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Here's my recipe for delicious chocolate robots!

In this Instructable, I'll explain how to make ganache-filled chocolate goodies in the shape of everybody's favourite robot. Of course, you could make them in any shape you wanted, but I can't imagine why you wouldn't want your chocolates to look like robots...

This should be a great home project for (supervised) kids and families, as all of the ingredients and materials are relatively safe (if used properly) and can be cheaply sourced without much difficulty. No specialist equipment is needed and you can make it all in your own kitchen during a single weekend. And did I mention that it involves a lot of chocolate?

I recommend reading my "how to sculpt chocolate" Instructable before this one, as it uses a lot of the same principles.

Health, Safety and Legality

This project uses Sculpey, a polymer clay that can be cured in a home oven. Sculpey contains some potentially harmful chemicals (phthalates), which is why it is not suitable for making crockery that will be used to serve food. In this project, Sculpey never comes in contact with food, but it does come in contact with a surface that is later used to form chocolate. My personal view is that any risk of the chocolate becoming contaminated with dangerous chemicals is negligible (and further mitigated by thorough washing of the silicone moulds). However, this is certainly a deviation from Sculpey's intended use and I cannot guarantee that inadvertent Sculpey exposure will not occur.

Please also choose your silicone carefully. Use food grade silicone, which is available in cartridges from plumbing supply stores. Don't ingest it, inhale it or inject it into any family pets.

Also, one of these ganache recipes contains alcohol and is best served only to non-teetotal adults.
 
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Step 1: What you'll need

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Yes, you're going to need some things. I recommend having a glance through the rest of the Instructable before you read this list, so that you can get a feel for just what you'll need and why.

Modelling materials:
  • Sculpey modelling clay
  • Food grade silicone
  • Plasticine (optional)
Edible ingredients:

  • Plenty of high-quality chocolate for the shells and the fillings (look for chocolate that contains real cocoa butter rather than cheaper vegetable shortenings)
For the lime and chili ganache:
  • 2 limes
  • 2 bird's eye chili peppers
  • 120g of dark chocolate (>70% cocoa solids)
  • 80ml of double cream
  • 1 teaspoon of butter
  • A dash of maple syrup
For the espresso ganache:
  • 2 teaspoons of instant coffee
  • 120g of dark chocolate (>70% cocoa solids)
  • 80ml of double cream
  • 1 teaspoon of butter
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
For the Baileys ganache
  • 120g of white chocolate
  • 60 ml of double cream
  • 20 ml of Baileys Irish Cream
  • 1 teaspoon of butter
  • A dash of maple syrup
Useful tools and equipment:
  • Sculpting tools
  • Spare toothbrush
  • Baking tray
  • Aluminium foil
  • Craft knife
  • Kitchen knife
  • Double boiler or bain-marie
  • Milk thermometer (or other thermometer capable of accurate readings between 30 and 50 degrees Celsius)
  • Saucepan & hob
  • Refrigerator
  • Sieve
  • Dremel and dust mask (very optional)
Right, enough lollygagging. Let's make things!

Step 2: Sculpt a robot

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The first things you're going to make are several Sculpey models from which you'll cast silicone moulds (and eventually chocolate shells).

Knead your Sculpey until it is pliable, then shape it into the body of your first robot. Make its torso only a few centimetres long and try to keep it quite shallow. This will determine the size of your eventual chocolate pieces, so make it bite-sized.

Once you have the basic shape, gradually build up details until you have a finished Sculpey robot.

Be sure to only make shapes with wide, flat backs. You'll only be making one-part moulds, so you won't be able to have any detail on the model's rear. More importantly, the models need to be able to slide backward out of their moulds without breaking the moulds, so make sure they don't taper towards the rear. The best way to think about this is like an ice cube tray; the opening of each slot has to be big enough for the ice to get out as well as for the water to get in.

Step 3: Keep sculpting!

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Don't stop at one; keep making robots until you run out of clay or patience.

The more models you have initially, the more moulds you will be able to make at the same time. The more moulds you have, the faster you can produce chocolates. Patience = more chocolate.

Step 4: Bake your models

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Spread an aluminium sheet on a baking tray and carefully transfer your Sculpey robots onto it.

Bake them according to the instructions on the Sculpey packet. The thicker you have made your robots, the longer they will take to harden.

Step 5: Leave models to cool

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Carefully remove the hot models from the oven and leave them to cool.

Step 6: Smooth out any imperfections

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If you feel so inclined, use a Dremel rotary tool to smooth out any rough spots or unwanted burrs on the models. Be sure to wear a good dust mask, as you really don't want to inhale the clay dust.

