Super shiny chocolates!
There is nothing quite as rewarding as popping your chocolates out of their moulds and having that high gloss staring back at you. I’m often asked how I make them so shiny and in the end, as with so many things in the world of patisserie and chocolate, it’s about following the rules and not giving in to the temptation of shortcuts. So let’s break it down in steps:
Step 1: Polishing your moulds
This is one of the crucial steps, if your mould is dirty your chocolates will not be shiny, so how do you clean your mould? There are different opinions on that and if you have a method that works consistently then my advise is to keep doing what you’re doing. If however you feel like you could improve you might want to give my way a little try:
- Wash the moulds in a dishwasher using a mild detergent at approx. 40 degrees Celsius.
- Using an empty airgun blow all the water drops out of the cavities.
- Let the moulds dry in a hot box set at about 35 – 40 degrees Celsius for 4 – 5 hours.
- Polish the moulds using a microfibre cloth dipped in 95 % ethanol (I use the kind car detailers use).
By polishing with pure ethanol you ensure any residue that could compromise your shine is removed.
Step 2: Tempering the coloured cocoa butters
First thing I would like to say here is that cocoa butter is the whole reason we need to temper chocolate, therefor when we want to spray decors into our chocolate moulds, the cocoa butter needs to be tempered. When the cocoa butter is not properly tempered it will not ‘shrink’ and therefor not release from the mould. To temper cocoa butter we need 2 things: movement and temperature. We can temper the cocoa by moving it on the marble or in a cold tray like chocolate, however this is a little bit messy in my opinion.
Currently I bring my cocoa butter to 30 degrees Celsius and then I add (by eyesight) 1% pre-crystallised cocoa butter. The EZ temper is a device that keeps the cocoa butter in it’s perfectly crystallised form to seed ganaches, giandujas etc. and has been a life saver for me. In the end it doesn’t matter how you temper the cocoa butter, but just make sure to pre-crystallise the cocoa butter before you spray it into your mould.
Step 3: The spraying
for the spraying I use a gravity fed small spray gun and compressor as below from Draper: (but any similar spray gun will do) Guns like this are easy to clean out fast between colours and offer good hand control. By playing with the air pressure you can also achieve different effects! The spraying temperatures to respect:
- The mould needs to be around 21 degrees Celsius.
- The environment should also be at 21 – 22 degrees Celsius.
- The cocoa butter should be pre-crystallised at 28 – 30 degrees Celsius.
A few tips:
- Make sure the spray gun has been pre heated for a while in a hot box, otherwise the gun will clog, however don’t make it too hot either as that will take the pre-crystallised cocoa butter out of temper.
- If your room is cold, spray with slightly warmer cocoa butter (30 – 31) and vice versa if your room is warm have your cocoa butter at the colder end of the spectrum (28) to find a compromise that works.
- If you use gun like shown above for spraying cocoa butters don’t wash it out with water, your gun will clog! If you must clean just use some warm oil and let it run through the gun with maximum air pressure. (Catch the oil with a cloth or you will find yourself in an oily fog!)
Step 4: Lining with chocolate
Let’s talk chocolate here for a minute, not all chocolates are equal for lining moulds! You want a fluid chocolate with approx. 40 – 43% cocoa butter with a strong but neutral flavour profile, I use Cacao Barry ‘s “Fleur de Cao 70%” as it ticks all those boxes for me. Don’t be afraid by it’s 70% tag as the cocoa butter content is 41% (so the cocoa solids content is only 29%), not really that high. I know some chefs prefer to use a 55%, but they will end up having to add additional cocoa butter to bring it to the same level of fluidity as the the 70% I use. The reason the fluidity is so important for lining is that, in my opionion, a good chocolate has a thin crispy chocolate shell and a lot of filling. The lining procedure:
- Fill the cavities up with tempered chocolate.
- Vibrate to remove any possible air bubbles.
- Pour the chocolate out of the cavities again and tap on the side to remove as much as possible.
- Make sure to keep the mould upside down and now scrape the mould using a scraper.
- Scrape well and place on the side to have optimal airflow.
Step 5: Cooling
Ok, so you’ve done everything right so far, well done! but there is still a final hurdle to take. The cooling of the moulds is also very important. If the chocolate cools too fast it can crack and develop cold spots, it it doesn’t cool fast enough it might not have the optimal shrink and leave you struggling to un-mould. In an ideal world, you would have a chocolate fridge set at 10 – 12 degrees Celsius and 45 – 60% relative humidity. In a not so ideal world I recommend placing the moulds after lining into the fridge for about 10 minutes and then taking them out. This has always yielded me good results. So there you go, a step by step guide on how to create super shiny chocolates, If you have any questions, experiences or tricks you would like to share please let me know!
© Arcane Chocolates – Best Irish Chocolates