I got home from shopping last night to discover that the milk chocolate for most of the molds had lost its temper while I was casting it, resulting in an ugly, streaked mess that won’t release cleanly from the molds:
This can be attributed directly to my own carelessness: I didn’t check to see whether the chocolate remained in temper after each set of chocolate molds got poured, which I really should have, but I was distracted by some friends who had dropped by to pick up the batch of botched caramels.
Botching these molds has put me back on two fronts: one, the molds will have to be cleaned out and washed, which is a laborious process since the cocoa butter tends to stick and the molds scratch very easily, so have to be handled carefully. The second setback is that I no longer have enough milk chocolate to coat the outside of the milk chocolate centers in milk chocolate; they’ll have to go in dark chocolate, of which I have more than plenty. Not a huge problem, I prefer dark chocolate anyway, I was just trying to get some variety in appearance inside the box.
There is a third annoyance – if I continue with my plan of having 8 types of chocolates cast in molds, it means I will have to use each shape twice, meaning that I’ll have to drizzle white or milk chocolate into the mold beforehand to mark the mold. (Otherwise I’d wind up with two identically-shaped dark chocolates, so no one -including me!- could tell the difference between types.) Having two types of chocolate in one mold means tempering twice, once for each type. I will think this through carefully – I may decide to cast only one set of chocolates, and dip the rest. Dipping is faster and not nearly as fussy as mold-casting, so it may be the best choice.
(For those who just tuned in, chocolate has to be tempered before using, so it hardens cleanly and into a glossy form. See my previous post on tempering for an explanation of why.)
Since I am now behind on my schedule, it seems likely that I’ll be working in the evenings the next few days to get back on track. I need to wash out the chocolate molds, temper a few batches of dark chocolate, and recast the shells for the first batch of molded chocolates. And I think I will mix up my first batch of chocolate centers on Wednesday evening, so they’ll be ready for dipping first thing Thursday morning.
In weaving news, the 27-yard warp is now fully beamed, lease sticks inserted, ready to thread. (I sneaked in an hour or three of work in between the chocolate.) However, the actual threading will have to wait until next week – chocolate season is here! so it will be sweets and nothing else.