Lesson—Creating Bonbons Using a Mold
Chocolate molds have been around since chocolate consumption moved
from predominately drinking chocolate to predominately eating chocolate.
In order to produce bite-size chocolate pieces for eating, the large
blocks of chocolate have to be molded into smaller forms.
In the late 1800s, creating fanciful chocolate molds of metal was
at its height. Small bakers and chocolatiers produced intricate
shapes, both flat and three-dimensional. The introduction of plastic
molds revolutionized both the industrial and home markets. Now plastic
molds, usually based on historical designs first done in metal,
can be produced inexpensively.
When purchasing chocolate molds, look for strong plastic with deep
intricate designs. These will produce a much more elegant product
than the shallow, less-detailed molds you’ll usually find
in craft or kitchen stores. The molds should never be washed in
soap. Just use hot water. Soap scum can mar the taste of the chocolate
if not thoroughly removed. If your chocolate is tempered properly,
most of the chocolate can be flaked off with a soft cloth.
After the finished chocolate is removed from the mold, it leaves
a light film of cocoa butter which makes the next chocolate made
in the mold gleam even more.
The Molding Process
You'll need to have mastered tempering chocolate before you attempt
to mold with it. Put out your molds, utensils (ladle, spoons, pastry
scraper or pallet knife, piping bag) and parchment paper or silpat
mat before you temper your chocolate so you can start molding right
Try to buy at least two of each kind of mold as this allows you
to work on one mold while the other is hardening. When molding,
you want to work as quickly as possible and remember to stir your
tempered chocolate a lot during the process as it will tend to loose
its temper and start to solidify if left alone. Remember that chocolate
hates to be ignored.
Step 1: Fill the Mold
Quickly fill your mold cavities using either a ladle or spoon.
Don’t worry if you have chocolate all over the mold as you’re
going to scrape off all the excess later. Once the cavities are
full, tap the mold briskly on the table to settle the chocolate
into any grooves or designs in the cavity and to force out air bubbles.
Step 2: For Solid, Molded Chocolate Shapes
Scrape off the excess using a pastry scraper or pallet knife. Tap
the mold on the table again to settle the chocolate into the cavities.
Place the mold (cavity side up) on a flat cool surface to harden.
A note about achieving perfect detail if your mold cavity is very
detailed: To reduce the risk of small bubbles marring the mold detail,
you can paint the mold cavities with a thin coat of tempered chocolate
using a soft brush before proceeding to fill the molds.
Step 2: For Shell Molds to Be Filled with Your Truffle or
Quickly fill your mold cavities using either a ladle or spoon and
then turn the mold over your bowl of chocolate and let the excess
chocolate run out of the cavities, leaving a thin coating of chocolate.
Tap the bottom of the mold gently to release more chocolate during
Turn the mold upright and scrape off the excess across the surface
of the mold using a pastry scraper or pallet knife. A little of
the scraped chocolate might run into the cavities but that is fine.
Turn the mold over again and place it (cavity side up) on parchment
paper or silpat mat to harden.
Filling the chocolate cavity: Make your favorite chocolate truffle
recipe and have it in a plastic or parchment piping bag. When the
chocolate-lined cavities have hardened, pipe the mixture into the
cavity making sure not to fill more than 3/4 to 7/8
of the way up the sides of the cavity. Try hard not to get any filling
on the outer rim of the chocolate. This is where the piping bag
If you do get some filling on the edge of the chocolate, scrape
it off immediately because it will keep your chocolate bottom from
adhering properly. When all the cavities are filled, set the filled
shells aside for a few minutes to let the filling settle and form
a slightly dry skin on the top. When the shells are ready, ladle
chocolate across the top of the mold as before and then use a pastry
scraper or pallet knife to quickly scrape off the excess chocolate.
Place the filled mold (cavity side up) on a flat, cool surface to
Step 3: Hardening Your Molds
If you don’t have a cool room or cupboard in which to harden
the chocolate in the molds or are pressed for time, you can use
the refrigerator to speed up the process. Set aside one shelf in
the fridge and have it empty before you start tempering the chocolate
and molding. Once the mold is full, put it on the shelf and
set a timer for five minutes. Remove the mold from the refrigerator
and let it continue hardening at cool room temperature.
The chocolates are ready to be released when the chocolate pulls
away from the mold slightly and the outside of the cavity appears
grayish if you look at the bottom of the mold. This is an indication
that air is being pulled in between the chocolate and the mold as
the chocolate contracts and hardens.
Once you think the mold is ready, turn it over on parchment paper
or a Silpat mat. If your chocolate is tempered properly and it is
completely hardened, the chocolates should just fall out of the
mold. If they don’t, give the mold a little tap on the bottom
to help release the chocolates. If that doesn’t work, then
set them aside and check later.
You can return them to the refrigerator, but again, not for more
than three minutes — so set the timer. The problem with leaving
the filled molds in the refrigerator for too long is that the cold
environment will start to pull the sugar in the chocolate itself
to the surface, which is up against the mold. The sugar will adhere
to the mold and make it very difficult to remove the chocolates.