One big decision on my chocolate making journey is which molds to use. There are all kinds of molds out there, everything from the super cheap, super flimsy plastic molds, to super expensive, super sturdy polycarbonate molds. Silicone too. After trying the cheap molds and the silicone I decided on the polycarbonate. The really cheap plastic molds just flexed too much when trying to pour the chocolate and tap to release the bubbles, and the silicone molds just didn't give the chocolates that nice shine. I did find a slightly more rigid plastic mold at Hobby Lobby. I think it was the Sunny Side Up brand. It worked great for three or four times, but then the plastic just cracked. I guess it couldn't take all the tapping and pounding that takes place to get the air bubbles out.
So the polycarbonate molds were the only real choice. They run about $20-25 each, but you can’t beat them for ease of use and quality of finished product. The first two I bought were from Amazon, but while they worked great, I wasn’t happy with the “look”. They just seemed too generic. More like a Hershey bar than a craft Bean to Bar chocolate.
I also tried this cute, cute little owl mold. There is a whole barn yard of different animal shapes available, each one cuter than the next. I had hopes of using these as tasting squares or offering them in little mini Easter baskets, but they turned out to be very small and very thick. (There were no size descriptions on the web page, and I didn’t think to ask.) I could live with the small, but they were too thick to offer as solid dark chocolate (too hard to bite through). I guess they are meant to be used as filled chocolates. Maybe I’ll make filled chocolates one day, but not anytime soon.
So my search continued for the perfect mold. I wanted something unique and different, and also the correct weight. I needed to keep the size of my bars small (1-2 oz.) so I could offer them at a reasonable price. I figured someone might be willing to risk $3-4 dollars on chocolate from an unknown maker, but an $8-$12 price tag would be too steep.
There are a bunch of websites selling the polycarbonate molds, and I finally settled on a cocoa pod design I found on the Canadian site Chocolat-Chocolat. I bought the 1.2 oz and 2.0 version of the same design. I also bought a tasting square size that had a similar design. The molds set me back about $150, but hopefully I can use the molds for many years to come.
And as you can see from below -- I'm still having tempering issues :-(
So no I’m one step closer to making my first “production” chocolate bar. Next decision will be on packaging.