 

This picture is a good example of what I"m talking about. This is from my work in the Andrey class. Look at the variation between the different colors (and hence the molds and their cleanliness). In my last Coppel class she had us all clean molds. When she got to the ones I cleaned she held them up and said, "Oh, we missed this one." I hadn't missed it. Now, it could just be how bad my eyes have gotten since I turned 50, or I often blame my big fingers for making it difficult to get into the mold to give it a really good shine, but it made it clear that what I thought was clean, wasn't. And that was with the molds in her shop, not my shop (worth considering when we think about Jen's technique.) So, I look at it this way - the alcohol and cotton is about doing the crude work of removing cocoa butter. The micro is about finishing the job. In this picture I only cleaned the red mold well...the rest would pass by my old standards, but not anymore.

Flaws.thumb.jpg.0b189c6fbf93c73e71a780adaf2bef00.jpg

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  • 1 month later...

Thanks for all your tips.  I'm working to make sure the cavities of my molds are clean.  Sounds like there are all kinds of ways to do that, for now I"m sticking with the vodka and make up pads since that's what I have.  When I run out of that, I may try some rubbing alcohol (maybe by then I'll be able to find some!) @gfron1, yes! I do see how shiny the red is in your picture when compared to the others (though they are all beautiful!). 

 

@teonzo and @Kerry Beal, I worked quickly to pipe my ganache while it was still crystallizing when working with tempered ganache.  I filled 4 molds of 24 cavities each and could feel the ganache thickening over time.  

 

Usually I sell some chocolates to friends at Mother's Day but have decided not to do that this year and am using my couverture chocolate from Guittard to practice bon bons.  

 

Not surprising, I've found that the right chocolate really makes a big difference.  What I had been using for hand dipping does not work very well for molded bon bons.  These bon bons are all made with Soleil d'Or Collection Etienne Guittard Chocolate.  

 

I've made several new bon bons over the past month.  I'm in the process of making surprise deliveries to friends to spread chocolate cheer!  It's been a good way for me to practice but not have to eat them all.  

  • Speculoos cookie filled - 50% Milk - Guittard Soleil d'Or and 50% Trader Joes Speculoos Cookie Butter as suggested here.  People liked these.  While the taste was delicious, I thought the end result was a bit too firm.  Next time I'll do 60% cookie butter, 40% chocolate and see how that works.  I know I could also try using it in a ganache, maybe I'll do that another time
  • .IMG_1075.thumb.jpeg.9f89e2ec1fd10f25f4674ffd2f8ba009.jpeg 
  • Fresh Garden Mint Ganache.   I used the standard milk filling ganache from Notter's Art of Chocolate.  Then I added 25% of the volume of cream in corn syrup and 10% of the total recipe in unsalted softened butter.  I steeped 8 g of fresh mint in the cream.  I loved the texture of the ganache, but the flavor was super strong. They taste better a week out, but next time I'd either use a mint oil or less fresh mint.
  • .IMG_1064.thumb.jpeg.52ab5b66508ae5b58b9b304d37eac68a.jpeg
  • Salted Caramel Praline - Notter.  I really liked this Bon Bon.  I combined salt and egg white with almonds and roasted them.  Then dropped them into the still wet shell. I put them in the fridge for about 15 minutes, then covered them with as little tempered milk chocolate as possible.   After they were set, I piped in some caramel and let it set over night and then capped them.  Next time I'll chop the nuts smaller.  IMG_1074.jpeg.89ff4d6f1c2d421d2f1d72aad4294c34.jpeg
  • Maple Pecan Praline - Notter.  This is made with real maple syrup and toasted ground pecans.  I processed the pecans in the food processor by themselves.  After a bit, they'd just stick to the sides.  I scraped them off a couple times, but they didn't get too much smoother.  I might try processing the pecans with the chocolate or using an immersion blender when I add them in (sounds like the immersion blender would be easier, so I'll probably try that next.)  The filling was not very smooth when I first made it, but over a couple of days sitting in the bon bons it has gotten better.  I thought the filling without the pecans, as a maple ganache was also delicious!
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I had a few problems which I'll post next.  

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I forgot that I did have shine success when I was just practicing with some new molds I bought from @Jim D..  I made a Yuzu Ginger Ganache and Honey Mango with the new molds.  The shine was much better.

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My 10 year old and I made played with colored cocoa butter in 8 hemisphere molds with the mint ganache and the maple pecan mentioned in the previous post.  

 

We painted with chocosphere white, then had so much fun we decided to use some pink too.  This is the first time I've used colored cocoa butter. To ready it to use, I melted it at 30 second intervals and shook in-between.  Once some of it was liquid, I took its temp (90F) and shook a bit more.  I then put some into a ramekin and use various methods to try to keep it at temp.  We used new paint brushes and had fun with that.  

