Spring Is in the Air

With spring (maybe) just around the corner, that means we are in for some rain showers, which then brings the flowers. Here are some activities to get your little ones excited about what’s in store for the next few weeks. … Continue reading

Easy Barks for Christmas

Barks are a popular and easy treat to make around the holidays. They are generally made by mixing melted chocolate with crunchy foods. Commercial candy crunches can be used as well as nuts, pretzel pieces, crushed cookies, dried fruits, mini marshmallows and so much more. Almost anything can be used to make barks. Use your favorite sweet or salty snacks to make a great tasting bark.

Bark is most often poured into a thin layer on parchment and then broken or cut into pieces. But it may also be spooned into candy molds or into little mounds on parchment paper. Break-up sheets and bark molds are great to use when making barks as gifts. Break-up sheets leave indentations in the chocolate so that when solid, the pieces can be broken into perfect squares. Bark molds are shallow, oversized chocolate molds specifically made for making barks. These molds come in a variety of seasonal shapes and can be packaged in a large cellophane bag for a great gift.

Below are some of our customer’s favorite bark recipes.

Toffee Bark– 2 lbs. milk chocolate + 3 cups toffee crunch

toffee bark2

Peppermint Bark– 2 lbs. white chocolate + 3 cups peppermint crunch

peppermint bark1

Caramel/Pecan Bark– 2 lbs. milk chocolate + 1/2 lb. pecan pieces + 1/2 lb. caramel bits

Layered Peppermint Bark– 1 lb white chocolate + 1 lb. dark chocolate + 3 cups peppermint crunch or crushed candy cane

layered bark 3

Key Lime Bark– 2 lbs. white chocolate + 3 cups key lime crunch

Making Chocolate Bark

1) Start by melting chocolate until it is fluid and smooth. If you are using real chocolate, it must be tempered.

2) Add candy pieces, nuts, etc. in with the chocolate and mix until pieces are completely coated in chocolate.

bark1

3) Pour chocolate mixture onto a silicone mat or parchment paper.

bark2

4) When chocolate has lost its shine and is ‘almost set’, run a pastry wheel or pizza cutter through the bark to score it so that it can be easily broken into uniform pieces.

bark3

5) Once chocolate has completely set, break into pieces and place in an airtight container.

bark4

*Candy pieces can be sprinkled on top the chocolate instead of being mixed in. Be sure to add them while the chocolate is still warm so that they stick.

*For layered barks, pour first candy coating into a thin layer on parchment paper. When it is just firm, pour the second layer over top and immediately sprinkle with candy.

New Chocolate Transfer Molds

Chocolate Transfer Candy Molds (shown: Halloween Sucker Mold)

This fun new product makes it easy to create beautiful molded pieces of chocolate. You no longer have to choose between using chocolate transfers and making molded candies. This product combines both. The disposable molds have been pre-printed with cocoa butter designs that stay on your chocolate pieces once the chocolate is set. Now, you can have the professional look of molded candies as well as the fun design of chocolate transfers.

These new molds are easy to use. Simply fill each cavity with melted candy coating or melted and tempered real chocolate. Click here for melting and tempering instructions. You can place the filled mold in the freezer to speed the set up time. Once the chocolate has set up and the mold appears cloudy, you can overturn the mold and the chocolate pieces should easily release from the mold, designs intact. If you need additional instructions on filling a candy mold click here.

Chocolate Transfer Molds (shown from left to right: Pink/Lavender Egg, Peppermint Sucker, Heart Shape with Lace)

How-to Line a Candy Mold

With Valentine’s Day approaching, many of us are thinking of what to do for that special someone. Why not make homemade filled chocolates? It’s easy and sure to show how much you care. Follow these simple instructions for lining candy molds, and create professional looking chocolates with creamy delicious fillings.

Lining the Mold

Step 1

Step 1: Make sure that the candy mold you are using is clean and dry. Melt chocolate candy coating in the microwave or in a double boiler. Pour into a squeeze bottle.

*If you are going to be using real chocolate, first melt and temper the chocolate. Then, use a paint brush to coat the inside of each cavity. If light still shows through, apply a second coat. Let the chocolate set up at room temperature and follow step 5.

Step 2

Step 2: Starting at the top rim, squeeze coating into cavity, making sure that the sides are completely covered. Quickly fill all the cavities like this.

Step 3

Step 3. Turn the mold over to let the excess drain out of the cavities.

Step 4

Step 4: Turn back over and scrape the top with a spatula to create neat edges. Let chocolate set up at room temperature.

Step 5

Step 5: Put desired filling in each cavity, leaving a 1/8″ clearance from the top. Seal the candy with coating starting at the outer rim. Place in the freezer to set up. Once the mold appears cloudy, flip the mold over and the chocolates will release from the mold.

Finished Chocolates

Method taken from All About Candy Making

Choosing the Filling

There are many different options available for you to use as a candy filling. You can purchase a pre-made candy center or make your own using dry fondant. And with the option of mixing centers together, the flavor combinations are endless! Pre-made centers can come in soft or firm and come in a variety of flavors. Firm centers are going to have a nice, creamy texture. Some may also have bits of nut or fruit depending on the flavor. Soft centers are going to have a gooey, runnier texture. Soft and firm centers can be combined by pressing a small amount of the firm into a lined candy mold and then adding a thin layer of the soft center on top. This will create a nice two-dimensional texture.

Homemade centers using the dry fondant can be made by following the package instructions and adding your favorite concentrated flavoring or oil. Icing fruits are also great to add to a plain fondant cream center. Add 4 tsp. per one cup of fondant center. This will give your chocolates a nice tart fruit flavor. Another option is using homemade or store-bought caramel as centers. Press small pieces of firm caramel into a lined candy mold for a chewy caramel chocolate or use a softer type for a candy oozing with caramel. Be creative!