The making of a bonbon

Welcome back!

In this blog post I will take you inside the chocolate studio and show you what is involved in the making of these glorious shiny chocolate jewels.

A brief description of the process:

1. Polish the chocolate molds.

2. Paint the molds with tempered coloured cocoa butter.

3. Temper chocolate

4. Mold & chill chocolate shells

5. Make filling.

6. Fill chocolate shells & chill.

7. Close the shells (more tempered chocolate).

1. Polishing the Molds

This first step is a crucial one to getting great results at the end. Don't get me wrong, every step is just as important as the other but if the chocolate mold has any imperfections, you will see them on the Bonbon surface when they are released. Which, after so many hours spent making them, can be devastating.

If you ask a chocolatier how they polish their molds, you may get varied answers. Some use alcohol, some don't, some use cotton pads, some might use a microfiber cloth or paper towel. Some may use a dishwasher and others hot soapy water. Some say they don't need to clean and polish if the bonbons release cleanly.

On my Bonbon journey over the last couple of years I have tried a few different methods, usually because of poor end results and trying to figure out where I went wrong. But now I am happy with my chosen technique. 

Polishing the chocolate molds in preparation to making the Bonbons.

2. Painting the chocolate mold with tempered coloured cocoa butter before shelling with chocolate.

A variety of coloured molds ready to shell with chocolate.

Here different techniques have been used to colour the molds, such as airbrushing, using a paint brush, splatter technique with a toothbrush.

3. Tempering chocolate

There are several ways to temper chocolate. Here are some of the most common methods:

4. shelling the chocolates

Next, we need to make the shells of the Bonbons to house the fillings that will go inside.

I do this by piping the tempered chocolate into the cavities ensuring they are completely full. Then any air bubbles in the chocolate need to be tapped out, so I do this by tapping the handle of my scraper on the side of the mold. 

Once I'm happy that I have no air bubbles trapped I tip the chocolate mold over raised above baking paper and tip the excess chocolate out of the mold. This step also requires some tapping with the scraper to ensure the resulting shells aren't too thick.

Cherry whisky & almond bonbon shell.

Passionfruit & roasted corn bonbon shell.

5. Fillings

Once the shells are made and set it is time make the fillings. 

The fillings can be varied, from silky smooth chocolate ganache to luscious caramel or Gianduja which can be really interesting with different crunchy elements added into it.

Fillings such as caramel and Pate de fruit can be made ahead of time as they have a long shelf life. The ganache can be made ahead of time but my preference for ganache fillings is to make them and use them straight away.

I also like to layer some bonbons, so they have two or three different elements to make them surprising and delicious. 

In the most recent collection available the Popcorn bonbon is one of those and has three layers. It has a layer of salted caramel, then a popcorn ganache which is made with popcorn infused cream and roasted corn white chocolate, then the third layer is a crunchy layer with popcorn and almond praline.

This is one aspect of bonbon making that I really enjoy because of the range of flavours and textures that can be used. It can never be boring, there are always new combinations that can be explored which is essential for my brain as it never stops exploring ideas and wanting to improve techniques.

Cooking the passionfruit caramel.

Emulsifying the Turmeric Chai ganache

Cherry pate de fruit blended to a pipeable smooth consistency.

6. Piping the fillings

Once the shells are ready, and the fillings are made I can then fill the shells.

The different layers of the fillings need to be considered at this stage, so if there are any caramels or pate de fruit going into the bonbon first, they need to be made prior to making the ganache that goes on top of it.

Also, if there is going to be a crunchy layer or biscuit layer going on top of a ganache layer, then it is important that the ganache has had enough time to crystalize properly first. Usually, overnight is best.

Here I am piping passionfruit pate de fruit into the bonbon shell. The first layer in our Passionfruit and roasted corn bonbon.

Piping passionfruit & roasted corn ganache. The second and final layer in the Passionfruit & roasted corn bonbon.

Here I am piping the popcorn infused ganache onto the salted caramel layer in our Caramel popcorn bonbon. This will then be left to crystalize overnight and a third and final crispy popcorn layer will be piped on before capping and completing the bonbon.

7. Capping

The final stage is capping the bonbons. 

First, I temper the chocolate, then I use a heat gun to slightly warm the top of the mold and the edge of the bonbons so the chocolate will adhere well to the shell. I then pipe chocolate over the mold so there is enough to cover each bonbon and scrape the excess off with a scraper. I then use the scraper to clean any extra chocolate that may be on the sides of the mold, so I have a nice clean mold. 

Sealing the chocolate bonbon is important to protect the filling, to keep it fresh for longer and to keep any nasties out.

Once they are capped, I chill them in a chocolate fridge (which in my case is a wine fridge) then they are released from the mold and stored as required.

To conclude this blog

I hope you have enjoyed a view into my world of making bonbons. 

I really enjoy the process of making bonbons and how it teaches me so much every day (mostly about patience!) Hopefully you were able to learn something new as well.

Until next time. Thank you for joining me in my chocolate studio.

Michelle x