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Chocolate Basics: Molded Bonbons

Updated: Apr 5

A box of colorful and shiny chocolate filled with a magical assortment of delicious ganaches, caramels and other fillings. Some boxes have a map and some are a mystery! Well, you can learn to make your own molded bonbons with the guidelines laid out in this post. First, you'll want to refresh how to temper your chocolate and some ways to troubleshoot if you run into issues. Then, dream up some fillings and get to work to temper, cast, fill, cap and un-mold your beauts!


Dark Chocolate Bonbons filled with Salted Caramel Ganache (with a slight bloom near the base)

The Process

*Before everything get your chocolate working station ready. Chocolate is time sensitive and you should have what you need and not more within reach.*

1) Clean your molds.

2) Temper your chocolate. See this post for tips. And this post for fixes.

3) Cast your molds.

4) Let set, the shells will release from the mold.

5) Fill the shells.

6) Let set.

7) Temper more chocolate.

8) Cap your molds (put the bottoms on).

9) Let set.

10) Un-mold your bonbons.

11) Package and Enjoy!


But that's a super basic overview, let's see what those steps look like!

First get your work station in order:

The above is the set up for two people to each cast one mold.


The Supplies:

-polycarbonate mold

-small metal bowl

-silicone spatula

-piping bag

-scissors

-parchment paper

-frame/thick rulers (two to keep mold of the table when upside down)

-heat gun

-spatula (big and wide for scraping the molds clean)

-offset spatula (for capping)

-chocolate! (good quality)


The Process:

1) Clean your molds.

Here Chef Haas is using rubbing alcohol and a soft cotton ball to remove any impurities from a polycarbonate mold.


2) Temper your chocolate.

Try and temper in under ten minutes so you can get straight to molding-have a piping bag and scissors ready. Set your tempered chocolate on a ring of tinfoil (especially if you are working on marble - keep the heat in!).


3) Cast your molds.

To make it a little "cleaner" fill them with a piping bag and move quickly! Practice holding your mold upside down with one hand before you fill it with chocolate. (If you don't have a warmer handy, you can empty your mold over half sheet/cookie tray). Use the rubber end of the scraper to tap the excess chocolate out of the mold. Scrape off the drips while inverted so that chocolate does not go back in your mold. You want your shell to be about 1/16th of an inch, but you shouldn't be able to see through it. Keep the mold upside down until the chocolate looks less wet.


Before the cast hardens all the way, scrape off the polycarbonate mold to help with the future steps. Any extra chocolate left on it will likely adhere to your cap (and give straggly edges to your bonbon, or interfere with the seal).


4) Let set, the shells will release from the mold.

Keep the mold upside down until it starts to set.

Traditionally, the mold is kept in a cool room overnight and will release by the next day. If you want/need to work faster, set the mold upright in the fridge until the chocolates release (about 1/2 hour) then set the mold out of the fridge before filling.

All the bonbons have released except one, can you spot the stuck one?

5) Fill the shells.

Your filling needs to be fluid but not too hot to melt the chocolate and make it expand back into the molds (it will not re-release). If the filling is too cold, it won't settle in nicely and your caps will be uneven and likely too thick in some places. Ideal temperature is around 80-85 degrees.

6) Let set.

Traditionally overnight, but you can speed up the process in the fridge for about a half hour and then let it come back up to temperature for a bit.


7) Temper more chocolate.


8) Cap your molds (put the bottoms on).

If you have a controlled heat source (like a heat gun), very very lightly warm the molded bonbons, this will help the cap adhere and seal the bonbons. (The picture at the top of this post shows what will happen if you over heat your bonbons with the heat gun at this stage, a line of fat bloom near the base).


9) Let set.

Back in the fridge for speed!


10) Un-mold your bonbons.

In one swift and firm motion, flip the mold onto parchment paper and then lift the mold to reveal the unmolded bonbons. If any bonbons stay in the mold, push (with the mold) the bonbons out of the way, and retap the tray. Do NOT use any sharp or abrasive objects on the mold, lest you scratch the surface. Try to limit handling the bonbons, as every touch reduces their shine.


11) Package, or crack open and Enjoy!


Raspberry Ganache filled Dark Chocolate Bonbons
Insides of Raspberry Ganache filled Dark Chocolate Bonbons

Extra tips!

  • You can splatter or paint the inside of your mold with colored cocoa butter and a brush or gloved finger, for some really inspiring molded chocolates check out these instagrams: Melissa Coppel, Stick With Me Sweets, Andre Dubovick.

  • Make your filling either the day before or after casting so that you have it ready when your shells are ready! Ideas for fillings are caramel ganache, raspberry ganache, passion fruit cream, cooked fruit (jams, pate de fruits), nuts, praline paste.

  • Two really useful tools to have in your arsenal would be a heat gun and a laser thermometer - relatively inexpensive ones can be found on amazon.com.

Good luck with you molded bonbon adventure and let me know how it goes in the comments!



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