Sunday, February 27, 2011

Jewels, Jewels, Jewels

With bling being all the all these days, we asked a few of our DTCPUG members for projects using our jewel molds -- Stephanie brings us the first project in both chocolate and sugar -

Hello!  My name is Stephanie and I have been interested in cake decorating and sugar art for the past 2 years.  It started off as a hobby and recently moved into a role at a bakery, and this is my first tutorial.  I hope you enjoy it!

For this project, I used jewel molds with two different mediums- chocolate and poured sugar. First, we’ll look at the chocolate:

·    Method 1: The minimalist. You don’t have a lot of fancy supplies, but you want to give this whole chocolate molding thing a try- this method is for you. 

1.       Take your melting chocolates, break them up a bit and place them into your mold. 
2.       Microwave on high for 30 seconds and check on the consistency.  You’re looking for a nice evenly melted chocolate- if it’s still lumpy then put it back in for another 10-20 seconds at a time. 
3.       Using a toothpick, ‘swirl’ the chocolate around to fill to the bottom of the mold, and level off any extra chocolate at the top. 
4.       Put the mold into the fridge or freezer to set up, and then pop out your completed jewels!

·         Method 2: The perfectionist.
You’re a little bit of a type-A personality. Maybe you like having maximum control over the chocolate at all times, the flexibility to change colors (or use multiple) on a whim, or you don’t want to risk the few potential ‘air bubbles’ involved with the first method.  If this sounds like you, and you’re willing to go through some extra steps and supplies to make it happen- give this method a try!
1.       Gather supplies, you will need:
§  Heating pad
§  Cookie sheet
§  Plastic decorator bags- one for each color melting chocolate
§  Angled spatula, toothpick or knife (to level off the top of the mold)
2.       Set up your workspace.  You’re wondering what the heating pad is for… right?  I find that when I’m working with chocolate if I can keep everything a nice even temperature everything goes much more smoothly (pun intended).  Set your heating pad on high with your cookie sheet on top and your mold on top of that.  This will keep your entire work area at a comfortable melted chocolate temperature.
3.       Melt your chocolate.  Put some melting wafers into a decorating bag and push towards the bottom. Microwave on high for 30 seconds at a time.  Check your chocolate often, flip the bag over each time, and mush the chocolate around so that no one spot gets too hot.  This is important- as soon as the chocolate starts to be melty, check it every 15 seconds and mush it around each time, or you will end up melting the plastic bag, ruining your chocolate, and making a big mess.
4.       Pipe into the mold. Whenever you’re not using your bags of melted chocolate, they should be sitting on your warmed up workspace to keep the chocolate nice and smooth.  Cut a hole into the bottom of the bag- not too big or you’ll lose control, but not too small or it will have a tendency to set up too quickly.  Start with about 1/8” and adjust from there as needed.
5.       Level off the chocolate. Use whatever you’d like- toothpick, angled spatula, etc. This step can be skipped if you don’t need the jewel to lay really flat, but make sure that you clean up the edges a bit because it’s easier to do and looks better in the end if you do it before the chocolate has set and you remove it from the mold.
6.       Allow to cool, and remove from mold. Put it in the freezer or fridge for awhile, and when it’s set just pop it right out.  The mold is very flexible so you can bend it as needed, just be careful not to snap one of the pieces in half as you are helping it out.  Ta Da! Super cute, no?  At this point you could use a little luster dust to add a sparkle, but I like the way they look right from the mold. 

Lessons Learned
  • You can get great results with either method, in fact, I thought the jewels I made from method 1 were better than those I did with method 2.  This is very likely due to the fact that I did not listen to many of my own steps (didn't have the heating pad, so the chocolate started setting up too soon, and I was re-using bags of chocolate from a past project and many of the holes were too small).  If you look closely at the picture you can see the result- tiny air pockets or holes where the chocolate didn't get to before it hardened. 
  • If you are using decorating bags, I like to push the chocolate slightly away from the tip before I set down a bag to minimize leaks.  You can also save extra chocolate in bags this way and use them again for future projects.  Depending on the type of melting chocolate I’m using, if I let the chocolate melt and harden several times it starts to get cloudy or behave funny, so I would recommend against melting way too much chocolate at once.  When you are microwaving bags of re-hardened chocolate, pay even closer attention to any ‘hot spots’ that might develop- really mush it around and flip the bag over often, and keep pushing the chocolate away from your open tip, too!
  • Feel free to get fancy!  Here's an example of using two colors together- I used method 1 to start off.  Don't swirl too much or you'll lose the 'marbled' effect, but I think I didn't swirl deep enough- I would have liked to see more mixing of the colors on the front.

  •   Chocolate is a great medium for the 3d jewel molds too!  I did this adorable heart mold in a few easy steps- first I made the top piece and popped it out.  Then I filled the bottom, and while it was still warm and melty, I gently placed the hard top piece on top.  I think I needed to fill the bottom just a tiny bit less to avoid the edge, but all in all I'm pleased with how it turned out! 
top view, still in mold
side view
bottom view
On to the sugar! 
This was my first attempt with poured sugar and I'm actually quite pleased with the results. I used a simple lollipop recipe.
I found that spraying the molds with cooking spray was unnecessary and actually caused some tiny bubbles on the surface of the sugar, so next time I'll skip that.
Normally you have to keep washing down the sides of your pan to keep the crystals from forming and dropping into your sugar, but by covering the pan with plastic wrap the steam actually does this for you.

You'll probably want to color your sugar, which you do by dropping in a tiny bit of gel color and then swirling vigorously to incorporate- DON'T STIR. 

I found spooning to work well with smaller jewels, and pouring to work well with larger.  Overfilling was a problem, and it's really hard to fix after it's done, so go slowly!
I was really happy with the results, especially how light reflects off the facets of the 'stones'.

I hope enjoyed this post! Be sure to visit to find these and many other amazing silicone molds. If you have any questions feel free to post comments or you can contact me through my website:


  1. Thanks.
    How do you keep the plastic wrap from either ruining your pot and/or your jewels?

  2. Good Question!
    I think the key is in the pot- you want to have a fairly tall pot so that most of the heat stays close to the bottom. Also take care on a gas stove that the flame doesn't wrap around the sides of the pot. The same steam that washes the crystal formation from the side of the pot will also serve to 'cool' the plastic wrap at the top, so you shouldn't have any more problem with sticking than you would, for instance, with microwaving vegetables.
    Hope that helps!