Introduction: Chocolate Cups
Have you ever been at a fancy restaurant with friends, co workers, or loved ones and thought about how you would attack the food like Gollum if nobody was watching? Well now you can do just that while in the comforts of your own home!
*Alternatively you could make this for those same people to blow their socks off.
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Step 1: Get Your Gear!
This may look intimidating but it's not incredibly hard to do.( I would give it a 4/10 in terms of difficulty) As long as you pay attention to what you are doing, things will come together nicely. Additionally most of the components can be bought or made really easily. Only takes maybe 20 minutes of prep and about 3-5 hours of waiting for things to set. While you wait, go make something else really cool, read a book, call up that special someone you have been crushing on, or take a nap. Or don't do anything, the choice is yours!
Here's what you will need
1.) Mid sized mixing bowl and a large mixing bowl - Preferably plastic, as it will be easier to clean up and will retain less heat. (more on the heat bit later)
2.) A thermometer - This is crucial, If you don't already have an instant read thermometer go get one! It makes cooking much easier. I would recommend a probe thermometer over an infrared one (more on this later)
3.) Wax paper - This will make your life so much easier, put it on the counter before you start, and tada! look how easy cleanup was!
4.) Rubber spatula - Much easier to mix with this than your hands.
5.) Plates- I used Chinet 7 inch plastic plates, you can pick these up at walmart for like $3 for 12 and I highly recommend them. You could alternatively use saucers, or any small plate.
6.) Thin plastic sheet with a final measurement of 3.5 in by 8 in - I have no idea what material mine were made from but they worked great. If you go to any art store, or apparently walmart, you should be able to find similar sheets. They are primarily used for making stencils, and are really flexible. The exact ones that I used were made by Plaid and it was the 3 stencil pack measuring 7in x 10in and were cut down to the desired dimensions.
7.) Palette knife - This is pretty important, prevents your hands from getting messy, allows a nice even spread, and prevents surface bubbles. I would recommend getting one of the longer rectangular ones instead of the spade one I have pictured.
8.) Circular forms - I went with some pvc coupling parts with an internal diameter of 2.5 inches. Since I was only making two It worked great, but If I was making more I would cut a pvc pipe with the same internal diameter as it would end up costing a lot less. I was also considering the use of soda cans, as they were about the right size and in hindsight they would probably work fine.
9.) Cling wrap - not much to say about this.
10.) Something to cut chocolate with- I used my knife (it looks weird because I have thinned it out a bit so it will cut better)
11.) A double boiler or a microwave- In this instructable I will be using a microwave because I don't have a double boiler. If you have a double boiler just watch the temp and you will be fine.
12.) Chocolate - I used dark chocolate, If you want to use milk the temps will be different ( more on this later) Aim for having excess amounts of chocolate, I used a half pound for 2 Choco-Cups, but ended up with a lot of leftover chocolate....oh nooo what a tragedy!
13.) A flat surface you can heat up - I used a non stick skillet, but really anything flat will work fine.
That should be all of the big things, there may be some more things that I missed so let me know if you have any questions!
Step 2: Sizing Your Cup
Alright, if you already have 3.5 in by 8 in sheets of plastic then skip this.
Roll your sheet up, and stick it in the circular mold (aka pvc coupling) mark off any overhang assuming everything is parallel. You are looking to have maybe .5 inch of overhang, this will help in the demolding process.
Good news for those of you that have bigger sheets, you can now make your cups any size you want, take that you people who thought you were prepared! As long as you have about the same amount of overhang (about .5 inches) the rest of the dimensions can fluxuate. A bigger mold will let you put in more ice cream, a smaller mold could be used for shots.
Step 3: Mark and Cut
If you bought exactly what I did, then just cut 2 inches off the top (remove the section with the cutout that allows people to hang this in the store)
Step 4: Final Strip Measurements
Again, if you are using what I used, cut what you have in half, so the final measurements should be 3.5in by 8in.
Step 5: Ideal Fit
After all is done and said, this is what the fit will look like in the pvc.
Now go make as many as you need!
Step 6: Chop That Chocolate
Oh baby, now we are talking. Look at that chocolate, amazing right?
Anyway the finer the cut, the faster it will melt, the bigger the chunk the longer it will take. Who would have guessed!
PROTIP- cut on the corners of the chocolate, it will take a lot less effort!
Step 7: Microwave Your Chocolate
Don't judge me, but I did use a microwave for my chocolate. For people that do not have a double boiler or want to make things go by a little faster, this works great!
SUPER IMPORTANT- Use 20-30 second intervals to start!
You do not want to overheat your chocolate or else the fats will begin separating from the chocolate, leaving you with an abomination of an end product! Between each session stir up the chocolate with your spatula then measure the heat.
Step 8: Uh Oh!
Fun science time! First let me preface that all temperatures listed are for DARK CHOCOLATE, milk chocolate has slightly lower temperature ranges. Apparently chocolate has a crystalline structure with multiple types of crystal formations inside. Each of these has a specific melting point, and the one we want for the perfect structure, happens to melt away at 93F. If the chocolate is brought past that point and cooled it will be matte, won't snap right, and will taste slightly off.
So how do we keep this awesome structure? Well either be really patient and heat it to just beneath 93F (I would stick to mid to high 80's) and stir forever until everything is thoroughly melted.
