08 March 2009

what goes into making chocolate bowls

Leave it up to me to mess up every recipe in the world... but on the flipside, by experiencing everything that goes wrong, I end up learning the most.
I had seen these bowls from Stephanie's Kitchen, and decided it was a fantastic idea for my food independent study.

ingredients: chocolate, and balloons!


first, a giant bar of chocolate


all the way from taiwan! and it's -special- grade, whatever that means.


(i actually tried to pipe pretty lacy chocolate bowls first, but uh, that completely failed so i moved on. plus i don't like that pink fake chocolate.)


balloons! tip number one, get plain balloons. if you get ones that say "Happy Birthday!" like I did, you will end up with chocolate bowls that say "Happy Birthday!" on the inside. Not good.


tip number 2, after you have melted your chocolate in a double broiler and poured it into a bowl for dipping, let it cool before you dip your balloons. because although you are really excited to dip them and set them down like this...


five seconds later you shall hear a POP and you (as well as your kitchen) will be covered in chocolate because apparently latex doesn't like heat.

edit: thanks to a lovely comment, there is a reason that makes more sense! according to snowpeech, "I'll bet that that the air inside the balloons expanded once they were heated, making them pop" - there's a reason why i'm not a science major! thank you :)


and once chocolate hardens and cools, it is not fun to clean off! I thought, perhaps it was a fluke, so I dipped another one... but I made sure to stand far away this time, and waited... and sure enough, POP! Another splattering of chocolate. Third time was the charm, as I decided to be patient and let the chocolate cool a bit before dipping.


lots of balloons sitting and cooling on parchment paper. once the chocolate isn't shiny, the balloons are ready to be removed!

tip number 3, don't cut too big a hole. because the air will escape too fast and your bowl will collapse :(


tip number 4, cut a tiny hole and let it gradually deflate. then, you can carefully peel out the remaining balloon!

and yet another piece of advice from a commenter, Atalaya, "Also try spraying the balloons with oil so they release easier from the chocolate shells " - i'll definitely try it next time!


then you should have beautiful bowls that you can fill with delicious goodies!

118 comments:

☾ Ash ♡ said...

Great, funny tutorial.. We all learn from our mistakes.. life happens ;)

Brilynn said...

Every time I see these I vow to make them but I have yet to do so. They look so neat!

x said...

i enjoyed this post - at the end i was like "wow i would've given up way earlier" but then i realized i would've been too lazy to even start. glad i found your blog through tastespotting!

Carson said...

Ahhh haha, I love the documentation of your trials and errors :) I have never tried this - I have enough trouble coating cake balls with chocolate, I can't imagine the mess I would create making these! Congratulations on the final product, they look lovely!

snowpeech said...

Those bowls look amazing! Thanks for sharing :) I don't know how heat resistant latex itself is, but I'll bet that that the air inside the balloons expanded once they were heated, making them pop. I'm wondering if you could do this with water balloons then..

Stef said...

I love this post! What a great idea and I love that you shared both what worked and what didn't so we don't all make the same mistake.

Mags said...

I'm just laughing....lol The things we do to make something either more edible or presentable! Lovely chocolate bowls.

Cathy - wheresmydamnanswer said...

I am cracking up because the first time I tried this the exact same thing happened - explosion!!

Zoe Francois said...

Great post! I've been there too! ;)

Sara said...

Oh my goodness, you're funny. That post made me laugh a lot- I'm sure a lot of people can learn from your experience! lol

catolean said...

i agree, you are hilarious. I feel much better now, not that i've made these gorgeous bowls, but that you make fun funny learning mistakes too. I'd be so happy to read more posts of yours. cheers. i love the shots.

Mallory Elise said...

whoooooooooooooooooooaaaaaa never thought of that. bonne idee!

Mallory Elise said...

ewwwwwwwwww i thought that pink chocolate was hamburger meat. bleck! that's chocolate?

