Some Basic Guidelines
1. Water and chocolate are NOT friends.
Chocolate is an oil based vegetable. Moisture, like water or steam can cause it to have a dull, unappetizing finish, and may thicken it so it will not pour and mold/handle properly.
2. Too much heat spells "The End Of The Road" for chocolate.
Chocolate melts between 98o to 100o F. This is very easy to remember because it just so happens that your body temperature is normally 98.6o, which means if you hold chocolate in your hands it will melt! Chocolate can't stand to be boiled any more than you can. So, for example, NEVER use a pot of boiling water to set it in. Avoid over heating chocolate like the plague.
3. Like friendship, when treated with care chocolate will last and last and last.
This means that you can store it for long periods of time and reuse it (melt/re-melt) many times over.
4. How much chocolate to start with?
You will become an expert very fast, but here's a quick guide: An average lollipop uses 1 ounce. A bite sized mold uses 1/2 ounce. Therefore, since 16 ounces = 1 pound [which we know you remembered ! :-)] you will get about 16 lollipops, or 32 bite size candies from a pound of chocolate. One of our standard size molds [all the cavities being used] will require about 1/3 to 1/2 pound. Best all around bet?? Start with 1 pound. Remember.......... it will not be wasted!
5. Use microwave and freezer safe containers
For chocolate melting and handling. All such containers should be smooth, flexible plastic, and always be dry. You'll not only get nice looking candy, but the clean up will be a snap [literally].
Making molded chocolate candy
1. Melting in a Microwave (recommended)
Put 1 lb. of chocolate in a bowl. Microwave on half power for 1 minute, then stir [it will not be all melted at this point]. Do it again. Repeat the process until the chocolate is mixed well. When ready to use it will pour from a spoon like syrup. Remember don't overcook your chocolate.
2. Melting in a Double Boiler
Put 1 lb. of chocolate in a bowl/pan & set in the outer pan that has the water in it. Heat on the LOW position (do not bring water to a boil), and stir as it starts to melt. This will take around 15 minutes, so you need to be patient.
3. Fill Molds
Either spoon it into the mold cavities, or gently squeeze the chocolate out using a squeeze bottle (this is definitely the easiest). Then hold both sides of the mold and tap it lightly on the table top. This will level out the chocolate and remove any air bubbles. If you are making lollipops, now insert the lollipop sticks into the mold, and with your finger "roll" the stick in it's mold position. This will coat the stick all the way around with chocolate so the lollipop will not fall off when being eaten
4. Cool the chocolate
Put the filled mold into the freezer (on a flat surface). Small candies or bite size items will be ready to remove in about 5 minutes; standard larger pieces in about 10. Leaving it in the freezer longer than necessary is no problem at all (better too long than not enough!). If you must, you can use the refrigerator instead of the freezer. However, using a freezer "quick cools" the chocolate and has the advantages of making it easier to remove the chocolate from the mold (see step 5 below) and gives a better, shiny surface finish. Also, if you cool in a refrigerator it will take about 3 times longer to cool sufficiently.
5. Remove molded candy from mold
When you take the mold out of the freezer turn it upside down and gently tap it on the table. The candy should drop right out. This is usually all that you will need (you might have to gently tap you finger on the back of the cavity itself if the candy doesn't drop out right away). With chocolate that was cooled in the refrigerator you may need to push the candy from the mold.
6. Clean up tips
Clean molds in soapy water, rinse thoroughly and dry. Molds are NOT dishwasher safe! Remove excess chocolate from the containers and squeeze bottles while still melted, then set containers in freezer until the chocolate is hard. Flexible containers/squeeze bottles can then be taken out of the freezer and simply flexed..........chocolate will separate cleanly.
7. Save unused chocolate
Store in a cool dry place, NOT in the refrigerator. Remember you can "reuse" chocolate literally hundreds of times! [but of course it won't last that long because everyone will be "in line" to enjoy your masterpieces!!] Have fun!!