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Next, I shelled the mold, let sit for about 5 minutes, emptied, and then let sit out for about 5 minutes before putting it in the fridge for 15.  Then I filled them with ganache the next day.  I capped them soon after.  

 

I set them in covered jelly roll pans overnight in the garage where it was cool (60s).  

 

The next morning, the maple pecan ones came out easier (after 2 hours in the fridge), but the mint ones required time in the freezer before they would come out.   I wondered what the difference was.  I decided that I think I piped the mint ganache too warm, I think it was closer to 90F than 86F.  Does it make sense that if I piped into a milk shell at close to 90F that the shells would not release as well?  

 

Later,  I made I made 8 hemisphere molds and 1 dome mold half with cookie butter and half with salted caramel almond in previous post. The dome mold was a layered combo with almonds, cookie butter and caramel. I shelled all the molds in the same evening. Four of the hemisphere molds were plain molds.  For these, I following the same process as listed above.  For the remaining four hemisphere molds and the dome molds, I shelled a mold, then dropped a few of the prepared almonds inside while the chocolate was still wet.  After they set for a few minutes, I put them into the fridge for about 15 minutes.  After they were out of the fridge, I used a piping bag to pipe some of my tempered chocolate on top of the almonds to cover them. I made the cookie butter filling, and filled 4 plus one layer in the dome then made the caramel and piped in into the rest.  Then I let them sit overnight covered in the garage until morning when I capped them.  

 

When I first got these molds from Jim, I practiced shelling with them and got cracks in most of the cavities.  I heard some of these happen when I twisted it like an ice cube tray.  I decided that was a bad way to get these out?  So, I didn't do any twisting while unmolding.  However, when I used them to make ganache filled bon bons, I also got these cracks.  This last round, I only got one or two.  

 

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When I went to unmold them, the almond caramel came out without much work.  However, their shine was not good and they had little cracks all over them.  Any ideas on why I got these cracks?

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The first were different than I cracks I got with the salted almond.  The first cracks were all the way across, these ones were more light lightening.  

 

The cookie butter ones looked still stuck to the mold and didn't easily come out.  I had to thwack them quite a bit to get them to come out.  However, their shine was better.

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I did notice before I capped them that the temper of the chooclate/cookie butter mix was off.  I thought about melted them and re-doing, but since I'm not selling them but giving them away, I decided to just give them away anyway.  Here's a picture of them top of the shell of and what the cookie butter mixture looked like.  

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I've been cleaning the molds as described previously but strangely the shine is very different from one mold to the next.  I wonder if it might be having more to do with my temperature or humidity as mentioned previously than with my mold cleaning process?  I see 65F as being a good temp for chocolate work, but what percentage humidity?  IMG_0916.thumb.jpeg.7a9088251f2a35fa694320259d7776a9.jpeg

 

I'm also wondering if my tempering skills need improvement if I need to thwack the mold so hard to get the chocolates out?  Is there anything you see that points in that direction?  I'd really like to take a class with a professional to measure my skills, but not sure when that can happen. I had planned to go to LA to take a class on molded bon bons with Ewald Notter that Guittard was hosting, but it just got postponed.  🙁

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You have really done a huge amount of work and are making great progress. There are so many issues you mention. One stands out:  90F is too warm to pipe ganache into shells. You may be melting the shells enough to cause unmolding problems and loss of shine. I aim for no higher than 83F (I think Greweling recommends 77F, but that seems unnecessary and allows the filling to firm up too much for easy piping).

 

What is the humidity of your space?  I aim for no higher than 50%, preferably lower. High humidity can definitely cause loss of shine and difficulty in unmolding. I don't worry too much about having to bang the molds to get the bonbons out--that happens to the best of us. I also don't worry about having to put them back in the refrigerator for a while, or even the freezer. In my experience none of these measures causes issues--if the bonbon is going to stick or some color is going to come off the shell, that will happen, no matter what you do.

 

I don't have an explanation for the cracks. Some people say too sudden a temp change can do it. I have had it happen on occasion with larger Easter eggs. I'm afraid this may need to be filed under "we will never know."  Same place you file the "why did 23 chocolates fall out of the mold and the 24th refused to do so?" question.

 

If a gianduja (or gianduja-like filling, such as cookie butter) is too firm, I add some coconut oil, something like 10% of the total weight of chocolate and nut or cookie paste. Or, as you suggest, you can add more of the paste.

 

You mentioned questions about tempering. What method are you using?

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15 hours ago, Jim D. said:

You have really done a huge amount of work and are making great progress. There are so many issues you mention. One stands out:  90F is too warm to pipe ganache into shells. You may be melting the shells enough to cause unmolding problems and loss of shine. I aim for no higher than 83F (I think Greweling recommends 77F, but that seems unnecessary and allows the filling to firm up too much for easy piping).