Or we could temper the chocolate by heating, cooling and then heating again. If it sounds intimidating, you would be amazed at how easy this can be!
For a lot more detail on this science CLICK HERE it also contains details about milk chocolate. If enough people want it I will include details for milk chocolate in this instructable as well.
Step 9: Bring It Just Over 100F
I would aim for 100f as each type of crystal will have melted at that point. To do so, just microwave for 5 second intervals stirring in between until you hit the target temp.
DO NOT GO ABOVE 120F
Above 120f the fats will begin to separate from the chocolate, which is very bad. This is exceptionally easy to avoid though so dont worry too much!
Step 10: One Way to Cool Down
So one way to re-introduce that crystal is by adding more pre-made chocolate and mixing until it's thoroughly combined. I tried this, and felt like it took forever.
Step 11: Method 2
I really like learning about how heat affects things, and when I learned how to heat treat knives I also learned a lot about how to cool things quickly. A simple brine is a very good extractor of heat, so thats what we will be making. To do so, add chilled water to a bowl larger than your chocolate bowl. Then add enough salt to float an egg. This works because science...actually if anyone knows why exactly this works, I would love to hear!
Step 12: Put Your Bowl In
Now stir! The parts touching the bowl will cool rather quickly and you should see and feel the consistency change in the chocolate. Take it out after 30 seconds of stirring and measure the temp, you are looking to be below 80F
Step 13: Bring It Up a Nudge
Now using 5 second intervals heat and stir and take the temp. It should easily reach the right temp and be a uniform consistency.
Step 14: Paper Test
If you want to make sure you did everything right you can test via paper. Dip in a corner of a piece of paper and then let the paper rest for about 2 mins
Step 15: It Shouldn't Do This
If after 2 mins if it looks like wet sand, and kind of sticks to your finger a little then you may want to re-temper
Step 16: It Should Look Like This
If its a lil glossy and touching it doesn't do much then you are probably fine. If I really wanted too I probably could have gone again but its close enough.
For even more detail on tempering CHECK THIS LINK OUT this person does a great job describing the paper test!
Step 17: Add a Touch of Oil to the Underside of a Plate
Ok phew, the tempering part is the hardest part of this whole thing, smooth sailing from here on out!
Take out one of those plates you got and lightly oil that puppy up. (Who oils puppies? Thats weird, i'm sorry)
This will help the cling wrap separate from the plate a little easier
Step 18: Clng Wrap
Take a good sized piece of cling wrap and pull it over the plate, making sure that it is tightly pulled, this will help prevent wrinkles which will transfer to the chocolates texture. Who really wants wrinkles on their chocolate?
Alternatively you might be able to put the chocolate directly on the underside of the plate, only if its plastic.
Step 19: Blob That Chocolate
Its time to add the chocolate! Just guestimate how much you will need to cover the plate. Aim for a thinner layer of chocolate as it will crunch a lot easier which will make the dish more fun and delicate.
Step 20: Use the Knife to Smear
Use the palette knife to smear around the chocolate making sure that you fill all gaps and keep a uniform thickness.
Follow the same steps for the plastic strips, they will not need the cling film or olive oil.
Step 21: Roll Your Chocolate
Roll up the strip and fit it in the mold, then open it up a little so it fills the mold better. If that doesn't make sense don't worry about it.
Step 22: Fill the Gap
Put your finger in the chocolate and start covering the seam with a healthy amount of chocolate.
Now let everything rest on the counter for about 3-5 hours minimum.
DO NOT PUT IT IN THE FRIDGE
Step 23: Look at That Surface Quality
Now unwrap your roll gingerly, and expect the lil bit of overhang to fall off.
Step 24: Delicatly Peel the Plate
If you are more pro than I am peel the plate away and don't allow any of the rim to break off.
Step 25: Or Just Say Screw It and Remove the Lip
I think it makes for a cleaner presentation and far easier to remove. If you used the same brand of plate as me then this should be a really easy thing to do. Also the extra bits can be used a garnish!
Step 26: Melt the Base
Sorry I don't have a photo of me melting the chocolate on the skillet. For this step you are going to take out a skillet and put it on high heat for a minute or two. Then take the cylindrical chocolate piece and place one side onto the hot surface of the skillet. This will melt the chocolate and form a perfect circle free of any gaps or voids. Then gingerly press the cylinder into the base disk. WARNING too much pressure will break your work!
Kablam! Now you have a cup that should be able to hold fluid with little and quite possibly no leakage!
Lets fill it with stuff!
Step 27: Lady Fingers
To further prevent any fluids running out of the bottom, it will help to have some sort of bread like thing at the base. I wanted something nice and spongy and nearly flavorless. Ladyfingers seemed like a perfect fit, alternatively you could use some pound cake or even an oreo, go play!
Step 28: Liquids Will Not Escape This
Plop your lady-finger-disk in the bottom of the cup, gingerly!
Step 29: Add Ice Cream and Top It With Goodness
Add some ice cream, some bits of toffee and a couple of wafers and there you have it your very own Choco-Cup!
Play around with fillings, experiment with chocolate making and have fun!
Just be sure to wipe up any excess ice cream off the side, keep it professional and classy!
Step 30: Put on Your Pjs and Rip Into the Goodness
Now demolish all that hard work and enjoy!
If you have any questions feel free to ask!