Another way to create three-dimensional chocolate figures is by creating and assembling molded shapes. Using molded shells, it is possible to create pieces with the same level of detail as a carved piece but that can be completed much more quickly while using a great deal less chocolate. Molded spheres, eggshells, and other shapes can be combined to create the volume needed for three-dimensional animals and other figures.
- To begin, sketch a very simple drawing of the figure using basic shapes such as circles, ovals, and rectangles. Animation books are a great reference for inspiration. Then gather shell molds that match the shapes and proportions used in your drawing.
- Cast all the shell molds with the desired types of chocolate (see Casting). Let set until the chocolate is completely crystallized. All the pieces must be cast before you begin assembling the figure.
- To assemble the base shapes for the figure, unmold both halves of each shape. Melt the edges of both halves slightly using a food warmer, warm oven, or a spatula warmed with a torch, then attach the halves together. Let set about 10 minutes until the chocolate is completely crystallized.
- To create a “hollowed-out” sphere shape like the ones used to create the eyes of the owl on page 325, unmold one half-sphere and place it flat on the marble. Warm a round cutter with a torch and place it down on the sphere to melt off the top of the shell.
- Flip over the hollowed-out sphere half and pipe tempered chocolate onto the inside edge. Attach it to the other, nonhollowed-out sphere half to create a complete sphere with an indentation on one side.
- To attach two completed shapes together to begin assembling a figure, scratch the surface of the first shape with a knife or melt slightly using a food warmer or a spatula warmed with a torch. This will create a rough area where the second piece will be attached.
- Melt the second shape slightly in the spot where it will be attached to the first piece, then gently press the two pieces together to join them. Melting the shape itself before attaching it will create a much stronger bond than using tempered chocolate as glue. Because the chocolate is out of temper, the pieces will need to set for a long time—up to 20 minutes—before the piece is completely set.
- To join two pieces that do not fit together cleanly, use spot-tempered chocolate to bond the two pieces and fill in any gaps between them. Pipe a small circle of tempered chocolate onto the marble surface and use the edge of a paring knife to table the chocolate. As soon as it begins to set, scoop the chocolate up on the paring knife and spread it onto one of the two pieces to be joined together.
- Attach the second piece and immediately use the paring knife to smooth out any excess chocolate. This must be done quickly, because the spot-tempered chocolate will set almost immediately, and cleaning and smoothing out the surface will be much more difficult after the chocolate has set.
- Continue to attach molded shapes to the body of the piece as needed to create the desired figure. To fill in any gaps or ridges or to create additional features, such as the ears shown here, use the spot-tempering technique described above to table-tempered chocolate. Apply the spot-tempered chocolate to the piece with the paring knife and shape and smooth it as needed.
- To add detail to the surface of the figure, cut a template out of a piece of tracing, parchment, or copy paper. Place the template flat on the marble and use a spatula to spread tempered chocolate over the top.
- As soon as the chocolate has begun to set, remove the template from the marble. The excess chocolate should come away easily as you lift up the template; the chocolate should be a bit tacky at this point.
- Quickly place the template chocolate side down on the body of the piece. It should adhere nicely if the chocolate is still tacky. Let set 5 to 10 minutes until the chocolate is completely crystallized, then remove the paper.
- Once the figure is complete, paint or spray as desired and let set completely. Store the completed figure at room temperature in a dark place until ready to use.
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