The great thing about modeling chocolate is that it stays pliable for a long time, giving you ample time to create your flowers and figures, unlike with fondant or gumpaste where you have to work really fast because they dry out and harden quickly. Its versatile nature allows you to make use of so many chocolate-based products.
If you consider yourself a purist and want to use only pure processed chocolate, you can choose from bittersweet, semi-sweet, or milk chocolate. However, if you consider yourself the practical sort, you can try candy melts. Also known as confectionery coating or summer coating, they act and taste a lot like chocolate, and most important of all, they come in many colors. That means there is no need for you to knead in color to the paste, so it saves you time. Pretty convenient, right?
Here are the most commonly used products for modeling chocolate:
- Bittersweet chocolate. Also known as dark chocolate, it has a more pronounced chocolate taste and a small amount of sugar is added.
- Semi-sweet chocolate. This is sweeter than bittersweet chocolate.
- Milk chocolate. Aside from sugar, milk solids are also added. It has a milder chocolate flavor compared to its darker counterparts. Some chocolate enthusiasts consider it as a mere confection, and not a chocolate.
- White chocolate. This is technically not a real chocolate. White chocolate usually comes in the form of a candy bar, and is made of cocoa butter, sugar, milk solids, and vanilla.
- Candy melts. Instead of cocoa butter, candy melts have vegetable oil, allowing them to melt quickly when heated. Popular brands are Wilton Candy Melts and Merckens Confectionery Coating.
- Chocolate chips. Available in semi-sweet, milk, and white varieties, chocolate chips have less cocoa butter in them. Mostly used in baking chocolate chip cookies and brownies, these retain their shape despite of the heat from the oven. As such, these may not be as good to use as candy melts, which melts all too easily. If using chocolate chips in your modeling chocolate, make sure to add more of the corn syrup to keep it together.
- Almond bark. A chocolate-like confection made from cocoa butter. Used as an alternative for real chocolate in baking and cake decorating.
White Chocolate vs Candy Melts
If you are deciding which between white chocolate and candy melts to use, here are some things you need to take note of:
- White chocolate contains cocoa butter as its fat, while candy melts contain palm oil. The cocoa butter – naturally golden in color – gives the modeling chocolate its yellowish tint, while the palm oil is naturally white, so the color of the modeling chocolate produced from candy melts is generally more natural-looking and easier to manipulate.
- Candy melts yield a modeling chocolate that has great texture: smooth, pliable, stretchy. Overall, easy to work with.
- White chocolate is a lot more expensive than candy melts.
No matter which one you choose, at the end of the day, it’s still a matter of personal choice based on taste, availability, and budget. There’s no right or wrong answer on what kind of chocolate to use when making modeling chocolate – you can have fun experimenting with all of these chocolate-based products and then decide for yourself which one to stick with!