The trick to unmolding is to take a heavy meat mallet, smash the hell out of the mold and when that doesn’t work, get a hair dryer and heat up the backside of the mold until the chocolates start melting their way out of their polycarbonate tombs. Then take a knife and dig out any remaining chocolates, put the whole mess on a big plate and holler, “Come and get it!”
People will be expecting something astounding, and they won’t be disappointed. Surprised, but not disappointed. They will laugh at you, real hard, and then they will start eating and forget you even exist because the chocolates taste so good. And that’s why you should make chocolates, because no matter how much you botch it, a blindfold will conceal your mishaps and the disaster will be delicious and hysterical.
But, assuming you’re one of those obsessive compulsive freaks who doesn’t want to spend all that money and time without having something beautiful to show for it, well, here are some tips:
The freezer works miracles, and the longer you leave your chocolates in the freezer, the easier they’ll pop out (assuming you are using a polycarbonate mold, which you probably aren’t if this is your first attempt at making chocolates). But the downside is that the longer they stay in the freezer, the faster you’ll lose your temper. Literally. The chocolates will get a film of gray on them; it won’t affect the taste at all, but it doesn’t look good. Try for ten or fifteen minutes in the fridge and another 5 to 7 in the freezer, no longer than that.
Temper perfectly. If you’ve blown your temper, your chocolates won’t release. That is one reason I recommend starting with silicone molds — you can just turn those inside out. (But once you’ve used polycarbonate, there’s no going back.)
If you are using polycarbonate, give the mold a little twist. This is easier said than done, since polycarbonate doesn’t exactly twist, but if glass is a liquid, and apparently it is according to my college science classes, then polycarbonate must be a gel. Scientifically speaking. And what that means is a good hard twist can make an imperceptible shift in molecules that pops those little bonbons right out of the mold. Or not.
Tap lightly. I have ruined countless otherwise perfect chocolates by smashing the back of the mold with my mallet to get them out. It took me forever to realize that was why they all look like they’d been run over with a car. Face it, I’m slow, and probably the last person you should listen to if you really want to learn to make chocolates, but I’m assuming you are as slow as I am and can relate to my varying levels of kitchen idiocy. So put the mallet down, save it for your spouse next time they deserve it, and just gently tap the edges of the mold on the counter. But keep the mold at an angle that will cause the chocolates to drop near to the counter — the further they fall, the uglier they get, just like the unemployed or Charlie Sheen.
Put wax paper or parchment beneath the mold so when they fall, they fall onto a clean surface and you can clearly see any flaws and edges that need trimming away. It also makes it easier to clean.
As they fall, quickly and gently push them to the side, so that they don’t fall onto each other. While you are at it, brush away any chocolate bits and crumbs (there will be a lot), so that the chocolate doesn’t land on them and they get stuck together and look worse than they really are (like politicians).
Use a sharp paring knife to trim any excess. Some prize-winning chocolatiers fail to do this simple step. There is one in particular who has some chocolates up on their website that are so in need of trimming I want to file a consumer complaint. There is no excuse for not trimming the excess; it’s easy, it’s even fun, and it makes a world of difference. And never buy chocolates that need trimming. It’s a violation of my ethics. If they didn’t think to trim the edges, just think what else they didn’t have time for? Eat a handful of chocolate-covered flies instead. Just as long as they don’t need trimming.
And if you are working with silicone molds, just turn them inside out. All done.
Now I must go, my computer is telling me it must be shut down or all kinds of bad things might happen. I have learned to always obey my computer . . .