Shopping For Candy Making Supplies? Key Chocolate Vocabulary Words You Need To Know

After binge-watching a few baking championships on television, you might be ready to head to the store, gather some chocolate-making supplies, and spend a few hours dipping candies in your own kitchen. Unfortunately, unless you go into your shopping trip knowing exactly what you want, you might be overwhelmed as you peruse the aisles of your favorite chocolate shop. Here are a few key chocolate vocabulary words you need to know before you embark on your first candy-making adventure:

1: Ingredients

You might have a rough idea of the type of chocolates you want to make, but will you be able to communicate that desire to a store employee? If you aren't careful, you might find yourself trying to describe "white fluffy" fillings or the contents of your favorite candy bar in order to gather the proper supplies. Here are some key terms you need to know so that you buy the right ingredients:

  • Callets: If you want your chocolate to melt evenly, you might find yourself shopping for high-end chocolate chips. Unfortunately, if you ask an employee for chips, they might stare at you blankly or suggest a nearby grocery store. However, if you are looking for quality chocolate that is pre-molded into easy-to-melt discs, ask for callets. Callets are typically larger and flatter than chocolate chips, so that they melt a little faster.
  • Fondant: Are you trying to make pecan logs or fill chocolates with fluffy cherry filling? Fondant is a sugary dough paste that can be mixed with chocolate pieces, nuts, or used to surround cherries for cordials. Flavored fondant can even be left alone to create a sugary cloud in the middle of a chocolate shell.   
  • Compound Chocolate Vs. Couvature Chocolate: Have you ever wondered why some chocolates taste real, while others taste a little waxy? Compound chocolate is easier to work with, but it contains ingredients like cocoa powder and oil instead of chocolate liquor and cocoa butter. If you are looking for real, natural chocolate, ask for couvature chocolate instead of anything labeled "compound."

Although you might be nervous about spending extra on couvature chocolate or fancy callets, starting with the right ingredients will yield a better product. On the other hand, if you plan to work with your kids or you are only practicing techniques, you might be fine to use compound chocolate or lower-grade fondant.  

2: Design Equipment

Making your chocolates taste great is one thing, but making them pretty is an entirely different ballgame. Here are some key pieces of candy making design equipment, and how they can help you to create beautiful gourmet chocolates:

  • Chocolate Molds: Unless you have chocolate molds, it might be hard to make your chocolates any shape other than round. However, chocolate molds are available in every shape under the sun, so that you can create candies shaped like baseballs, hearts, stars, or even complicated figurines. By using these simple non-stick trays, you can pour melted chocolate into the mold, wait until it sets up, and then pop them out.  
  • Colored Cocoa Butter: Are you looking for a way to differentiate those lemon verbena truffles apart from those caramel-filled chocolates? Consider using colored cocoa butter. Because cocoa butter is naturally ivory colored, it is available in several different shades, allowing you to coat chocolate molds before you pour melted chocolate. When the chocolates are removed, the colored cocoa butter becomes a part of the chocolate, without altering the taste.  
  • Transfer Sheets: If you really want to make your chocolates pop, consider buying a few transfer sheets. These easy-to-use sheets contain repeated patterns of edible dye, which you can use to rub designs onto your finished chocolates. With transfer sheets, you can make your chocolates look like gilded gold or finish them off with colorful stripes.   

By heading into your shopping trip with a good idea of what you need, you might be able to simplify your first candy making experience.