Friday, March 25, 2011

How to Make Modeling Chocolate


Modeling Chocolate (Candy Clay)

I have started to work with modeling chocolate quite a bit recently and I'm loving the texture and workability it has.  It's great for covering rice crispy treats up with and filling in all the grooves giving you a smooth surface to work with and perfect to making modeled figures with - seams are easily blended away and it dries instantly so no down time in building up a sculptured piece.  Here are photo's of the step by step to making modeling chocolate using Wilton White Candy Melts (I know, it's not really chocolate but the candy melts works marvelously - no worrying about tempering the chocolate correctly)....

Recipe Ratio:
16 oz Candy Melts (weighed)
3 oz Light Corn Syrup (4.5 oz weighed)

Line a tray with wax paper
Measure or weigh out the ingredients
(I used about 6 oz of candy melts to a little over 1oz syrup here)
Melt the chocolate
(In the microwave in 30 sec increments stirring in between until melted) 
Add the Light Corn Syrup
Note:  Once the corn syrup is added, do not stir too much.  It should only take about 4-5 stirs around the bowl before it comes together.  I usually stir once around folding the candy melts over the corn syrup.  Wait for about 4-5 seconds and give it one more stir folding the chocolate over.  Repeat for about 1-2 more times before it all comes together and that's it.  Don't worry about completely blending it all in, you will be kneading the whole thing together later and can blend everything in then.

The corn syrup reacts with the chocolate and siezes it a little - give it time, be patient and avoid overstirring or else the cocoa butter (when using real chocolate) separates and you get a very greasy ball of modeling chocolate.

Fold #1:  Fold the Chocolate over the corn syrup going around the bowl once
Fold #2:  Wait 4-5 seconds and go around the bowl a 2nd time folding the chocolate over
Fold #4-5:  Now it's ready.  It looks and feels like thick batter or like soft dough
Scrape the bowl clean and place the modeling chocolate over a piece of wax paper
Note:  I've noticed that with using wax paper, it helps absorb any grease and dries out the modeling chocolate perfectly.
Using the spatula, spread the modeling chocolate over the wax paper.
Add another layer of wax paper over it and smooth out flat & let it sit overnight
(I throw a dish cloth over this and let it sit on the kitchen counter  to set)

Peel the wax paper off, break off small pieces and knead it all together.
Your modeling chocolate is now ready to use.  If you want to color it, you can add it now and knead it in or use colored candy melts.  I've used Chef Master, Wilton and AmeriColors to color the modeling chocolate with and they all work well.  If you work the chocolate too much, it will get really soft and melt a bit so just put it down for a minute to cool and set before working it some more.

PS - You can also do a 50/50 mix of modeling chocolate with MMF to do figures or flowers with.  The fondant makes the modeling chocolate a little bit stiffer - the possibilities are endless.

Here are some of the things I've made with modeling chocolate:

Barney, Baby Bop, BJ, Standing #1
Woody and Jessie from Toy Story
Korean Hanbok Dol Cake Topper
Kai-Lan and Yeye Cake Topper
Head Cakes:  Toothless (left), Harry Potter (middle), Pokemon Haunter (right)

58 comments:

  1. Great post! Thanks for the tutorial! I've not worked with MC yet, but was planning on buying pre-made. If it's this easy, I will try making it myself. What brand(s?) of chocolate do you use?

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  2. wow! looks very easy I will definitely try, thanks for the tutorial!

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  3. You make it look so easy,thankyou for the tutoiral.

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  4. Chef Scott - I use the Wilton Candy Melts with easy and success. The 1st time I tried making MC, I made it with Guittard White Chocolate and I didn't temper it correctly and over stirred it so it was super greasy. I then tried the Wilton Candy Melts and it worked out so easily (no tempering involved) and I haven't gone back to trying it with real chocolate as of yet.

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  5. Your site is amazing. I got here through a post from a fellow blogger who you obviously inspired. You are so incredibly talented.