Step 7: Embed models in plasticine

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You now need to prepare your hardened Sculpey models so that they can be coated in silicone.

You'll want your silicone mould to have a sharp, well-defined edge. The best way to do this is to embed the Sculpey model in a thin layer of plasticine before you coat it in silicone. That way, no silicone will sneak around the back of your models and there will be a neat, continuous edge around your moulds' borders.


Step 8: Coat models in silicone

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Carefully extrude food grade silicone so that each of your models is covered by a layer no more than half a centimetre thick. Resist the urge to make your moulds any thicker, as they will take much longer to dry and may well end up never drying fully. The thinness of the moulds is also important in maintaining their flexibility, allowing you to remove the chocolate from them later.

Use a small spatula or a piece of scrap card to smooth down the silicone and work it into any nooks and crannies on your models. Try to avoid incorporating any air bubbles or leaving any gaps.

Leave the silicone to set for about 24 hours in a well ventilated room. It will stink of vinegar as it releases acetic acid during the curing process. Fight the temptation to come back and prod it while it's still drying.

In the images below, I experimented with two different brands of silicone, one opaque and one transparent. Both gave fine results.

Step 9: Empty the moulds

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Are they dry? Really? Well done for waiting!

Cautiously peel the now dry silicone moulds away from the Sculpey models, which you can set aside. If you're planning to make another set of moulds, you can repeat the previous step and leave them to dry while you continue with the project.

Step 10: Clean the moulds

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Using a spare toothbrush, thoroughly scrub out and dust, hairs or bits of modelling clay from the inside of the moulds. Wash them under hot, soapy water.
Repeat the scrubbing several times to be sure or removing any unwanted contaminants on the surface of the moulds.

Dry the moulds well, so that you don't introduce moisture into your chocolate.

Now let's get cooking!

Step 11: Prepare the ganache ingredients

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I've included three ganache recipes here, but there are countless other available online. These three recipes all use the same process of scalding a mixture of cream, butter and sugar and then pouring it over chocolate, so get your ingredients ready.

Step 12: Lime and chili ganache

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My favourite of my ganaches, this has an immediate hit of lime amid bitter chocolate, but then leaves a warm and subtle afterglow of chili pepper in the mouth:

Remove the seeds from the bird's eye peppers and chop them finely.

Zest the two limes.

Pour the cream into a saucepan and add the chopped peppers and half the lime zest.

Add the butter and the maple syrup.

In a separate bowl, break the chocolate into small pieces and add the remaining lime zest.

Bring the cream mixture to a boil on a gentle heat, then immediately strain it through a sieve onto the chocolate.

Let the creamy chocolate sit for a minute, then stir it until it is uniformly smooth. You may have to briefly reheat it in order to fully melt the chocolate, but this usually isn't necessary.

Leave the mixture to cool at room temperature, then place in the refrigerator to harden.

Step 13: Espresso ganache

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For an intense coffee hit, try this espresso ganache:

Pour the cream into a saucepan and add the instant coffee

Add the butter and the sugar.

In a separate bowl, break the chocolate into small pieces.

Bring the cream mixture to a boil on a gentle heat, then immediately pour it onto the chocolate.

Let the creamy chocolate sit for a minute, then stir it until it is uniformly smooth. You may have to briefly reheat it in order to fully melt the chocolate, but this usually isn't necessary.

Leave the mixture to cool at room temperature, then place in the refrigerator to harden.

Step 14: Baileys ganache

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This alcoholic ganache is somewhat divisive; some love it as much as others hate it. If you like Baileys Irish Cream, you'll probably enjoy its sickly sweet flavour:

Pour the cream and the Baileys into a saucepan add the butter and the maple syrup.

In a separate bowl, break the chocolate into small pieces.

Bring the cream mixture to a boil on a gentle heat, then immediately pour it onto the chocolate.

Let the creamy chocolate sit for a minute, then stir it until it is uniformly smooth. You may have to briefly reheat it in order to fully melt the chocolate, but this usually isn't necessary.

There's a chance that the butter will separate out, leaving a slimy and non-uniform mess of goo (see third picture). If this happens, don't panic! Just return the mixture to the saucepan, add a little bit more cream and heat it very gently while stirring. A bit of whisking should return it to a lovely velvety state.

Leave the mixture to cool at room temperature, then place in the refrigerator to harden.

Step 15: Temper the chocolate

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Decide on which type of chocolate you'll use for the shells around your ganache. I opted to cover the lime and chili ganache in dark chocolate and the coffee and the Baileys ganaches in milk chocolate.

You're now going to have to temper the chocolate. The instructions below are a quick summary of a longer tutorial on how to temper chocolate by scoochmaroo.

