Bonbons are chocolate confectioneries originating from the French royal court in the 17th century. From the French word bon meaning “good”, bonbons are chocolate candies with a filling inside, usually fruits, brittle, nougat, or caramel. Equipment for chocolate bonbons are varied and must be capable of chocolate tempering, molding, scraping, filling, and covering.
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Tempering and refining your chocolate bonbons
Tempering involves heating and cooling your chocolate so the fats (cocoa butter) can crystallize uniformly. The objective of tempering is the formation of Form 5 crystals which develop at 93° to 95° F.
Tempering and refining your chocolate using a tempering machine facilitates the formation of chocolate crystals necessary to get that gloss, snap, and crunchy texture of your chocolate bonbons. If you simply melt your chocolate and then cool it down, you cannot give the bonbon shells the glossy, shiny look we love.
Essential equipment for chocolate bonbon making
After a filling machine fills the molds with tempered chocolate to form the shell, the excess chocolate is scraped off. Be vigilant in checking that molds are totally clean and dry to ensure that the chocolate does not come in contact with moisture. Moisture can cause chocolate blooming, reduce surface luster and chocolate snappiness. To get rid of any air bubbles, the molds on a conveyor belt must be vibrated. In this way, the bonbon shells can develop properly.
After hardening, you can fill the shell with your favorite ingredients like fruit, caramels and ganache. You can then proceed to covering the chocolate bonbons with another layer and subjecting them to cooling. This allows the Type V crystals to fully settle and crystallize, resulting in that luster and snap you are looking for in your chocolates.
Chocolate maker vs. chocolatier: how are bonbons involved in these?
As a producer, what should you identify yourself to be? In terms of bonbon making, are you the chocolate maker or the chocolatier?
Chocolate makers, as their name implies, make chocolate bars. From the processing of the beans, chocolate makers follow every step of the chocolate making process until tempering to form the chocolate bars. On the other hand, chocolatiers, also known as chocolate melters, receive the chocolate bars and melt them to create whatever product they desire. They do not make the chocolate from scratch but are able to produce chocolate products.
You may have also heard of bean to bonbon. This refers to chocolatiers who receive beans, produce chocolates, and use these to develop products, such as bonbons. These producers do not necessarily grow their own beans, but do participate in every step of the chocolate making process. The bean to bar market is well-perceived by consumers, projecting to reach 24.54 billion USD by 2027.
Molding vs. enrobing: which is which?
Depending on the design of your bonbon and its filling, you can choose molding or enrobing as your chocolate capsulation method.
Molding requires you to have the chocolate shell formed first before putting the filling in and closing the shell. Liquid chocolate is poured over your molds, allowed to settle, then filled with your flavoring of choice, covered, and cooled. This is best when you want to create specific designs, shapes, and other decorations. However, this can be time-intensive and requires strict moisture controls.
Enrobing entails that you form your core first before wrapping this in chocolate. After forming the core, liquid chocolate is poured over it. If a liquid core is used, this must be covered first in a chocolate shell or something similar prior to enrobing. Compared to molding, this is a faster process and can be upscaled, allowing you to make many products rapidly.