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  6. Wish I had seen this post 1 week early :(. Thank you so so much for the tutorial. I hate fondant and so I used marzipan to make figures for my son's bday cake. I am going to follow your method for all my future cakes. Can't thank you enough

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  7. Love your measuring cup :D Where did you get it? Thanks for the tutorial :).....I have tried making modeling chocolate and it never turns out but I like the way you do it. Got to try it sometime :) Where did you learn this technique or did you just figure this out?

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  8. Thanks Healthy Mom. I got the measuring cup at Sur La Table and love it (no need to grease it up or anything, just pour and push the stuff out). As for the technique, a lot of reading up and experimenting. After getting a grease ball a couple times from using real chocolate, I read on CC that candy melts works too and gave it a try. With the fear of getting the grease ball effect from over stirring, I tried to stir it as little as I could and found that the stuff basically reacts on its own and just let it do it's thing. Works well for me and it may work for others too.

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  9. Thank you for all of the wonderful tips and ideas. I was wondering if it is possible to paint figures that are made out of modeling chocolate?

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  10. Yes, it is possible to paint on modeling chocolate. If the paint isn't sticking, dust the surface lightly with corn starch.

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  11. I never tried modelling chocolate for decorating purposes. Thank you for giving us the preparation instructions!

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  12. do you use the gel colors or the powder? i always have the gels on hand but thought they would ruin the chocolate - just checking if you can get away with them :)

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  13. 16 oz Candy Melts (weighed)
    3 oz Light Corn Syrup (4.5 oz weighed)

    also - you have 3 and 4.5 oz fir the corn syrup - which is it?

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  14. ok -i think you mean liquid measure versus actual weight - just got it :)

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  15. TinaS, I use gel colors. As long as you use the colors after the MC has set, it'll be fine. Just don't knead it too much or else it'll get too warm, the oils start to separate and the MC will crumble - let it rest and cool down a bit between kneadings.

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  16. 3 oz measured with a measuring cup or 4.5 oz if you Choose to weigh the corn syrup instead.

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  17. What do you use to put pieces together of characters you're making? (i.e. putting head on body, arms, etc)? Would love a step by step tuturial on making characters with modeling chocolate!

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  18. I have bits and pieces of step by step photos on each of the links under the photo's shown above. Basically, I use a center support if it's tall such as popsicle stick that will go straight down from the head and down into the cake 3-4 inches. For smaller/shorter pieces, I use a piece of dry spaghetti to hold the head to the body (spaghetti is safer to bite into than a toothpick - kids!). Then use a tiny bit of clear piping gel to attach everything to each other, hold in place for a few seconds to dry or roll up some paper and prop it under the piece for support. I try to use as little "support" pieces as possible since kids are always eating these. I'll put together something soon - thanks for the request.

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  19. Thanks for the post & Tips! Your wk is lovely. Have you had any success with colored candy melts? I need to do a ladybug & wld rather not knead in all that red.

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  20. Hi MeraMera, yes, I've made a couple different colors: Red, Yellow, Blue, Violet, Black, Brown, Green. It's a lot easier than kneading in all the color. Even with the colored candy melts, you can add and mix different colors to get the shades you need...it's pretty flexible.

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  21. Hi, thanks for the tutorial. I have noticed however that the candy wafers in my stores are in 14 oz bags instead of 16oz. How much should I reduce the corn syrup to accomodate it? Thanks.

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    1. 2.6 oz measured corn syrup. There's 16:3 in the original recipe and you need 14:x. To figure out the x, take 14 times 3 then divide by 16. You actually get to use some math here - lol :)

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  22. Have you ever covered a cake with MC, just like you would with fondant? You mentioned mixing 50/50 of MC and MMF. What is MMF? Do you use bought fondant or do you make your own? I have only ever made my own, and it can be a finicky thing to make.

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    1. Yes, I have covered a cake with MC (see my Character Head Cakes for example). It doesn't stretch and give like fondant does so it really depends on what you're covering and want to achieve - works great when you want something to dry faster and harder or hold it's shape better such as on sculpted cakes. I've also covered cakes and sculpted figures in a 50/50 mix - you get the best of both worlds and again, it depends on the application - each has it's pros and cons. MMF is marshmallow fondant, recipe can be found along the top of the page under the MMF tab and I always make my own - I know it, I trust it, and I like how it works and feels but it's a personal preference and not the same for everyone.

