How to colour white chocolate
Have you ever had a go at making Unicorn Chocolate Bark? A friend of mine recently was ans asked how she could safely tint the white chocolate she was using.
I thought I’d share our conversation, as it might save you from chocolate tinting disaster. Maybe you want to make unicorn chocolate bark too. Maybe you want to tint white chocolate ganache to cover a birthday cake. Maybe you’re planning your very own home made chocolate gifts for Christmas? Well it’s lucky- the tips below work for both pure chocolate and ganache.
Before you get started on tinting chocolate, set yourself for success
How to perfectly melt chocolate
You’ve got to remember 5 tips:
- Chocolate hates water – make sure you clean your moulds really, really well between each use. Dry them super well. If there is one thing chocolate doesn’t like it’s…..water! You’ll be amazed what difference it makes: You’ll get a much shinier result and less risks of dull marks caused by water residues.
- Chocolate doesn’t like humidity – goes without saying, now you’ve read the tip above. Keep chocolate away from pans with boiling water for example. How can you melt chocolate then if you don’t put it over a pan of simmering water? I prefer to melt chocolate in the microwave personally. Don’t worry I explained how to do this a little further.
- Keep everything clean – You can wrap your moulds in cling film when they are freshly clean and dry. That way they will be immediately ready to use them next time you need them. It’s a tip I talk about each time at my chocolate art classes. It’s one of the most simple and useful tips I have learnt about working with chocolate – It was Mark Tilling, quadruple UK Chocolate Master and captain of the 2016 Bake Off: Creme de la Creme team, who taught me this in the first place when I first trained with him.
- Chocolate doesn’t like harsh difference in temperature -if you are casting your own chocolate decoration or making a chocolate hand piped lace style cake collar, let it set first on your kitchen counter before placing it in the fridge (for the collar you’ll want to wrap it around your cake before you do this. It won’t be pliable once it’s fully set). If you are making flat decorations you’ll also want to make sure you place a baking tray on top of your chocolate to prevent it from curving (chocolate contracts when it gets colder – that can make it curve up).
- Chocolate can take on strong smells – if you are chilling your chocolate in a domestic fridge in particular, be careful there are no other strong foods around (like a half cut onion for example!). You could end up with a flavoured chocolate otherwise. Best to cling film it or place it in a separate fridge if you can.
How to melt chocolate
- make sure you chop your chocolate in small even pieces (unless you use chocolate callets).
- Place it in a plastic bowl.
- Heat up in small bursts of 30 seconds on half power.
- Remember to mix it well between each burst. Even if it doesn’t look like your chocolate is melting. It will even out the temprerature and avoid the risk of burning the chocolate.
- As soon as it starts melting, reduce the bursts to 20 then 10 seconds.
- Stop when nearly all the chocolate is melted, but some pieces are still visible. If you finish to mix it by hand, the pieces of chocolate that were left in the bowl will help the already melted chocolate to set beautiful and shiny. The scientific reason is a little more complicated than that, but I thought I’d keep things simple. [click_to_tweet tweet=”Heat chocolate in small bursts of 30 seconds in the microwave to melt it perfectly – and more tips to make chocolate decorations https://tinyurl.com/zuxmbhl” quote=”Heat chocolate in small bursts of 30 seconds in the microwave to melt it perfectly!” theme=”style1″]
[click_to_tweet tweet=”Save the earth, it’s the only planet with chocolate!” quote=”Save the earth, it’s the only planet with chocolate!”]
Can you colour chocolate with gel food colours?
Noooooooo! you can’t use water based food gels to tint white chocolate. Because what is it chocolate doesn’t like…You’ve been paying attention I can tell. If you add water based food gels to your white chocolate, it won’t mix well. instead you’ll get tiny dots of food colouring through your chocolate or your ganache. Not what you want.
