On to the plate

Experimenting with flavours, colours and style of food served at our place

I finally got the Modelling Chocolate right


Lite or Light?

The difference is clearOne of the many few things that has baffled me last year is modelling chocolate.

At the beginning I tried Glucose Syrup. It was too thick. The modelling chocolate just crumbled and I wasn’t able to knead it well. But I still managed to make use of some of it.

I made this practice cake, my first foray into using modelling chocolate.Wrapping-paper-design.jpg

Somehow I managed to get the consistency (proportion of Glucose Syrup) right, at least enough to decorate Cameron’s 21st cake.

Mr-Fussy-Photo.jpgBut I knew it wasn’t right. I knew it wasn’t this wonderful thing that others claimed it to be. I knew that Jessica Harris and Loren Kitchens loved it and I had their recipes (JH uses compound chocolate, LK uses real chocolate – the proportion of corn syrup differs) and followed them to a “T” having found Martha’s Backyard in Auckland stocked Karo Corn Syrup, the very same brand that both ladies used in their recipes.

But, and it’s BIG but, I mucked up. I got so caught up on the Craftsy classes saying light corn syrup, the clear stuff, that I thought it was lite corn syrup. Clearly I was seeing and hearing what I thought was right because the recipes had light corn syrup. I thought the reason they were stressing light was because it was the lite version, the one with less sugar. The stress was on light being clear, rather than the dark corn syrup (which I clearly hadn’t twigged to).

Last time I used modelling chocolate it was for the accents to the Movember cake.

Best MoI used real chocolate thinking it might make the difference. No, in fact it was quite impossible to use. So soft. I could barely cut out the moustache shape and getting it from the mat to the cake was causing me to break out into a sweat. Of course it was also a really hot day that day.

At some point late last year I put in another order for Martha’s Backyard (while shipping was free) and I came across the light corn syrup. Finally the penny dropped. Light, NOT lite.

With Christmas being so close I was busy making Christmas type goodies and had no time to try out the new light corn syrup. Until this weekend.

I’ve just returned from a trip to Hamilton and wracking my brain about what baking I’d like to try out. The only thing that popped into my head was to try out the new light corn syrup.

Friday night I arrived early evening and that’s the first thing I did. I grabbed a bag of Wilton Candy Melts and refreshed my mind the proportions of corn syrup needed for each gram of compound chocolate. I was using Jessica Harris’ recipe. I picked out two colours, Sugarflair Grape and Americolor Mauve. I really don’t know why I keep using Mauve because I don’t like the colour.

I wasn’t 100% sure this was going to work so a colour I disliked wouldn’t matter if I ended up tossing the lot out.

But guess what!? It worked! At least after the hour following mixing it was a consistency that I could knead without too much grunt work, it didn’t crumble and even after quite a long period of kneading (I realised the first knead still hadn’t distributed the colour evenly) the modelling chocolate still held its own.

2014-01-10 21.52.01I went to bed feeling pretty pleased that this modelling chocolate would work.

In the morning the MC had firmed up and was hard. Very promising. Next I tried real chocolate. I had a little 50% Whittaker’s chocolate which I used with some black food gel colour, hoping it would turn blacker. I had Cadbury white Melts as well. I coloured a bit of it with white food gel (don’t do this! It doesn’t get absorbed, just becomes a bit of a slimey mess) and finally I went with Sky Blue. Knowing the chocolate was quite a creamy almost yellowish tint I wanted to combat that. I got out my trust colour wheel (which I don’t understand) and went with the complementary colour, hoping it would neutralise the creamy/yellow tinge. I added a bit of orange. The sky blue (which I might have added a bit too much of) ended up a lovely peacock blue. Not at all what I was aiming for.

2014-01-11 10.32.17While out in the garage fitting the new fridge/freezer in place (happy girl am I!) I grabbed all the little plastic containers with white compound chocolate Natalie brought back with her during their holiday in July. I checked the best by date …. 4 January 2014. Yikes!

Now I was on a mission. I wanted to use ALL of it. All 4 containers of 500gm of compound chocolate.

Tints and tonesRight (Sunday when I drafted this) now I’m typing and my arms, which are mostly flat against my side, are aching. My shoulders are so sore from kneading colour into the MC.

