Monday, September 2, 2013

Making your own silicone moulds

When you meet a wonderful significant other there is sometimes a double down good outcome because that person has wonderful friends. When I met my handsome, kind and considerate bf I had the honor of being introduced to his welcoming, kind and considerate friends. One of perks of my long time relationship with my bf has been getting to a place where I can call them my friends too, they really are awesome, but I'll stop gushing. Last weekend one of these awesome people called me with an idea - why not throw a surprise party for my bf, long before his birthday, and after the initial shock I thought this was genius. There have been a few surprise birthday parties for my bo (one memorable one including a fountain of cheese!) so he may suspect things if we are sneaking around close to his birthday but miles before it, well I was completely on-board!!

 The only issue was getting together a party in a week and in particular preparing the chess birthday cake that has been promised for the last year!! To the internet - I found chess chocolate moulds easily enough but getting them delivered to where I live was a much bigger problem. Hmm........... maybe I can buy a chocolate chess set, I found one before, so back to the internet. I find a blog post claiming that a local sweet shop was stocking them, the next morning I'm scouring the shelves for anything resembling chocolate chess pieces. I left the store defeated and moved on to the baking stores, every baking store in the city!! I returned home without a mould, but not empty-handed! Silli.creations are a company that give you the ingredients to make your own moulds in any shape you want. So I had a new plan, an opportunity to learn a new skill and a chance to pass my new found knowledge onto you, everybody wins!!

Silli.creations have detailed instructions on their website. They appear to be a dutch company so don't be offended if the grammer is slightly, slightly off in places. (It's 100% better than my dutch grammer, how bout yours?) That said there are a few things that I learnt while making and subsequently using my moulds that I will share with you now.

The instructions are fairly simple. Mix together equal parts of both the green and white dough until you've formed a uniform colour and then insert your object, leave for 2 hours, remove object and them cure for up to 3 days. If you don't have 3 days to cure your moulds they say that you can put the mould into a pre-heated 100'C oven and then .........nothing. The company give no further instructions in this regard. Therefore I decided to pre-heat my oven to 100'C, insert my moulds and then turn the oven off, leaving the moulds inside while the oven cooled and I was in work. Honestly on reflection, if I had the time I would have let them cure a room temperature over the three days. The oven method caused a small amount of wilting on the edges of my moulds which didn't affect the shape at all but made it more difficult to remove my chocolate once hardened.

The wooden chess pieces in the silicone

When inserting the item for moulding, decide exactly how you wish to form the mold and then use exact calculations. I initially intended to make half sized figurines and then stick 2 together. However when forming the mould I pushed the pieces in just a tiny bit too far and ended up with 2/3 sized figurines which did not stick together well. If you intend to make a half mould, measure exactly half and mark it before pressing into the silicone.

Some dark pieces, just poured, so excuse the overflowing castle

White pieces
Lots of chocolate moulding recipes say that you can harden your chocolate in the freezer for 10 minutes and then remove from the mould. This is a bit more complicated when using these home-made moulds. The website says that the cured mould can undergo changes in temperature and dish-washing etc. This is true, the mould doesn't become damaged. However it does harden somewhat when it has been frozen, making removing the chocolate an intense workout for your hands and, in my experience, frequently resulting in broken chocolate.

What I found the best was to chill the chocolate in the fridge or if possible to let the mould warm up slightly before removing the chocolate. It's also important not to leave the mould in the freezer for longer than 10-15 minutes. Then when removing the chocolate, pull gently at the edges of the mould. Do not push the centre of the piece outwards as this puts pressure on the most vulnerable part of the chess piece and causes breakage. Instead gently pull at the edges of the mould and almost wiggle the chocolate out. This is both time consuming and frustrating so prepare yourself for moments of intense frustration and exuberant success!!

Chocolate piece straight out of the mold

Some chocolate, some wooden pieces

The process from mold making to chocolate consumption is time consuming but immensely worthwhile as the feeling of accomplishment is doubled and you are left with useful molds that can be easily washed and stored. The chess cake went down extremely well and I have included pictures of it in use. I would suggest it to anyone as it is both food and entertainment in one. A final tip would be to make multiples of each piece so that party goers can eat pieces as they play and it reduces the possible number of hands that have touched each piece. So yes, do try this at home and enjoy!

The pieces in use, the bears are pawns here.

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