OMG those are almost too pretty to eat! How do you make them look like that? Is it hard? Does it take a long time? How do you get them so shiny? How do you get them colored like that?
Those questions are without a doubt what most people want to know when they see our bonbons. So we’ve decided to take you through the general process right here! Assuming you’ve got your chocolate tempered (and eventually we’ll go over how to do that in another blog post) there are a number of different steps you’ll go through to create a bonbon:
1) Prep Your Mold
Once you’ve selected the appropriate shape and design for you bonbon, you’ll need to make sure the mold is clean and free of any residual chocolate. Then you’ll warm it gently and evenly (I like to use a heat gun for this step) and polish each cavity with a cotton ball.
2) Get the Look You’re After
Now that you’ve got your blank slate primed it’s time for one of the most fun steps: Decorating! There are many different techniques that can be used in this step including airbrushing, piping tempered chocolate, stamping, and painting with brushes, sponges or fingers. Almost anything you might do with paint (and sometimes more) you can do in the cavities of your chocolate molds. The main catch is that you’re going to need to make sure your cocoa butters are tempered correctly before you use them.
Spray, paint, stamp, or otherwise get your cocoa butters into the cavities of the mold making sure to let each successive layer crystalize completely before moving on, and working from the outermost layers inwards.
3) Cast the Shells
Then you’ll use well tempered chocolate to cast a shell. Fill all the cavities of the mold with chocolate and tap on a tabletop or use a vibrating table to shake any airbubbles out. The idea here is that the chocolate gets into every corner of the mold before you dump it all back out to leave behind a thin shell.
Once the chocolate shells are fully crystallized they should retract on their own from the cavities. Its always best to check that the bonbons are looking good at this stage before you go any further in the process. Anything you’re not super happy with at this stage can just be melted right back down and used again!
4) Fill Those Shells Up (well, mostly)
Now you get to fill your beautiful chocolate shells with ganache or a host of other fillings. This is another area of bonbon making with ample room for creativity. Most commonly bonbons are filled with caramels or ganaches but other things you can consider using inside your bonbons are jellys/pate de fruits, marshmallow, pralines, cookie layers, crunchy layers, pieces of nuts or other items, and even liquids. Just remember different fillings will have different shelf lives. And don’t forget you’re going to have to close these off later with more tempered chocolate so leave a little space at the top (which is actually the bottom); About 2 millimeters is a good amount. It is important here to make sure that whatever type of filling(s) you are using are at a warm enough temperature that they run smoothly into the chocolate shells but cool enough that they don’t melt the shells.
5) Seal and Unmold Those Babies!
Once you’ve got all the cavities filled you’re going to want to leave them to set overnight. The idea here is that the filling needs to be firm enough or at least – depending on the filling you’ve chosen – have developed somewhat of a “skin” over itself so that you can comfortably seal the bonbons without the filling and tempered chocolate mixing together.
Warm the mold and chocolate bottoms slightly with a heat gun and scrape it clean. Then get some more chocolate on there and make sure it covers all the cavities. Give it some nice taps/jiggles and then scrape off any excess chocolate. You should be left with a flat, smooth layer of chocolate capping off each cavity. Let that crystallize completely and then unmold to get a final look at your work!
Simple as that!
Hah, no. But at least now you have an idea of the basic process of producing bonbons. We hope this helps you understand a little bit about the work that goes into our products and why this truly is a labor of love. We do love what we do here at Bouchée Confections and we absolutely adore sharing the fruits of our labor with you! Catch you next time!