Friday, September 21, 2012

Chocolate Casting; Part II

You might remember my brown sugar casted chocolate post?  The comment section on my post, and other forums that posted it, is full of possible suggestions for how to smooth up the surface of the casted candies.  Brown sugar creates a grainy effect on the outer surface of the chocolate.  From cornstarch to a damp cloth to tinfoil, I hoped to eventually try them all.  I'm no expert, but I said I would give it a go and I did!


This time around, I used these three objects: an acorn, a large button and a knight.

And for casting mediums, I used cocoa powder, powdered sugar, flour, cornstarch and once again brown sugar (for comparison).  I also tried the suggestion of pressing the object into foil in the brown sugar.  I thought this was a really good idea until I realized the foil would fold when fitted to a rounded object.  It also tore in places, so that was a no-go.
I pressed all three objects into the casting medium, filled them with melted chocolate and chilled them in the freezer, then brushed them off with a dry soft toothbrush.  If I couldn't get the medium off the chocolate with a brush, I then soaked them in cold water and washed them off in really cold water several minutes later.
  And here is the outcome! 
I tell you, I had really high hopes for the cocoa powder.  But it didn't hold its shape when the objects were removed and it stuck all over the chocolate a lot thicker than I had expected.  
The powdered sugar held the details but wouldn't wash off the surface of the chocolate despite great efforts.  
And surprisingly, the cornstarch didn't hold it's shape for the fine details very well, either.   I know it's used in factories for making gummy bears but those are a rounded shape similar to an acorn.  For the fine lines, though, it didn't work for me.

The brown sugar held its shape, but as expected it was grainy looking.  It was especially evident with these tiny objects.  And the big success of the day:  flour?!  I was really surprised!

You can't see it well in this picture, but I had no success with the white chocolate.  Twice it "burned" and seized up when I melted it and I had to start over.  When I finally kept my eye on it and poured it into the mold when thin enough, it hardened too fast and ended up lumpy plus the flour stuck to it really badly.

For the record, I also tried cooking spray on the brown sugar but it was a lumpy fail.  The surface of the chocolate that was in contact with the oil did not set up and was so fragile the stem wouldn't hold up and broke clear off.
And I took a damp paper towel to a grainy looking button though it didn't go so well.  It did smooth out a little but to do this on every surface of every chocolate would be insane.  Realizing this, I gave it a sort of a half-effort.

flour casted chocolate
For comparison, here is the salt shaker casted in flour.  I will admit, I used bread flour because that's all I had.  I have no idea if other types of flour would make a difference but I'm guessing all-purpose would work out the same.

Below this photo, you can see the original brown sugar casted shakers.  I overexposed both photos a bit so you can see the fine details.  The flour created a really smooth, detailed surface, though it's tricky to get every speck of flour off the surface of the chocolate.  I gave it a moderate effort and this is the result.  It looks pretty good and the flavor isn't affected by the flour specks.

brown sugar casted chocolate
My choice of subject on the last post caused quite a stir due to its apparent phallic nature!  Yeah, ok, I get it.  My point was that I wanted to add salt and pepper to the chocolate, which I did, and it was good.

Thanks to everyone for your (non-phallic related) suggestions on the original post!  It's been a lot of fun and I learned a lot along the way!

Moral of the story:  If you're looking for perfection, I wish you good luck and patience.  If you're looking for fun, especially with open-minded kids involved, this is the perfectly easy and fun project for you!



  1. Totally loved this. I did this to show my kids how you can make an imprint like a fossil today. Used wheat flour. Do Not recommend using that as it has many large flecks that would not brush off. Just wanted to say thanks for sharing your experiments. :)

  2. I took a class in Rapid Prototyping. There is food-grade silicone you can make a mold with and not ruin the original object. Skipping ahead in the process...After it's cured, just pour the chocolate or bake a cake in it...anything you want! Use over and over again! It's not that expensive. I like your idea of using the brown sugar or flour as a support if you brush on the silicone and peel it away. It would be wobbly but not if you rest it on brown sugar! Otherwise you have more steps and need to pour into a box or container, etc. It's not talked about a lot because anyone that might know how (pastry chef, artist, custom manufacturer, etc) either isn't going to share with you their secrets or because there is some artistry and time/patience involved. You have proven you deserve to know! So look into mold making or rapid prototyping if you want to try make food molds yourself. Or find a rapid prototyping company to make a food-grade mold for you.

  3. Hi Hannah. I love this idea as it's a hell of a lot cheaper and easier than buying food-grade silicone. However, I'm science-trained so I think I can explain why the oil-coating didn't work. Sugar is water-soluble, chocolate is an oil-emulsion (mixes with oil) and flour is insoluble in both. So I suspect the secret is finding a material that the chocolate is repelled by, so that it doesn't soak in, destroying fine detail. Coating with oil destroyed this repulsion, making the chocolate stick and flow into the mold material.
    Thus, I'm curious how this would work with fine-powdered salt.

  4. Thank You SO Much for the follow up post & all your hard work! :) Love your blog!
    Love from the "cities"

  5. what if you did the brown sugar mold and then put sifted flour over it to have the smooth effect with the brown sugar method?

  6. I have had very good success using Jell-O to make a mold. Your chocolate has to be just the right temp in order to get a good mold. Too hot and it melts the Jell-O. Too cold and you don't get a good cast, with voids. I was able to do very fine details (Lego blocks) using this method. I did paint in the sharp edges with melted chocolate before filling the rest of the way with chocolate to fill the mold. You must us the Jell-O very concentrated or add unflavored (I used Knox brand) gelatin to the mix. The plus side is that you can eat the mold when you are finished with it. My kids loved it.

  7. What about if you had used flour but lined with saran wrap ? Or would that wrinkle ?

    1. Yep, I would guess so! At least that's what happened with the foil when I tried that...

  8. Have you tried putting the brown sugar in a coffee grinder to get it really smooth and then casting again? Looks the best result so far but just lacking the finer detail.

  9. I am just making Christmas ornaments with the cornstarch clay , I would wonder if you couldn't use that it is solid once set and maybe you could use the saran wrap if if makes it dissolve hmmm now i have myself thinking, lol.

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  11. Some flours actually pack better, if you take bread flour and squeeze it in your hand it doesn't keep its shape all the well, however when you squeeze pastry flour it holds its shape because its more compact. So maybe trying it with pastry flour might be better since it packs better.



  13. Very interesting, though now I'm curious if it is possible to make a dough to cast in.. like just a flour dough or a cornstarch dough (and refrigerate it to firm it up a bit)?

  14. I tried this and it does not work. The flour would not come off and when I tasted my candy it was horrible. They tasted like raw flour and left a gritty sand feeling in my mouth.


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