2 great ways to colour chocolate safely
Use of of these 2 tips instead:
Tip 1 – cocoa butter pellets mixed with edible colour dusts
you can buy cocoa butter in small bags online at places like Squires Kitchen and Sous Chef, as well as the Home Chocolate Factory. One of the great things about cocoa butter is that it’s a lot more stable than chocolate. Once you have melted it and tinted it, use what you need and pour the rest in a small, clean glass jar. Pop the lid on and you can keep it….for a very long time. Just reheat it when you need some more. This is a perfect solution to paint on top of any chocolate. Yes paint. You can personalise shop bought chocolate bars,
Tip 2 – Ready made chocolate colouring bottles
those are small squeeshy bottles you can buy in the UK from places like Squires Kitchen and Home Chocolate Factory (as well as Keylink – an awesome supplier of all chocolate related ingredients and equipment). You’ll save a lot of time with those bottles: Just open the top and heat them up gently in short bursts in the microwave. Shake for 5 to 10 seconds between heating bursts, until the mix inside is liquid.It’s ready for you to use and mix with some melted chocolate to create all the colours you need. One more tip: Buy a bottle of white, yellow, red and blue. You can mix the colours together so that should give you a good palette of colours to unleash your artistic flair.
3 more tips for making beautiful chocolates
Chill your chocolate decorations or chocolate gifts
Once your beautiful chocolate masterpieces are ready, pop them in the fridge for anything from half an hour to a few hours to set. The bigger and thicker the pieces you’ve made, the longer they need to chill to set fully. Then keep them somewhere cool and dark, ideally wrapped in food paper and in a box, and don’t put them in the freeezer.
Tinted cocoa butter colours are great to colour cake sponges too
If you have leftover coloured cocoa butter bottles, you can use them to tint buttercream or meringues – just mix a little plain buttercream or meringue mix with the just melted cocoa butter, then mix with the rest of your buttercream. You can also tint your plain cake sponges or even macarons in the same way, adding the melted cocoa butter last to your mix.
Using leftover tinted chocolate
Warm up all your leftover colours in separate bowls, then pour them side by side to make more tinted chocolate bark. It’s so much fun and it’s not like there’s a precise pattern to follow. Just enjoy yourself. I bet you’ll end up with a great big smile when you get your giant chocolate slab out of the fridge. I promise you.
The possibilities to customise these bars are rather endless: Add Mini eggs for an Easter treat to remember. Mix orange tinted white chocolate (with orange oil or…chili?!) and dark chocolate for a halloween trick or treat. If you are planning a fun, barn style wedding, you can turn these into brilliant wedding favours too. Ohhhhh and you can even sprinkle a little edible glitter on them, and you’ll have little magic fairy bark. I’ll stop now, but hopefully you get the gist of it.
How to use leftover melted chocolate
You can always find uses for chocolate!
- Dip fresh fruits in
- Drizzle over biscuits, waffles or ice cream
- Spread over clean bubble wrap, leave to set in the fridge, peel off and use as funky decorations for cakes
- Mix with hot double cream (same weight for dark, 1.5:1 ratio of chocolate to cream for milk, 2:1 for white) and leave to set to create soft ganache you can roll into truffles
- Pipe coloured chocolate buttons
- Pipe googly eyes with melted white chocolate then top with a small dot of dark chocolate for perfect googley eyes
- Mix with a little golden syrup or honey for instant delicious chocolate sauce (the syrup or honey will prevent it from setting)
- Pour over lightly roasted coffee beans, set in the fridge and snap into perfect coffee time nibbles
- Mix with cornflakes and set in mini muffin cases – instant lunch box or afterschool snacks
- Paint the melted chocolate inside muffin cases, set in the fridge and peel carefully to create chocolate cups
There you go. Hope this is helpful. If you have any other tips, any question or other ideas to use leftover chocolate, leave them in a comment below.
NEXT: How to decorate your own wedding cake like a pro
What projects have your tried with tinted white chocolate? Any question or comments, pop them below.
NOTE: By the way it’s Marie’s own picture on this page; and not wonder it’s a great snap…she’s a professional photographer who can work her magic on anything from family portraits to commercial projects. You can see more of her work here. Marie is so clever and so girly. I can just imagine the face of her little girl on her birthday, discovering this on the table. It’s pure magic!