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    2. Have you ever mixed gumpaste with mc? Does it set up harder than using fondant? I am going to be making characters for wedding cakes toppers this summer. Do you think the gumpaste or fondant would help keep the figures firmer? TIA

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    3. I haven't mixed gumpaste yet with MC but it would think it should work. Gumpaste dries really fast and hard. For the summer, I would stick with gumpaste for the toppers. MC will get soft under heat.

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  23. Hi...love your site! Quick question...I made modeling chocolate with white candy melts yesterday and it worked perfectly. Today I tried it with red and green and it's almost like there are little chunks of unmelted candy melts all throughout. I melted them completely before adding the corn syrup. I'm hoping as it sits out they will go away...any thoughts??

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    1. Hi KatieDids - Not a problem. You can knead out the little chunks. Mash them between your fingers and knead it into the candy clay. If you've used it, and you can see the little chunks, you can smooth away the surface by rubbing the bumps with your fingers (the heat of your hands will smooth it away).

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  24. Thanks for the very interesting information. I was wondering if you can use the MC in those fondant/gumpaste molds that make borders- will it be pliable/flexible to be able to go around the corners of a square cake? Can a person freeze it if they wanted to make the cake ahead and freeze?
    Thanks

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    1. Yes, you can use MC in molds but it's only pliable and flexible at the very beginning when it's still warm from being kneaded and you can use it to mold it around things. Just note that even though MC is pliable, it does not stretch out like fondant does. Once it sets (cools down from being kneaded) it gets hard and if you put it in the fridge or freezer, it will get really hard and not be pliable or flexible (you'll have to warm it back up or knead it to get it to be pliable again). Think of it as a chocolate candy bar - at room temperature you can bend it, mash it, do whatever to it but if the chocolate candy bar is cold out of the fridge, you can't bend it or mash it - it's rock hard until it get's warmed up a little bit. I've never froze a decorated cake with it so I can't say.

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  25. Hi i love your comprehensive instructions and your work too. How long can a batch last? what is the best container to keep it in? Where should it be stored? Thank you again!

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    1. Thank you EABoyer =) I wrap mine in wax paper (helps absorb any grease), zip lock it into a baggie and then into a sealable plastic tub. If you won't be using it for a while, you can store it for up to a year in the freezer. At room temperature, it lasts about 2-3 months (taste it before using it though - chocolate goes bad and depending on weather or how fresh/old the chocolate was before using it will effect how long it can last).

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  26. How do you store already made characters made of modeling chocolate? Also, how long can figures/characters be stored before use?

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    1. I store mine in an airtight container and keep them away from heat and sunlight. I make them 4-5 days prior and don't store them for very long.

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  27. I used your method for making modeling chocolate and it came out perfectly. I tried it again with red color and it's sticky. I think I may have used too much corn syrup. Can I melt down the modeling chocolate again and add more chocolate to get the proportion right or do I need to start again from scratch?

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    1. I'n sure you can remelt it and add more chocolate to it. Modeling chocolate can also be mixed with fondant and gumpaste too.

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  28. Thank you so much for sharing your spectacular cakes and wonderfully detailed instructions! Your tips for modeling chocolate are spot on. Please keep blogging!

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  29. Thanks for sharing I've had no luck with white chocolate, hopefully this will work for me.

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  30. Thanks for sharing, I made some white MC and it came out perfect. I've tried making white MC with chocolate and it never came out right. The candy melts are much easier. Thanks again!

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  31. hi, I made white modeling clay today, it was very easy. I let it set over night in plastic wrap ....but is still a little soft if I try to take a piece out.... like laffy taffy candy texture
    is that the texture? ....it will Dry hard when is expose to air?
    please give me some advice.
    thank you for sharing

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    1. Hi Cynthia. When I make mine, it's hard and I have to break/crack off the pieces to knead it. Once you knead it, it'll be like soft taffy or fondant. Leave a piece out and see if it'll dry hard. It may work.