Peasepudding said...

Great idea for Easter gifts, I really enjoyed your funny step by step instructions too. Thanks

Dani said...

that was certainly a learning experience :)

claudia said...

funny!
great tutorial, i'll try.....
thankyou!
seen through tastespotting

Nicisme said...

Fab tutorial! Messy but oh so worth it!!

Anonymous said...

Your post makes me laugh! Thanks for sharing those great images and tips!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

These look wonderful and your tips are so helpful. They'd be great filled with any kind of mousse - or just fresh berries.

Fahrenheit 350° said...

That is genius! Thanks so much!

Atalaya said...

Try putting a piece of clear tape on the balloon and poking a hole into the balloon through the tape. That makes the air escape very slowly and with low maintenance.

Atalaya said...

P.S. Also try spraying the balloons with oil so they release easier from the chocolate shells ^_^

cathy said...

thank you everybody for the comments!! they made my day, and i'm glad you guys enjoyed them. it made scrubbing all that chocolate worth it! :)

Anonymous said...

once you deflate the balloon, if you cut as much as you can off cleanly, then blow inside the balloon with a straw (i used a pen cap) it will melt a tiny layer, just enough to release the still stretched out latex, which will release under it's own tension.

Amanda Kerik said...

Oh, a tip? Fill the balloons with water! The water will absorb the heat and popping will become a rare thing.

I've done the same idea with molten wax (and you know how HOT that stuff gets) and it worked great.

Another tip is to let it cool a bit before dipping, but not to let it cool completely - the layers won't meld and you'll get brittle bowls.

Anonymous said...

THIS IS HYSTERICAL!! GREAT PHOTOS AND A BEAUTIFUL DESERT IF YOU FOLLOW THE VERY HELPFUL TIPS!!

Anonymous said...

Theres no way the heat from the melted chocolate expanded the air enough to increase the pressure enough for the balloon to pop. It was most likely due to the chocolate melting the plastic.

Stefan Waidele said...

IMO, the balons were not filled enough for the expanded air to pop them.

But I have a tip for shrinking the balons slowly: Put some adhesivetape on the balon and puncture it through the tape. The balon will not pop, but it will "deflate gracefully" :)

Atalaya said...

I already said that :)

veggie belly said...

Its great to see the how-to as well as how-not-to side of things! I'm tempted to make these chocolate bowls :)

Shannon said...

Aww, you poor thing, having to clean all that mess up. Well the end result makes for a very fancy and sophisticated serving dish. I guess paper mache bowls from balloons are much easier! =]

jen said...

i saw those little chocolate bowls on stenphanie's kitchen too, and although i feel for you, I'm glad you tried it before i did.
thanks for sharing your tips! :)

Kevin said...

Usually when i do this kinda thing, i use balloons with water and not air, that way they don't explode (as often.)

Kate said...

Thank you for showing the mistakes. I learn more from that than from a perfect demonstration. Thomas Edison said that "knowing what DOESN'T work is 99% of the battle".

Plus, it's hilarious!

Anonymous said...

i'm curious how you get rid of the water when you use balloons filled with water? it seems it would be a mess.

Anonymous said...

they didn't pop because latex doesn't heat, but because as temperature increases, the increased kinetic energy of gas particles inside the balloon causes pressure to increase. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ideal_Gas_Law

Anonymous said...

I bet it would be better if you made a batch of these, let them harden, then dip them again. The chocolate would be a bit thicker if you made multiple layers.

The Purple Foodie said...

Very helpful tutorial. Thanks for all the tips. :)

Justin said...

Hi there, just wanted to say that it probably wasn't just the heat or the expanding air that popped your balloons. As with latex condoms, your balloons break down when exposed to the oils in chocolate, or the oils in oil-based lubricants like Vaseline, or butter or whipped cream or... well you get the point. You can avoid these explosions by using polyurethane based balloons... or condoms for that matter. And always be careful in food-play! Latex HATES oil!

