This is a video supplement to Chapter 1 from the book, Cake Decorating with Modeling Chocolate, which demonstrates how to make modeling chocolate out of chocolate + sugar syrup. The sugar syrup can be corn syrup, liquid glucose, or golden syrup, depending on what you have access to in your part of the world (I use corn syrup because that’s what’s available to me).
I used a high quality dark chocolate in this video, so it’s quite runny in its melted state (a characteristic only of chocolate with high cacao content). As a result, more stirring is involved than there would be if a lower quality chocolate or a white or milk chocolate were used. Therefore keep in mind when using white or milk chocolate to stir about half as much as I do in the video. If you over-stir modeling chocolate, you risk breaking its emulsion, which causes the oily modeling chocolate problem.
Follow this link for recipes and instructions for how to make modeling chocolate
Why Modeling Chocolate is Sometimes Oily
The most common problem that occurs when making modeling chocolate is that it breaks, losing its emulsion. Fat then migrates to the surface of the chocolate, making it oily. Once that fat hardens, it can make the modeling chocolate grainy. So first it’s oily, and then it’s grainy, which is not what you want.
The Top 3 Causes of Oily Modeling Chocolate
1. If the chocolate is overheated. Some chocolate types, particularly white and milk varieties, are fragile. When overheated, chocolate seizes (gets tough and clumpy) and won’t cooperate with the addition of sugar syrup, which eventually leads to a broken emulsion, which leads to an oily batch.
An effective way to melt chocolate without overheating it is to only melt half of it over very low heat. Just before it’s fully melted, remove it from the heat and add the other half off the chocolate, stirring periodically (still off the heat). It will take a few minutes longer but this helps the chocolate maintain its molecular structure (temper) so that it’s less likely to break.
2. If the sugar syrup is the wrong temperature: if it’s too hot or too cold, the chocolate may react by separating. The sugar syrup should be warm.
3. If the modeling chocolate gets over-mixed, the emulsion breaks. When combining chocolate and sugar syrup, stir gently with a spatula as if you were folding egg whites into chocolate mousse. This also applies when sculpting figurines or decorations, as overworking modeling chocolate with the hands can also induce the effects of #1 an #3, with the heat coming from the body and the over-mixing happening as a result of too much kneading or handling.
Modeling chocolate is finicky like hollandaise sauce…sometimes it breaks even when you execute all the steps correctly. Also like hollandaise, rest assured that even a broken batch of modeling chocolate can be saved.
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Cake Decorating with Modeling Chocolate
LOTS more free tutorials here:
The Ultimate Modeling Chocolate Resource Guide