Introduction: Custom Made; Shaped, Flavoured and Coloured Chocolates.
Everyone loves chocolates. This instructable will guide you through making customised latex chocolate moulds followed by making the chocolates with a variety of flavours and colours.
Step 1: Introduction and Inspiration.
This project was extremely fun and stressful, I had never used latex or made chocolates before and this project provided a lot of knowledge. I hope I have included as much of it in this instructable. One of the first lessons learnt is; you need plenty of time (1 week atleast) when creating the latex moulds and a good solid few hours to create the chocolates. I didn't provide myself either of these and hence this project was very rushed, however, the recipient was still quite impressed with them.
Chocolates are great gifts but they do get quite boring, hence the need to create your own. Whilst countless chocolate moulds are available, it is a lot more fun and impressive creating individualised moulds.
Now why the Freddo Frog?
Simply because the planned recipient of these chocolates is a huge fan of them. They also work well as chocolate (they are already chocolate), come in two different sizes, and are fairly boring as they are. Also, I like the idea of managing to copy a design (quite accurately) with minimum time and cost.
A few points to note while reading this instructable are; I am located in Perth, Western Australia. Hence, any store references are all Australian based. Also, all prices are in Australian dollars.
Step 2: Making the Moulds - Intro to Latex and Equipment Listing.
Latex was used for the moulds due to its 'ease' of use. I was already aware of chocolate moulds being made from latex. It is also non-hazardous when dried, it does produce some nasty fumes in its liquid state though.
Latex is used by applying thin layers on top of the desired object. Latex air dries and dries the fastest (around 1 to 2 hours) when the layer is thin (around 1mm). In order to obtain a solid/rigid mould multiple layers must be applied. This is the process that takes the most time. To produce a mould of 1cm thickness, approximately 10-15 coats will be needed. I, like most people don't spend much time at home, which means I can only add a new coat when I come home. Hence, if 3 coats are added a day (one when you wake up, one mid day and one before going to bed) it will take around 1 week to produce a good mould. I made mine in 3 days and you will see what it looks like when things are rushed.
Caution: Latex in its liquid state produces a very strong paint like smell. It is recommended to be used in a well ventilated area.
Latex: varieties defined by thickness.
First purchase was from Aldax Moulds, Kwik Mold Latex No.70 (500ml). Total including postage was $15. Very low viscosity, this created very thin layers, which ment more time spent creating the mould. As suggested by the manufacturer it is ideal for the first few coats which will imprint the details.
Second purchase was from Industrial Rubber Supplies, whilst they didn't know much about it "I don't even know why we stock it", it was a lot thicker. Total cost was $27.50 for 1L. Approximately half of the container was used for this project, compared to the insignificant amount of thinner latex used.
Casting object: (Not exactly sure what the correct term is)
This is the object that will eventually be replicated with chocolate. Ideally it should have a flat base, this allows for you to fill your moulds (definitely the easiest). However, any simple shapes should work, but may require two half moulds, similar to how Easter eggs are created. Latex is very soft and stretchy, so shapes do not have to have tapered edges to make removal easier.
Containers: any containers will work, I used takeaway containers.
Paintbrush: medium sized brush for painting the latex onto the casting object.
Newspaper: always good to have around your working area.
Fan: Latex air dries, the circulation of air around your mould will speed up the drying process.
Step 3: Making the Moulds - Pictures and End Product.
The following pictures out line the mould making process.
Click on images and their notes for the step by step description.
Please note the third image and what happens when too much latex is applied. It doesn't look very appealing at all. If you make your mould from existing chocolate similar to me, I do not recommend you eat the chocolate after it has served its purpose.
Step 4: Making the Chocolates - Introduction and Materials List.
Now we are up to the fun part; making any flavour and colour chocolate variety you desire.
Before you obtain the materials it is a good idea to have an idea of the varieties you want to make. I searched the net myself to get inspiration and this is what was decided.
nuts: work very well in milk chocolate. Initially I wanted to use macadamia but ended up using hazelnuts as this was all I could find.
100s and 1000s: very nice looking mixed with white chocolate.
rainbow coloured: A Freddo Frog coloured rainbow.
flavouring: I chose strawberry but there are endless flavourings available.
cream filling: I chose lemon, but again there are many filling flavours available.
swirl/marble: this was a combination of milk and white chocolate to create an effect
love heart: obligatory love heart needed to be added somewhere.
actual Freddo Frog colours: imitating the actual colours onto the chocolate. This didn't turn out well.
Now from this list there are a few specialty items you will need to obtain, and I recommend buying these from a store that specialises in chocolate making supplies. The place I purchased these items from was Choc Art.
These specialty items are as follows:
Colouring powders: do not use water based. 8 Powder Colours (2g each) $12 for a set.
Flavouring oils: do not use essence or water based flavouring. 25ml $2.95 each.
Cream fillings: I had no idea how to make this myself, but I am sure it could be done. 300g (way too much) $3.75 each.
Materials that can be purchased from your local supermarket are the nuts, 100's & 1000's and melting chocolate. White chocolate will be used the most so might be a good idea to purchase more.
Step 5: Making the Chocolates - Basic Chocolate Techniques.
To fill the moulds the chocolate needs to be melted. Chocolate requires very little aheat; if the heat is too direct it will burn the chocolate. The easiest method to melt chocolate is over simmering water. A large frying pan was used with two cups for white and milk chocolate. The heat can be constantly left on allowing the chocolate to remain melted and ready for use.
When combining the chocolate with nuts or 100s & 1000s. I used separate plastic containers as this doesn't contaminate the two melting cups. The chocolate will remain melted for quite a little while when not over a heat source.
Filling the moulds is straight forward, simply spoon the melted chocolate mixture into the moulds. Then place the moulds into the freezer for approximately 10 minutes to set (longer for fridges)
Once set remove the chocolate from the moulds carefully, preventing damage to the chocolate.
Step 6: Making the Chocolates - Colours.
Colours are a lot of fun and create a lot of possibilities. Using colours alone would be quite impressive.
If you are making a single colour (the pink strawberry Freddo Frog) it is quite straight forward and can be made in a single container. However, multiply colours (the rainbow Freddo Frog) are easier on a mixing plate.
The colouring powder can only be added to white chocolate. Only a few grains of powder are required.
Step 7: Final Presentation and Pictures.
When storing the chocolates make sure it is away from moisture. Clean the edges with a knife to make them more presentable. It may be an idea to slightly blow the chocolate with a hairdryer or heat gun to make the faces melted and more shinier. Minimise the amount of handling as this leaves fingerprints, use gloves if available.
Obviously make more chocolate then you plan on giving, this allows you to chose the best ones and also keep some of the chocolate for yourself.
For presenting them I initially wanted to place them in a presentation plastic box, these can be bought from any store that sells chocolate making supplies. However, the box I bought wasn't large enough. Instead, I used transparent plastic (so the chocolates are still visible) and some ribbon to create a bow.