Most of us will have had an overconfident baking day and tried to chocolate-coat something at home. You set out on your mission, certain that you'll end up creating beautiful chocolates which Mars will want to start selling ASAP. The reality you're faced with is a dull-looking chocolate splodge with a flat bottom from where it sat while setting.
Unfortunately, there is no simple way to rectify this at home without fancy machinery. So, how is it that chocolate manufacturers can create chocolates with a completely smooth, shiny finish and, most importantly, no flat bottoms? The process used to coat something in smooth chocolate is 'panning'. Panning involves slowly pouring chocolate over centres, or the item being chocolate-coated, in a pan which is constantly tumbling (like a washing machine).
The speed of the tumbling and the thickness of the chocolate has to be carefully controlled to get the perfect coating. If too much chocolate is added to the pan, the centres will start to stick together and ruin the whole batch! Too little and the outcome is even worse; a layer of chocolate that is too thin...the horror! The tumbling of the pan creates friction, which allows the chocolate to be distributed evenly over the whole centre. While the pan is tumbling, cool air is pumped in, which cools the chocolate down and hardens it. At this point, another layer of chocolate can be added. This process is repeated over and over until they reach the desired thickness. Once the centres have been chocolate coated, they will all be smooth, but they remain quite dull looking. To add shine to the chocolate, an edible glossy spray, or glaze, is sprayed in a fine layer over the chocolate. This creates that beautiful shine which makes the chocolates look even more irresistible.
All this chocolate talk has got us feeling a snaccident coming on... sorry, not sorry if we've got you feeling the same. But while you're in the mood, check out this Malteser tree from Prezzybox. Why not treat a chocoholic friend to one? Don't worry, we won't tell anyone if you're the friend.