Ben said...

This is always fun to make really beautiful dessert decorations. What can help is if you add a little bit of water to the balloon (1/10-1/8) full, which will help prevent the latex from overheating too quick.

Other trick.... freeze the balloon with water inside when you dip it. Best do this with water half full or so in the balloon. you can cut a hole in the top of the balloon and the frozen water will retain the shape but should melt enough to be flexible to be removed from the bowl especially when a little oil was applied.

Also, to prevent the balloon from popping, put a piece of tap on the balloon and stick something sharp through that tape.

Anonymous said...

If the bowls were actually for a birthday or some other occasion, you could turn the balloons inside out and then it would be neat to use some with sayings like "Happy Birthday" or the like on them.

Anonymous said...

...but I suppose that would only work if said balloons were embossed...

Anonymous said...

this is cool....i have that little chef timer in my kitchen, too

Anonymous said...

hahaah it's a nice tutorial very sweet

Marian said...

What a cute, funny tutorial. Sounds (and looks) like me when I'm trying something new! Glad I found your blog!

Anonymous said...

you can also use an orange and cover it in cling film instead of a balloon

Fran said...

Oh my gosh! I shouldn't laugh, but that was a funny story with great photos showing us what a mess it was which will make any of us that try it very careful to wait out the heat.

I did it a couple of times with a paper lunch bag, set it on it's side and filled with fruit so that it looked like it was spilling out of the bag. It's fun to do and very impressive.

Good job learning how to make the bowls.

Jasper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrea said...

In response to spraying the balloons with oil: latex balloon + oil = bad. Anyone that took health class in middle school should know you never put oil-based products on latex unless you're looking for disastrous results. The oil dissolves the latex. In order to reduce breakage, try dipping the balloons twice to make the chocolate a bit thicker.

Laura said...

beautiful and funny! thanks! I did this once with almond bak, and had to peel latex bits out of my bowls. :(

think I will try again!

life in yonder said...

Hilarious!!! Please keep on experimenting and sharing :-)

Anonymous said...

Do yourself a little favor- when you poke a hole in the balloon, don't poke the body of it- go for the "stem". You know, the part that you tie off. ^_~

Anonymous said...

I couldnt help but notice there is no word in the dictionary for 'learned' a past tense of 'learning' is 'learnt'
Have a nice day

Anonymous said...

Fill them with water ... duh

Anonymous said...

DOUBLE DIP into the chocolate after it dries the first time before deflating the balloon, itll make it thicker and stonger... you could even triple dip or quadruple dip... you know you like that t h i c k chocolate ;)

Brigal said...

Why dont you leave the balloons unpopped and just put them in the freezer once the chocolate is set up a bit, the balloon should shrink up a lot then could be peeled off.

Rissa said...

I was in an etiquette class at school this past semester. For our final, we had to host and dine at a formal dinner. For dessert, we had bowls like this. My instructor had made them many times, and has a really good way to get around the exploding balloons. She uses water balloons, filled with cool water. That way you don't have to wait for the chocolate to cool.

balance said...

The process of making is so detailed and there are many restrictions to be followed but at the end, a fabulous work of art and a tasty food was made! Keep it up!

brattypants said...

What a wonderful idea! I'm glad that I read your post before I heard about these anywhere else. I am sure that you have saved me a lot of hassle as I know that I would have done a lot of the same things that you did!

I can't wait to try this with a dessert made inside it. Yummy...

russ said...

I just tried this for valentine day a couple weeks ago, using water balloons that I inflated (not filled with water) Just like you say, pop chocolate everywhere. Happened three times, once into the carpet. I was also using bittersweet choc which is thicker after it has melted. I was able to use an offset palate knife to spread the chocolate onto the balloon which worked pretty good after the chocolate had cooled enouogh. I wish I had fo0und this blog earlier, would have saved me major grief!!

Polly said...

