Making your own modeling chocolate is so easy, soon you'll be decorating your desserts like a pro!
Modeling chocolate, also known as chocolate clay, is easy to make and fun to use to create decorations for cakes, cupcakes, cookies and more. All you need to make your own at home is chocolate and corn syrup. Once you learn the basic techniques for making modeling chocolate, you can use it just like you would fondant. If you're like me and love the look of fondant, but hate the taste, modeling chocolate is a perfect alternative. It tastes like chocolate!
You can use any type of chocolate, including pure semi-sweet, bittersweet, milk, or white chocolate, which all contain cocoa butter. Or you can use dark, light or white confectionery coating, candy melts or almond bark, which all contain some sort of oil. Just know that whatever you choose to use, you're going to really taste it, so I recommend using your favorite.
Every type and brand of chocolate contains varying amounts of cocoa butter or oil, which makes giving an exact recipe a bit tricky. In general, dark chocolate is more solid than milk or white chocolate and will require more corn syrup. Confectionery coatings are also softer than pure chocolates and may require less corn syrup. I always suggest starting with less corn syrup and adding more as needed until you get a pliable modeling chocolate. Once you make a few batches using a particular brand of chocolate you'll learn the ratio of chocolate to corn syrup needed. In my tutorial, I'm going to show you how to make a batch using white confectionery coating, but the technique would be the same for all types of chocolate.
The first thing you'll do is melt your chocolate or confectionery coating either using a double boiler or the microwave. If you're using chocolate bars or blocks, chop the chocolate finely. If using wafers or callets, you don't need to chop them. I find it quickest to use the microwave. If you use the microwave, pour your chocolate into a microwave-safe bowl and heat on high power for short bursts of time. Every microwave is different, so adjust as needed. My suggestion is to heat 16 ounces of chocolate on high power for 30 seconds, remove and stir. Your chocolate won't look melted much at this point.
Heat for another 30 seconds, and let the bowl sit in the microwave for a few minutes. Remove and stir. Heat at 10-15 second increments, allowing it to sit for a minute or so before stirring vigorously. You want to allow the heat from the chocolate to melt the remaining pieces. This will keep your chocolate from getting too hot. If you try to move too quickly, you can easily burn it. And there's nothing you can do with burnt chocolate, aside from tossing it in the trash!
Now, this is the most important part of this recipe. Allow the chocolate to cool to 90-91ºF. Stir it often as it cools so it doesn't harden around the edges of the bowl. If you move on to the next step and add the corn syrup while the chocolate is too hot, you'll end up with greasy modeling chocolate. Don't have a thermometer? Put a drop of chocolate on your lip. You want it to feel slightly cool.
Start by adding the smallest amount of corn syrup in the recipe. Slowly stir, scraping the side and bottom of the bowl. Stir just until it's well combined.
The chocolate will start to harden almost immediately. You need to make sure the corn syrup is mixed in, but if you mix it too vigorously at this point, again, you may get greasy modeling chocolate. I find it best to just get it mixed in and then knead it on a granite counter top. If you don't have granite, use a marble cutting board or even a metal baking sheet. The cool surface will help bring the temperature down. Knead the modeling chocolate until smooth. My hands tend to be warm, so I use a plastic bench scraper or spatula instead of my hands.
If the modeling chocolate feels crumbly and dry, then add more corn syrup. Use a plastic bench scraper or rubber spatula to help knead the modeling chocolate so your hands don't end up with sticky corn syrup all over them. Add enough corn syrup to make the modeling chocolate smooth and pliable. Modeling chocolate will harden, quite a lot as it dries, so make sure you add enough corn syrup to make it flexible now.
If your modeling chocolate is greasy, knead it on a cool surface for a few minutes, working the oil back into the chocolate. If it just won't cool down, then wrap it in plastic wrap and let it cool for about 15 minutes, then try again. It is important to get all of the oil back into the chocolate, or your modeling chocolate will be brittle and dry. Don't give up hope! I've never had to throw a batch of modeling chocolate out. It is always fixable.
Once you have a nice pliable modeling chocolate, wrap it in plastic wrap then seal in a zip top bag until ready to use. If you need it right away, you may want to let it rest for 15 minutes before working with it.
You can also add coloring if desired. Make sure to wear food-handling gloves and knead in the color.
After being stored, the modeling chocolate will have hardened. It's best to just break off small pieces and knead them until soft and pliable enough to sculpt. Dark chocolate will harden much more than milk or white. If it is just too hard to knead, you can heat it on the defrost setting in your microwave. Go slowly. I will break off pieces and heat on defrost for 5 seconds for small pieces and10 seconds for larger ones. I then try to knead it. I'll keep heating it for very short burst of time, until I can easily knead it. If you do this be careful, if you overheat it, you'll end up with greasy modeling chocolate. If I overheat mine, and see that a spot looks greasy, I just let it sit and cool for about ten minutes before kneading it. This usually works.
Now the best part! Use the modeling chocolate to make fun decorations. Like I mentioned, anything that can be made with fondant can also be made using modeling chocolate. Here are a few things you might want to try.
Try your hand at making your own modeling chocolate and have fun decorating!