This is the simplest way I could lay down this process.
The most common one you will find on places like amazon will be either silicone or polycarbonate. The latter is what the chocolatier use, for a good reason. They simply work better with chocolate. Be careful with “Chinese” imitation mold, they are PVC not polycarbonate. They do work (the photo below is a PVC mold I got for very cheap), but they don’t give that nice shiny sheen polycarbonate does. They are also very thin so I would expect them to break easier.
They do cost a little bit more but would highly recommend if you invest in 1 mold, go polycarbonate.
There are multiple ways you can decorate your chocolates but 2 of the most popular ones these days are transfer sheets and dusting.
A transfer sheet can be purchase from a specialty chocolate store and they come in multiple designs. You apply them to your chocolate while they are not set. Once it set, you simply peel it away. Kind of like those kids tattoo
You can also use dusting powder to create some nice effects. Here I simply used a brush to cover the bottom of the cavity from my mold.
Dusting can be purchased in various colors. For folks in Canada, bulk barn carries them.
Before pouring chocolate, I recommend you buff each cavity using a clean dishcloth. This helps with the release of the chocolate at the end.
If your mold is cold , you should heat it up to around 85F, this way when you pour the chocolate it doesnt harden too fast and makes a thick shell. To heat it up , I use a “bean bag” that is made has a hot pack , just microwave it 30ish second and put it underneath the mold for like a minutes. Again you dont want to overheat it, just that its not cold.
How to make a shell
Once you have your tempered chocolate, using a ladle fill each one of the cavities. Make sure to scrape the extra chocolate off the top. Bang it gently so that air bubble exits. Let it set for about 2 minutes. The more you let it set the thicker your shell will be.
Now flip the mold 180 degrees(upside down) making all the extra chocolate in each cavity drop. I recommend doing this over parchment paper where you can scrape it all off easily and put it back to use.
Ideally, you want to let it dry upside down but without the mold touching anything. I used 2 knives to raise the mold and let him dry, not really important what you use just raise it so it doesn’t touch.
Once it’s dry, fill the chocolate shell with some filling, here I’m piping pear ganache in, do not overfill. Make sure that it is not hot else it will melt the shell.
20-25C would be ideal
If your filling is very soft, you may need to let it cool and set before you continue.
Finally, use the ladle to recover each shell then scrape it off cleanly.
Let it rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Afterward, place the mold in the fridge for another 15 minutes. At this point, if you take it out of the fridge and look carefully, you should see the chocolate has contracted a little and is ready to be unmolded.
Just flip it upside down carefully and often they will just fall off. If they are still stuck, pound the mold on the countertop and it should do the trick. Sometimes you need to do it a few times but it shouldn’t be a big issue.