My friend made these years ago and had the same experience. I forwarded your page to her. I hope she enjoys it as much as I did.

Patti at Worth The Whisk said...

I laughed OUT LOUD at some of your photos, you are a champ for sharing them and helping the rest of us avoid the problems. Great post, thanks!

Ashley said...

loved the way these looked so i made them for my mom for mothers day and filled them with a chocolate mousse! they were a huge hit! and my brother and i have a good laugh when an exploding balloon sent chocolate EVERYWHERE!!!

Anonymous said...

People who don't have serious allergic reactions don't think about this...which is the only reason I'm mentioning it...Personally, I am highly allergic to latex. Please let people know who are eating the finished product know that you used balloons to make this. Many latex allergic people actually go into anaphylactic shock (can't breathe/can die) when they come into contact with latex.

Kimber said...

I love this tutorial! and I also love your chef timer, it is way to cute!

Anonymous said...

you could try adding a little bit of water to the bottom so that the heat will go into the water (which takes a lot of heat to boil) so that you can dip the balloons earlier. Just don't add too much or else when you deflate the balloons it will spill out.

Ameralda said...

I see you have a ton of comments here and in case you hadn't thought of it already... this would make a hilarious book/show. Can you imagine--"Trials in the Kitchen: Starring--YOU!" and we would all watch you get splattered with food, make the mistakes, and put out a gorgeous end-product. We would laugh, and you would make seriously big bucks. Let us know when the deal goes through, ok? Just send this entire post plus comments to Food Network... You know they need some fresh ideas :o).

TheAmazing Ka7 said...

Wash the balloons! Sorry, you didn't say it and though you most likely have the common sense too some people who find this might not.

jchui said...

I don't know if you have tried this again yet, but I tried it and sprayed the balloons just to test if it would be easier to release the chocolate, but the chocolate doesn't cling as well. I recommend just doing it without the spray on the balloon and only on the parchment paper (i used foil, worked the same)

cuppycakes45 said...

When I saw "chocolate covered balloons" as the recipe title I totally did a double take. After reading this tutorial I get it! This is super awesome, I look forward to trying it! Keep the tutorials and great ideas coming!

Anonymous said...

Best way to deflate a baloon slowly: stick a bit of celotape on it and pierce it carefully with a needle.

the celotape ensures that the hole cannot rip bigger and the air just wizzes out the tiny needle prick hole

Jess L said...

I love them! The pink lace bowls just look like ground beef though...

a frog in the cottage said...

thanks to you I won't decorate my kitchen with chocolate the day I'd try !!!

sue said...

Great post! I've thought about trying this, thank you for the "fail" I'll remember this when I do try it. Your end result was beautiful!

Anonymous said...

"edit: thanks to a lovely comment, ...."

Balloons are designed to accomodate air expanding inside them - that's exactly what makes them grow bigger when you blow air into them! So it doesn't really make sense that a balloon would pop because of the air inside of it expanading.

Tiffany said...

Live and learn! It's good to know that I'm not the only person out there that doesn't quite get it right the first time. Awesome post :)

Frankie said...

Brilliant! I love your "Do as I say, not as I do" method. Sounds a bit like my kitchen! :)
I'm definitely going to try this one out.

Aelia said...

If you want "crisp" chocolate bowls, you'll need to stick them in the fridge to set. It helps the chocolate temper properly.

Sarah-Lyn said...

omgosh I love this post and you're hilarious! lol

I can't wait to try this, thanks for sharing your tips! :)

Cheers,
SL

Paula @ Dishing the Divine said...

Can I make a suggestion? :) I did something similar and went through a similar series of mistakes. Then I discovered this method and it works perfectly every time. Give it a shot - I think you'll like the fancy results. :) http://www.dishingthedivine.com/2011/06/22/chocolate-bowls/

Amanda said...

Put them in the freezer before you remove bowls from balloon it will shrink the balloons making them easier to remove.

