Here in Ohio, it has JUST begun to thaw out from winter -- in fact, we're still getting occasional snows -- and right now I'm thinking "come ON SPRING!" The last thing on my mind right now has been "Christmas". So I had to laugh when I opened up my package of items to demo for Decorate the Cake. It was a collection of four small silicone moulds featuring Christmas and winter holiday motifs, including a cute "Santa" star and ovals with candy canes, Christmas bells, and reindeer. But these will certainly come in handy next December when the holiday orders come around again!
I have lately been making lots of chocolate-dipped cake pops, and after I finish a batch of cake pops, I always have some extra melted chocolate still remaining, so I decided to make chocolate pops using the moulds. I thought that would be something that would be really fun for Christmas gifts next year -- a collection of chocolate pops using these moulds, particularly if I did them in a peppermint-flavored white chocolate (and only REAL white chocolate, none of that white coating yuck stuff), with maybe some crushed up candy canes stuck on the backs, to make peppermint bark on a stick. But for this time, since I had just finished making dark chocolate cake pops, I used some remaining dark chocolate. Which is the flavor my husband and I prefer anyway, so I knew they'd be eaten even if they didn't turn out great. This was my first time using smaller silicone moulds for chocolate. I'd recently tried using plastic moulds for chocolate, and it didn't turn out so great. (Once the chocolate had cooled, I couldn't get it out of the moulds without breaking all apart. I know I should have warmed the bottom a bit, but I didn't think about that at the time and just got frustrated.) So I was excited to try it with the silicone.
After arranging the moulds on a cold cookie sheet (I wanted to nice flat surface that I could put easily into the fridge), I melted and stirred some extra chocolate in the microwave for about 40 seconds. (The chocolate had already been tempered earlier; I just needed to re-melt it.)
Mmmm....melty, warm chocolate....
Next, I slowly poured the melted chocolate into each mould.
Then, I lightly shook and tapped each chocolate-filled mould so that they were evenly filled, and any air bubbles would come to the surface instead of marring my cute chocolate pop fronts. I then also tried to take an edge of a paper towel and clean up any stray chocolate smudges that had run past the edge of the mould. I could have also done this once the chocolates were cool and popped out of the mould, but I'd rather do it now and not have to do any clean-up of edges later. As you can see in the photo, I missed a few drops, but these were well within the "walls" of the mould, so I knew it wouldn't affect the chocolate creation itself.
So then I had my four cute little moulds, full of delicious Ghirardelli dark chocolate, ready to cool.
I put the cookie sheet in my fridge and let them sit for about 15 minutes, to harden up the chocolate. Then came the moment of truth. Would the chocolates pop out of the moulds without breaking? I certainly hadn't had any success with this using hard plastic moulds. And all the other times I'd used silicone moulds, it was for fondant or gumpaste, so this was a real test.
I peeled back the first mould carefully, thinking I'd have chocolate sticking to the silicone and an unrecognizable image on the front, but it popped RIGHT out. After that first one, I popped the rest out without much thought at all. Perfect!
After letting them rest for a few minutes to come to room temperature (and so that they wouldn't sweat and mess up the front image), I then turned them over, got a dab of melted chocolate on the tip of a lolipop stick, and stuck the stick to the back of the chocolate.
I carefully turned it back "right side up", and placed the chocolate on a cookie rack to harden up for a few more minutes...
When the melted chocolate on the stick cools against the chocolate on the pop, it sticks securely, so you have a quick treat that you can package in a bouquet for gifts, or even put as "stick up" decorations on your cake. I think the oval shaped moulds would also be great for making individual toppers for cupcakes, or as a recurring motif around the base or top of a quick cake for your Christmas parties.