My friend Teresa recently asked for a list of essential items for making chocolate in a home kitchen. “Not a problem” I replied and set out to put together a short “Chocolate Making Starter Kit.” What began as a short and simple list quickly grew into a long list of items I can’t live without when making chocolate in my home kitchen. Here are my lists. The first is the Basic Starter Kit. The second list features other items I can’t live without. And the third list consists of additional items I use but didn’t photograph.
Basic Starter Kit
Callebaut Dark Chocolate 811NV (12.50 euros at Colruyt)
Palette Scrapers and Knife
I like to have several different shapes and sizes.
These are for scraping bowls and cleaning chocolate off the table and floor. I like to have many on hand in different shapes and sizes.
One can never have too many spatulas. They come in different sizes and styles. For making fillings, be sure to have some that are silicon and can be used with hot liquids.
Plastic Chocolate Stirring Spoons
These long and flat spoons were made for stirring chocolate without producing air bubbles.
Plastic Containers for Filling Piping Bags
I use a plastic pitcher or pasta storage container as a stand for filling piping bags with tempered chocolate. This makes it easier to fill the bag up with chocolate for filling and capping moulds.
TAKING THE TEMPERATURE
Thermometers A key tool for tempering chocolate at home is a thermometer especially if your home kitchen is like mine where I cannot keep the room at a constant or consistent temperature (one entire wall of my kitchen is a window resulting in the room temperature fluctuating with the weather). There are many different kinds of thermometers on the market. One can use a simple meat thermometer (you need a thermometer that can read low temperatures). Digital thermometers with long probs are nice because they work well in large bowls. My favorite thermometer is my infrared thermometer. You just point and read the temperature; No need to insert anything.
Digital Scale Making fillings for molded chocolate requires precise measuring. To do this one needs a digital scale. The scales come in different shapes and styles. One need not be fancy, just accurate.
KEEPING IT CLEAN
Micro fiber dish cloths –
I use these to wipe down the molds, spatulas, scrapers, and even my hands. I like to use micro fiber because the cloth won’t scratch the molds or tools
Trash Can I like to have my trash can near to my working area. However, I don’t need a large trash can out in my kitchen all the time. The answer is a colaspable container. I use a child’s laundry basket from IKEA.
This is what it looks like collapsed
Here is what it looks like with a garbage bag inside.
Additional Items not Shown
Extra plastic bowls – One can never have too many plastic bowls around.
Blow dryer or hot air gun – This is to reheat the chocolate and/or warm up the molds.
This blog addresses the needs, concerns, and interests of the home chocolatier.
Recipes: You'll find annotated and expanded recipes for making chocolate candy so that all your questions are answered
How To: Instructions on the different tasks involved in making chocolate from tempering chocolate to working with molds
Where to Buy: Suggestion on where to buy ingredients, supplies, tools, and utensils needed to make chocolate candy in your home kitchen.
AND Reviews: Reviews of chocolate shops, chocolate shows, chocolate events, chocolate recipe books, chocolatiers, and anything else chocolate that's fun to write about or review.
I originally started Writing with Chocolate in 2008 to blog about Belgian chocolate while living in Brussels. You can read my reviews of artisan chocolate shops in Brussels and check out my chocolate-themed walking tours by clicking on the "Belgian Chocolate Resources" button on the top navigation bar.
Now that I’m back home in Alexandria, Virginia, I have a new focus that brings together all that I learned in Brussels. As the saying goes, build the web site you want. In late 2012 I revamped Writing with Chocolate to address the needs and concerns of the home "do-it-yourself-er" chocolatier like me.
Cheers and chocolate,