I began using the compound chocolate from BakeBoss (in Australia) by mixing the “electric” food gels. I remembered something Rosie from Sweetapolita said (when colouring buttercream which is also yellowish). She uses the electric colours to help neutralise the yellow. I began with electric green. I used a little bit of by comparison to my sky blue. It was a bit too light for my liking, not really looking that vibrant. But once I’d left it for a good hour I began kneading portions of it and adding extra electric green, then adding other green colours to give me some variations.

Next came the electric pink batch. It was quite bright (having learnt from the green) so I left one portion as is (but kneaded it to a uniform colour) and then added a number of different pinks to the remaining portions. And the same with the electric blue. Lots and lots of variations of blue. The last small portion I added some royal purple to. The light was fading so I wasn’t really sure what colour it ended up, but I’d say it was the closest to a sky blue. Weird.

20140111_193358This morning, after reading a post on Sweet Sugarbelle’s website about colouring royal icing red, I decided to use the last 200gm of compound chocolate with the Tulip Red I had. I got a lovely orange colour 🙂 To this I took a portion and again added more of the base colour, tulip red. Then to the rest I used different shades of orange and yellow.

20140112_083602Still not happy with my original MC, I took the Mauve and broke it into portions and made some different shades of brown and then added some to the Grape, some of the yucky white MC and I came up with all sorts of combinations. While I loved the original grape colour, I had too much of that colour. I took some of the original tulip red, some white and then added Royal Purple to a portion as well. And all up I have 34 colours.  And I’ve almost used my entire bottle of Light Corn Syrup, so I’ve put in a order for another couple of bottles, and blow me down, the free shipping until the end of 2013 is still on! I suspect someone has forgotten to update the website, but hey, I’m not complaining 😀

20140112_113540Now that everything has been mixed and remixed what I noticed is the original mauve and grape mixed with the white aren’t setting the same as the other colours. All of them are now in the fridge so hopefully they’ll all end up the same when it comes time to use them. Use them? Now I have to get my thinking cap on. Just what will I use them all in/on/for?

Using modelling chocolate in a brooch mouldIf you want to see some more photos (showing all the different gel colours I used to get all the different shades), I have them in an album on the Facebook page.

And now that I’m feeling pretty chuffed about making modelling chocolate I’ve just purchased a tutorial from ChokoLate and her recipe and it’s so very very different! It has icing sugar, water (!) and Glucose. I’ll give it a crack because she makes such stunning figurines (she lives in Belgium, she’s immersed in chocolate ;-)) and the finish of her modelling chocolate is like nothing I’ve seen before. I’ll let you know how I get on.

4 thoughts on “I finally got the Modelling Chocolate right

  1. Hi, is it possible for you to please share the recipe you used? I’ve been struggling with modelling chocolate -_-

    • Hi Sophie. I signed up for a Craftsy class that was taught by Jessica Harris. Her recipe was part of the course materials. However I’ve just been to her blog and here’s the link to her Chocolate Modelling recipe. I used Wilton Candy Melts, and Light (not Lite) Corn Syrup which I ordered online from Martha’s Backyard: http://jessicakesblog.blogspot.co.nz/2013/05/modeling-chocolate-questions-answered.html Good luck 🙂

      • Great, thank you! Is is ok to use clear glucose syrup derived from corn, instead of the corn syrup though?

      • Hi Sophie, I’ve tried with glucose before and it hasn’t ended well. The modelling chocolate (MC) ended up brittle and crumbly and very hard to work to try and soften to use. Glucose syrup is much thicker than Corn Syrup so you’d need to add less of it and I’d say a little more water to try and get it to the same consistency, but then in doing that I don’t know what you might change. The reason I bought the Corn Syrup was because I couldn’t get the MC correct using glucose. Sorry I can’t give any confidence going by my experience. I’ve seen plenty of people ask if you can use glucose syrup in place of corn syrup and the answer appears to be “you should” but I don’t think those in America have access to glucose syrup to understand how different in structure they are. If you do decide to try please come back and let me know how you got on, and what proportions you changed to make it work. Cheers

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