Molding chocolate is as much an art as a science, so you should choose only the finest tools and ingredients. But, of course, the most important is the chocolate itself which can be as varied in type and quality as fine wine.
If you’re looking for the best chocolate for molding but aren’t sure where to start, look at our guide. We’ve looked at all the top brands and compared their chocolate content, shape, and available variety to bring you the creme of the crop. So take a look at a few of these quality chocolates, and choose one for yourself.
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Best Overall: Wilton Dark Cocoa Candy Melt Wafers
Wilton’s dark cocoa candy melts stand out for their wide variety and affordable price.
Pros: Affordable, available in a variety of colors and flavors
Cons: Not as high quality as some other brands
Since chocolate can vary widely from brand to brand, it pays to choose one that is easy enough for beginners to work with but quality enough for the pros. These Wilton dark cocoa candy melt wafers
Choosing a chocolate brand that offers a wide variety of options is a good idea, so you don’t have to switch to different projects. Ghiradelli’s melting chocolate wafers
Experienced chocolate aficionados will tell you that the finest chocolate is that with the highest cocoa content. These Guittard organic chocolate wafers
While you can’t use the best chocolate for everyday use, it’s always nice to have it on hand for special projects. This Callebaut Belgian dark chocolate
Learning to mold chocolate takes a bit of time, and if you’re just starting, it’s best to choose inexpensive chocolate that still tastes great. These Mercken’s Chocolate Melting Wafers are affordable and delicious and come in several different flavors.
They’re affordable enough to work in large quantities without spending more than fifty dollars. In fact, they even sell a discounted 5-pound bag which is perfect for big batches.
While the flavor is great, don’t expect it to have the same complex taste as more expensive varieties. However, it is still a good choice for everything from molding, baking, or just eating plain.
Molding Chocolate Buying Guide
There may be a bit more to chocolate than you originally thought, especially when it comes to molding. However, once you familiarize yourself with some of the basic characteristics of quality melting chocolate, you’ll be able to find the best product for yourself.
All chocolate has three basic ingredients: chocolate solids, cocoa butter, and sugar. While these are all important, the chocolate solids make all the difference. They deliver that deep, rich flavor you’re looking for. Quality brands have between 50% and 70% chocolate solids, referred to on the packaging as cocoa.
However, you’re not always looking to maximize your cocoa percentage in all cases. For example, milk chocolate has a lower percentage of cocoa, while white chocolate has none at all.
Technically, you can work with chocolate in any form, and if your favorite variety only comes as a bar, there’s no reason why you can’t use it for melting. However, chips and wafers have the advantage of being pre-portioned and uniformly shaped. That ensures they melt evenly, without the risk of burning smaller bits or leaving larger pieces unmelted.
If you want to work with bar chocolate, you must cut it evenly before beginning the melting process.
While you can always switch to another brand if you want to work with white or dark chocolate, maintaining consistency is nice. That’s why brands that offer a good selection are your best bet.
There are a few methods of melting chocolate, and some are more advanced than others. While the microwave method isn’t the way most professional chocolatiers would do it, it’s a good place to start for beginners. Then, of course, you'll need to use a double-boiler if you want a more professional finish on your chocolate.
To melt your chocolate in the microwave, place your wafers in an appropriate bowl and set them in the microwave. Set the power to 50% and heat in 30-second bursts, stopping to stir every 30 seconds. Little by little, the wafers will begin to melt, though as long as you stir thoroughly, they shouldn’t burn.
Chocolate stays solid at room temperature, so in most cases, it’s perfectly happy in your pantry. However, bear in mind that chocolate begins to melt at 86 degrees Fahrenheit, so all it takes is a single hot day to ruin its quality. If you think it’s necessary, try storying your chocolate on an out-of-the-way shelf in your basement.
Try not to store chocolate in the refrigerator, except for short periods. Long-term refrigeration can cause chocolate to become damp and even develop white spots. The freezer can have similar effects in an even shorter time.
The time it takes your chocolate to harden depends mostly on the size and shape of your molds. For large, chunky shapes, you can expect it to take as long as 30 minutes before it's ready to unmold. On the other hand, small or flat shapes can cool and harden in as little as 10 to 15 minutes.