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    2. thank you Angela for your fast respond. Well I let a piece out before went to work. when I came back (9 hours)later it still was soft. I took out the candy clay from the zip lock and it was glossy and soft with a film of oil. I try to absorb it with severals napkings and let it out for a few hours and is still soft. I am not giving up.... I will make it again....a will try with milk chocolate.. My be is because of the humidity ( I live in the Caribbean so the weather is hot always.. thank you again ...

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    3. If you'll be using the same type of chocolate as before, try using a little less corn syrup too.

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  32. Replies
    1. Marshmallow Fondant. Along the top of the page, there is a tab named Marshmallow Fondant (MMF) Recipes.

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  33. At what point will the chocolate stay in its shape? I live in a hot area with little to no humidity. Thank you for your tips.

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    1. Once you shape it, it sets up in a couple of minutes. If you need to it set faster or it's hot out, pop it in the fridge or freezer for 5 minutes.

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  34. Have you ever rolled the modeling chocolate to cover a cake-my younget daughter hates the taste of fondant
    would like a faux bois effect-while my first attempt was not bad using milk chocolate piped into a wood grain on acetate-freezing to firm then pouring melted white chocolate over I am not sure it will be pliable enough to apply to a cake
    judi

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    1. Hi Judi, Yes, I have covered a cake with modeling chocolate (see my head cakes - Toothless, Lego and Pokemon character heads). It is not pliable so you can't stretch it. You can wrap a cake with it though and blend in the seam. I have made chocolate MMF that tastes like a tootsie roll (see my recipe for MMF using candy melts but use milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips instead). You can also flavor MMF with LorAnn Oils - a few drops goes a long way.

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  35. love your tutorial! just a couple of questions, i am making a dinosaur for a cake and i was going to make it out of rice krispies and cover it in modeling chocolate(which will be the first time i will be using it)should i put the put the chocolate directly on the cereal or ice it first? and can i attach the chocolate in pieces and smooth together since it will be a odd shape? or should i even use the rice krispies? the dinosaur will be about 6 inches long ang about 4 inches high. thanks















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    1. I just put the mod choc straight on the RKT. Seams are easy to blend with mod choc so you can either cover it whole and mold or attach it piece by piece. RKT makes it light and edible. You can do it straight gumpaste but it'll be heavy and won't taste as good.

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  36. Hi, I tried using the Guittard chocolates and I may have stirred it too much. It was oily when I wrapped it with parchment paper and was not smooth. Can I still correct this?

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    1. Try kneading it more but let it rest if it gets too warm from you hands a few minutes at a time. I should come together. Oiliness could be from the chocolate being too hot when the corn syrup was added. Read this piece for more info (helped me alot): http://www.hungryhappenings.com/p/chocolate-making-tips.html

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  37. hello,
    thank you for your article. Can I melt MC and pour into my mold ,then pop in freezer to harden .I just made a people mold using amazing mold putty,but can not get all the facial features to come out right when i tried pushing MC in to molds. thanks

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    1. first you have to have a good impression of the facial features in the mold to begin with. If you do, then squeeze/mash in a small amount of the MC into the mold (enough to cover the front portion of the face. Then fill in the mold with more MC. Pop it into the freezer for about 5-10 minutes for the MC to firm up then pop them out and lay them flat and allow them to dry.

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  38. Hey I was wondering have you vovered a vake with MC before I dont like fondant so just wondering how it would work with MC im making a bustier cake for my husband this Friday gonna try with MC ill post pics if it works out wish me,luck lol

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    1. Hi Jenny. I've covered a cake before in MC but keep in mind, it doesn't stretch like fondant does. Have you tried flavoring your fondant? I make MMF and flavor it sometimes with LorAnn oils such as cream cheese, lemon or strawberry. Also, you can mix MC with fondant 50/50 to get the best of both worlds - workability and flavor. Best of luck!

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