Today, I’m sharing my recipe for home-made white modeling chocolate. It’s super easy and comes together SUPER quick, but there are some important things about the process and product that I will highlight. Disclaimer: I’m not a modeling chocolate pro. I know just enough to get by for my needs! So what I share today is what I know .. so far 🙂
First off- What is Modeling Chocolate?
Modeling Chocolate is an edible “clay” made with chocolate and usually light corn syrup. It behaves like putty or clay, and can be molded, sculpted, painted, airbrushed. Because it is so pliable, it can be used in so many dessert-art forms including on cakes (think cake toppers), as showpieces (huge sculpted art!), on cupcakes and cookies. There are so many other applications,
What makes it different from fondant?
Aside from the taste (modeling chocolate literally tastes like the chocolate base, so white chocolate or dark depending on what you use), it behaves slightly differently. It’s better for sculpting in general. It does not dry quite as hard all the way through like fondant can. In higher temperatures, because it is chocolate (fat) based, it can melt a bit easier (but honestly, it stays quite robust). I find that with home-made modeling chocolate which does not use stabilizers, it can be a bit harder to work with if you’ve got warmer body temp. In my YouTube video, I talk about a few things that can help make this a bit easier.
Why I like modeling chocolate:
For cookie and cake decorating, it adds fun bits of detail with minimal effort and huge taste payoff. I prefer modeling chocolate (when I can) over fondant purely because of taste preference. But honestly, it doesn’t matter– do what YOU like! My favorite way to use modeling chocolate for decorated cookies is to form them in molds and either paint/airbrush them OR color the modeling chocolate itself. You may color it with gel color (be careful, check with the brand because sometimes they are not compatible with the fat in chocolate) or The Sugar Art Elite (NOT Master Elite) powder colors. You can also color it with oil-based food colors that are OK for use in chocolate.
Look at some of the ways I’ve used modeling chocolate in the past:
- Double boiler set up (pan with gently boiling water + a heat safe bowl)
- Heat Safe Silicone Spatula (mixture will stick like crazy to wood)
- Food Scale
- Zip lock or plastic bag for your modeling chocolate
- Optional: Molds, Pipettes, Palettes, Mini Scoops, Brushes
The ratio of the light corn syrup to chocolate is between 1:4 BY WEIGHT, but no more than 1:3 — this is based on tons of experimenting and under various weather conditions. When it’s hot as hell or if you are in AZ in the summer, go with 1:4. For this video, I am using about 50 grams of light corn syrup to 200 grams of almond bark because it is warm in Sacramento right now! In the winter when it is colder, I will likely change up the ratio by adding more corn syrup.
Method – Very simple, but easy to &#@* up.
- Melt the candy melts/white chocolate/almond bark over a lightly simmering pot of water (double boiler method).
- Stir every once in a while to distribute the heat to help the melting process along and prevent the chocolate from burning (no coming back from chocolate burning). It shouldn’t happen as long as your water is at a light simmer.
- Once the chocolate is almost all melted, take it off the heat, wipe off the bottom so there is risk of condensation getting into the chocolate, causing it to seize.
- Stir so that the residual heat melts the rest of the chocolate– we don’t want it too hot.
- Place the bowl on the scale, zero out the scale and put in the appropriate amount of light corn syrup based on how much chocolate you’ve used.
- USE CAUTION at this step and WATCH THE VIDEO (I am not yelling at you, I just want to STRESS THE IMPORTANCE of this step). Stir about 15 times until the mixtures JUST comes together and thickens up. Then leave it completely alone.
- Set aside somewhere cool ish (on your counter away from the sun is fine) and let it rest ideally overnight but I’ve used it as fast as an hour later–so long it has cooled completely!
- Take out the amount desired, knead and use.
Please watch our very informative video HERE.
Some additional tips/tricks:
- The struggle: F&#%@# I overmixed and now the cocoa butter has separated from the solids and there is a pool of oily $&!% that’s encasing my solids.
- Solution: Let everything cool completely to room temp, until the oil has completely solidified, usually a few hours away from the sun. Throw the entire mixture into a stand mixer, and using a dough hook, knead it back together on low until the oils re-incorporate back into the solids. You can also use your hands but it can take more effort and you might end up continuing to warm the modeling chocolate, which is not what we want
- Please do not “drain” any of that fat away, you NEED it or else you’ll end up with a crumbly mess. Still edible. Not as useful.
- The struggle: My hands are hella warm. Chocolate is getting everywhere, please assist.
- Solution: set your A/C in the room to 70. Seems ridiculous. But it works. Helps solidify your chocolate a bit more and gives you more time to work with it.
- Wear gloves— extra layer of insulation, slows heat conduction.
- Use tools to jam your modeling chocolate into your molds or to mold them with — like the back side of a spoon.
- Let your modeling chocolate sit in the fridge for a few minutes before unmodling AND inbetween kneading
- The struggle: Modeling chocolate not releasing from molds
- Solution: place molded chocolate in fridge for a few minutes before releasing. They should harden up and pop right out!
- Use a light dusting of corn starch on the molds prior to adding chocolate to it.
- Storage: If kept in a cool dry place, homemade modeling chocolate can store for months. Keep it in an airtight container. I’ve stored pre-molded shapes for up to a month before using and it still remains “chewy” when consumed.
If you’ve never made your own modeling chocolate, I really hope this post inspires you to try! Don’t forget to tag us on social @borderlandsbakery if you do! Also, please check out our selection of silicone molds in our shop, perfect for modeling chocolate, fondant, gumpaste and even isomalt!!
Do you use modeling chocolate in your decorating endeavors today? Would love to hear your thoughts on it (love/hate?) And of course as always, let us know by commenting below if this was helpful/interesting and if you have any questions! Please also check out our SHOP for your favorite baking/decorating tools to support us in our efforts to keep sharing projects with you!