Guess how much you'll need to fill your moulds, then add a little bit more than that to a double boiler or bain-marie. Reserve a few squares of chocolate to the side.

Bring the chocolate up to 48 degrees Celsius for dark chocolate or 45 degrees for milk chocolate, then remove it from the heat and immediately add the reserved (unmelted) chocolate.

Let the chocolate cool to 32 degrees Celsius for dark chocolate or 30 degrees for milk chocolate.

It's now ready to pour. Taste it to make sure. Hmmm. Better taste it again to double check.

Mmmm...

Yes, it's ready.

Step 16: Prepare the moulds for pouring

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Line up your moulds on a flat surface, ready to be filled with chocolate.

Put a small scrunched up piece of wet kitchen towel underneath each one so that it doesn't roll around. Be very careful not to get any water inside the moulds.

If your ganache fillings are still in the refrigerator, get them out so that they can soften slightly.

Step 17: Pour the first layer

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Spoon a thin layer of chocolate into the base of each mould.

Once all of the moulds are covered by a thin coating of chocolate, place them in the refrigerator to set.

Try not to let the remaining chocolate cool below 30 degrees Celsius, as you will need it again soon.

Step 18: Add the ganache fillings

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Retrieve the moulds from the refrigerator. They should now be lined with a layer of hard, glossy chocolate.

Using a pair of teaspoons, scoop up ganache and form it into balls small enough to fit inside the belly of each robot.

Place one ball of ganache inside each robot and flatten it out very slightly.

Step 19: Cover the ganache

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Immediately pour chocolate into the remaining space inside each mould, so that the entire cavity is full.

Level off the surface with a knife if you're concerned about them looking messy.

Return the moulds to the refrigerator until the chocolate is fully set.

Step 20: Remove the chocolates from their moulds

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Here's the moment of truth...

Bring the moulds out of the refrigerator and, one by one, carefully turn them inside out onto a clean, flat surface. In doing so, you should liberate a small army of chocolate robots to do your bidding.

You may notice that some of them have been born with a little too much chocolate. Don't worry: we can remedy that.

Step 21: Tidy the details

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Use a warm knife, fork or toothpick to carefully scratch away any extra bits of chocolate that shouldn't be there.

If there are holes where there shouldn't be, then fill them in.

You'll be amazed at how malleable chocolate is once you start try to sculpt with it. Be warned, though: if you spend too long doing this under bright lights, the smallest touch will warp your robots beyond repair...

Step 22: Mmm... chocolate robots...

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Bask in the deliciousness of your tiny ganache-stuffed robots.

If you feel so inclined, share them.

Step 23: Make more!

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Now that you have the moulds, there's nothing stopping you from making hundreds of these little critters.

Enjoy!
SparkySolar8 months ago

wicked awesoe.I added you to my collection.

Rima

SparkySolar8 months ago

wicked awesoe.I added you to my collection.

Rima

canida4 years ago
These arrived in lab on Friday, and look AWESOME!
We couldn't bring ourselves to eat any of them - seemed like cannibalism. ;)
PenfoldPlant (author)  canida4 years ago
Great, I was really worried that they'd have melted into a homogeneous lump of delicious brown goo by the time they arrived!
Don't feel guilty about eating them, as I'm fairly sure the First Law of Robotics would class unnecessary hunger as a form of harm.
:-D
yum!
Mmmm...
poofrabbit4 years ago
These make me giggle, nice job
PenfoldPlant (author)  poofrabbit4 years ago
:-)

I aim to please.
Biggsy4 years ago
This is AWESOME matey! One of my coveted high fives for you!

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PenfoldPlant (author)  Biggsy4 years ago
Thanks, Biggsy!
*BAM*
*almost knocks over monitor again*
I am not in any way responsible for any damages that you may incur when claiming your high five. These include but are not limited to, damage to computers, wrists electrocution, surprise, and bouts of uncontrollable laughter

;)
Chirpoff Biggsy4 years ago
LOL! ROFL :D

Just pulled my last batch of chocolate chip cookies out of the oven. (careful not to drool on your keyboard) This site is hazardous to computers! :D
Clay + Molding + Casting + Robots + Chocolate + Great Photos = Awesome
PenfoldPlant (author)  HerArtSheLoves4 years ago
Thanks very much! I'm glad you like it :-)
splazem4 years ago
I could never eat the robot. But I WOULD display them! Great job!
PenfoldPlant (author)  splazem4 years ago
Cheers, splazem. I know what you mean - it'll be a shame to eat them, but I have the moulds so I can always make more.

Warning: may contain nuts (and bolts)
gmjhowe4 years ago
Amazing!
PenfoldPlant (author)  gmjhowe4 years ago
:-D