 

What is the humidity of your space?  I aim for no higher than 50%, preferably lower. High humidity can definitely cause loss of shine and difficulty in unmolding. I don't worry too much about having to bang the molds to get the bonbons out--that happens to the best of us. I also don't worry about having to put them back in the refrigerator for a while, or even the freezer. In my experience none of these measures causes issues--if the bonbon is going to stick or some color is going to come off the shell, that will happen, no matter what you do.

 

I don't have an explanation for the cracks. Some people say too sudden a temp change can do it. I have had it happen on occasion with larger Easter eggs. I'm afraid this may need to be filed under "we will never know."  Same place you file the "why did 23 chocolates fall out of the mold and the 24th refused to do so?" question.

 

If a gianduja (or gianduja-like filling, such as cookie butter) is too firm, I add some coconut oil, something like 10% of the total weight of chocolate and nut or cookie paste. Or, as you suggest, you can add more of the paste.

 

You mentioned questions about tempering. What method are you using?

 

I tend to let my ganache cool to room temp however the ganache tries to squeeze out while capping, would it be better to make the ganache right after making the outer shell? I'm not sure how long I should let the ganache from a "crust" before capping, it didn't seem to matter if I let it sit in the fridge for 30 min or outside the fridge for an hour. I'd try to temper the ganache but I'm not sure if my space restrictions would easily allow that.

 

Currently I'm just doing very simple ganaches with around a 50:50 chocolate to cream ratio with small amounts of flavoring (e.g. steep some lemon zest or ground coffee in the cream)

 

Any tips to remedy these issues?

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Thanks for the kind words.  It's been rewarding to see some success.

16 hours ago, Jim D. said:

You mentioned questions about tempering. What method are you using?

 

I'd always used the seed method and it took a long time but was successful.  When I started reading this forum, I learned about the EZTemper and silk and was very interested in that.  Since an EZ Temper doesn't seem cost effective for me yet, I used my sous vide to make some silk and after a couple trys I think I got it right (my cocoa butter needed to be melted out throughly and I needed to start over (thanks Kerry).). While having the liquid silk is great, keeping it at temp to use anytime is not practical for me.  So, this is what I did.  

 

I created the silk with my sous vide.  I used some of that original silk in a project I was making.  Then I took the rest of the silk and put it into plastic container to use later.

 

If I need 10g of microplaned silk for 1000g of melted chocolate, I add that microplaned silk at about 93.5F degrees.  The temp lowers as it melts.  Then I stir for a minute or so, test the temper by putting a dab with a tail (kind of looks like the outline of a Hershey kiss)  on a piece of parchment, then stir a bit more.   Usually after 3 minutes or so I can see the tail start to "dry" and after a few more minutes the thicker part starts to "dry".  I keep it I temper by holding it over a sous vide bath as seen below.

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The plexiglass top keeps the condensation out of the chocolate but keeps the chocolate at temp.  I check the temp of the chocolate periodically to make sure it's good.  I usually keep the water bath at say 93F or so when I'm molding since I'm continually adding back in cooled chocolate.  That keeps the chocolate below 90F. 

 

I much prefer working with dark chocolate over milk, but lots of people like milk (including my family!). Part of the reason I like dark is because it just seems like it tempers faster.  I follow the same process for the milk and the dark, but the milk seems to take longer.  

 

I thought I was using tempered chocolate when I mixed the cookie butter filling, but it seems that it was totally out of temper.  I also wondered about my temper because I had a hard time getting some molds out.  From your comments however, it sounds like I piped it too hot and that likely had something to do with the loss of shine and the difficulty unfolding.  Thanks for that information.  I will definitely use those numbers next time.  

 

17 hours ago, Jim D. said:

What is the humidity of your space? 

When I looked just now, my Nest Thermostat says 58%.  I'll keep track of that number and see if I can find any correlations there.  I haven't kept track of it, or even looked much.  In the SF Bay Area where I live it's usually not very humid, but I'll keep an eye on it.  Thanks for the 50% note.  That will help. 

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2 hours ago, Jurjen said:

I tend to let my ganache cool to room temp however the ganache tries to squeeze out while capping, would it be better to make the ganache right after making the outer shell? I'm not sure how long I should let the ganache from a "crust" before capping, it didn't seem to matter if I let it sit in the fridge for 30 min or outside the fridge for an hour. I'd try to temper the ganache but I'm not sure if my space restrictions would easily allow that.

 

I hear two questions here, one is how long should I let the ganache crust? and the second is why does the ganache squeeze out while capping?

 

Now that I am making tempered ganache, I can cap within the hour of filing as the ganache is setting quickly.  I believe I've read before that if it's not tempered (like I think you're doing) that you need to let it sit at room temp overnight before capping.  

 

Sometimes the ganache will squeeze out while capping if the cavities are filled too full.  Also as JimD  said, you don't need to wait until room temp to pipe, you can pipe into your cavities when your ganache is at 83F or lower. 

 

What kind of chocolate are you using?  What molds are you using? 

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