Working with modeling chocolate will be hard at first, and you may encounter several problems along the way. You will also notice that most of the issues with modeling chocolate happen during the mixing stage of the chocolate and corn syrup. Good thing that there are actually quick fixes to these problems. Although modeling chocolate is somewhat similar with fondant and gumpaste on what it can do, it behaves differently, so troubleshooting it is quite different. Here are some of the most common problems you will encounter, along with how to troubleshoot modeling chocolate:
Problem: Modeling chocolate is too hard.
Solution: Once you are done mixing the modeling chocolate and have allowed it to rest overnight, it will really be hard the following day. This is normal, as modeling chocolate hardens as it ages. Start by breaking off a piece, warm it in your hands, and then begin kneading until it becomes soft. If it doesn’t soften, troubleshoot modeling chocolate by popping it in the microwave and heating it for five seconds. Remove from the microwave and knead it again. At this point, you have to be careful not to burn your hands!
Problem: Modeling chocolate is too soft.
Solution: This is the result of putting too much corn syrup in the mix. The next time you’re preparing modeling chocolate, make sure to add more of the chocolate and less of the corn syrup. For now, to troubleshoot modeling chocolate, what you can do is to wrap the modeling chocolate in plastic, and allow it to sit and dry. Then knead until all of the corn syrup is completely incorporated into the dough.
Problem: Modeling chocolate is too lumpy.
Solution: When you understir the chocolate and corn syrup, the tendency here is that there might still be remaining chocolate chunks that did not melt in the heat. As such, you will need to remelt the modeling chocolate. Put the modeling chocolate back in a bowl, and place it in the microwave. Heat for 10 seconds. Remove the paste and knead until it becomes a smooth paste. Cover in plastic wrap and allow it to sit until it reaches room temperature before using.
Problem: Modeling chocolate is crumbly and dry.
Solution: If your modeling chocolate is crumbly and dry, add a few drops more of the corn syrup. Use a bench scraper – not your hands – when incorporating the corn syrup into the modeling chocolate. Add a little bit of vegetable shortening in your hands and then begin kneading the modeling chocolate until it feels smooth.
Problem: Modeling chocolate is oily or greasy.
Solution: An oily modeling chocolate happens when your chocolate was too hot when you added the corn syrup, causing the oil to separate from the chocolate. Another possibility is that you may have worked it with your hands for far too long. Remember that when making modeling chocolate, it is important not to mix and knead too long, as warm hands will draw the oil out of the chocolate. Knead on a cool surface such as a granite slab, or use a bench scraper instead of your hands to knead it. If you don’t have a bench scraper, you can run your hands over cold water before kneading. To fix it, don’t attempt to get rid of the oil by soaking it up with paper towels. The goal here is to work all of that oil back into the chocolate. The oil will keep the modeling chocolate workable, so that it won’t be brittle once it dries out. Allow the modeling chocolate to sit out for about two hours. This will solidify the chocolate, as well as the oil. Then, using a bench scraper, knead the modeling chocolate, but only until the oil is incorporated into it. Stop immediately once this happens, cover in plastic wrap, and allow it to rest overnight before using.
The great thing about modeling chocolate is that aside from its versatility as a cake decorating medium, you can easily work out any issues you are having. There won’t be any need for you to throw out any bad modeling chocolate, as you can be easily troubleshoot modeling chocolate!