FAQ

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The introduction of the Chocolate Academy marks the evolution of new, artisanal curriculum offerings that align with the leading trends in today’s culinary industry.

Chocolate molds need to be clean, dry, and polished before each use! We recommend polishing the cavities of your chocolate molds between uses with a dry paper towel. If the cavities of the mold are dull your homemade chocolates will lack shine. To clean plastic molds use warm (not hot) soapy water and a soft cloth. Dry molds and polish right away. Never put chocolate molds in the dishwasher, the high heat will warp the plastic.

No need to spray or coat chocolate molds with any type of oil. As long as you used the proper molding chocolate and let it completely set in the refrigerator, your chocolate will easily release on its own.

How long it takes for the chocolate to completely set up in the molds depends on the size of the plastic candy mold. Smaller molds might take 5 to 10 minutes and medium to large molds could take anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes.

You can make chocolates up to 1 month ahead of time. Store finished pieces in a plastic container, and keep in a dark, cool, dry place, away from any humidity or moisture. It’s not recommended to store chocolate in the refrigerator; it can cause it to sweat and get sticky. If storing in the refrigerator is your only option, you can do so, but bring them out to room temperature before handling. Open the container the chocolates are stored in and let the condensation/stickiness dry up before touching.

The main difference is that many commercial chocolate makers will replace some of the cocoa butter with other fats. Cocoa butter is very expensive, but if you’re trying to make ganache or any kind of pastry, trying to work with commercial chocolate becomes extremely difficult because the fats don’t melt at the same rate and don’t solidify properly. I mostly worked with couverture chocolate, which uses 100% cocoa butter and is considered an extremely good quality chocolate.

Removing cocoa butter affects the snap and sheen of the chocolate, so if you come across a chocolate that has a dull finish and bends easily, chances are, it has some other oils in it besides pure cocoa butter.

There needs to be a balance of acid and liquid content. Some ganache is strictly cream based, but you can also make ganache with a mixture of hot cream and tea, fruit, or even just pure caramel. Once you have a basic understanding of the chemistry, you can get creative and adjust recipes you might find online or in books to transform them into your own creations.

It’s also important to consider the visual effect of your chocolate candy. Cocoa butter takes well to coloring, so if you spray a thin layer of colored cocoa butter onto your candy mold, you can achieve a bunch of different effects by mixing different colors and swirling them, or sometimes, we’d do a splatter effect—different things to make the presentation more impressive. But classic brown with just a lavender blossom or some kind of small seed on the corner is a very typical French look that’s beautiful in its own way.

Cocoa butter is just the fat from the cocoa bean. Processing plants take the raw beans and separate the solids from the fats (or cocoa powder from cocoa butter). The art of chocolate making is introducing these two ingredients back together in an artful way. In ganache, you can add cocoa butter at any point to make the chocolate more stiff, since cocoa butter is solid at room temperature. It helps keep it stable and it’s also tasteless, so it won’t ruin the flavor of your candy, which is especially important when you’re working with exotic fruits or other flavors in the chocolate.

Pure white chocolate is basically just cocoa butter and sugar, without any cocoa powder, to give you an idea of the role it plays in the mix.

Basically, chocolate is a crystalline substance. It has two types of crystals that become interlocked at two different temperatures, but there is a window where those temperatures overlap and that’s where chocolate tempers. Well-tempered chocolate has a specific, satin sheen.

To temper chocolate at home, you need to use a double boiler. Having chocolate directly on the heat will burn at the bottom while the top is still solid, so you’ll end up with a mess. You also need to be really careful not to get any liquid in the chocolate because that can ruin the process too.