Anonymous said...

I love this idea !!

Rachel said...

This is such a cute and great idea! Please edit and include to warn your guests that latex was used in making these. Latex allergies are growing fast and furious. No one would want to accidentally serve one of these beautiful bowls to someone who is allergic to latex only to have their guest hospitalized or worse.

ILDeborino said...

I had two chocolate covered baloons exploding in my kitchen as well, and I know how it feels! :D

Anonymous said...

Appreciated your advice, Thanks! Gerry

Michelle said...

Thanks so much for your very candid and funny tutorial. I will read again before I make these
:-)~Michelle

Jacqueline said...

I know I shouldn't laugh and you weren't laughing as you were cleaning it up, but your tutorial is hilarious. I will try and remember the tips and if I don't, I am sure I will after the first one explodes!

Eden said...

If you put a small piece of clear tape on the balloon and poke into the tape, it won't pop at all! It'll slowly release air, allowing you to manipulate the balloon

Anonymous said...

it should work when the chocolate is first melted if you fill the balloons with cool water first

Penelope said...

Thanks for posting this! I hate when cooks pretend that mistakes never happen during the learning process in the kitchen. This was very helpful and I might be making chocolate bowls for Christmas now :)

Michael Lange Optometrist said...

great photos in this tutorial. thanks!

NB said...

I do think it's the latex and not the hot air expanding (balloons are ultimately designed to inflate... not explode)

Anonymous said...

After reading this and all the comments, I think the last thing I'd use for this is a balloon.

1. Some folks have latex allergies. Balloons are a no-no.

2. Oil dissolves latex -- balloons + chocolate are a no-no.

3. If oil didn't dissolve the balloon, why would the chocolate stick to a greased balloon when dipped but not when you take the balloon out? Makes no sense to me.

No, I think I'd wrap plastic around a real-life bowl of some sort -- or an orange, as someone suggested earlier -- and go that route. Better yet, I'd let someone else mess with this and watch while I eat the chocolate out of the pot.

Natasha Terran said...

Great post, love the splattered kitchen photo, makes me feel so much happier to know that such a good cook can still make mistakes!

I have worked for Mad Science hosting kids parties and I can tell you that it was the chocolate melting the latex rather than the hot air expanding the balloons. To solve this problem you can either wait for the chocolate to cool or rather than fill it with air fill it with cold water.

If you fill a balloon with cold water and put a naked flame directing touching the latex I promise you it will not pop, even though you can see the soot build up on the balloon skin.

Of course the only problem you will then have is how to "pour" out the water without it touching and ruining the chocolate!

Anonymous said...

If you fill the balloons with water and make sure the chocolate doesnt go past the level of the water, this will prevent them from popping

Helena, Craft and Creativity said...

This is such a great idea! And a very very funny tutorial. It made me smile. This is exactly the way it is when you try new things, trial and error, and then hopefully you get it right. Thank you for sharing!! :)

Anonymous said...

This was a great post. I much rather enjoy seeing what not to do as opposed to instructions. Thanks for a great idea :)

Anonymous said...

I was just in science class the other day and we learned that oil breaks down latex causing a baloon to pop, so I'm not sure if spraying the oil onto the baloon forst would work. But, once you find out, I'd love to know what happened :]

Anonymous said...

Hi. I'm wondering if the heat from the coco affects the plastic, breaking down its compounds leaving behind a chemical layer that is not healthy to eat? What do you think?

Emma - Netherlands said...

HAHAHA I know its an oldie but I came here for googling chocolate bowls cuz Ive been covered in chocolate for 2 hours after trying to make them but they exploded. Glad to hear I'm not alone and thanks for making me smile with your lovely article! bless!

Meg Dias said...

I tried these the other day, but I put the ballons with the chocolate for 10 min in the fridge, so they were a bit harder to break when removing the baloons. I still broke a few before getting it.

Lovely post! thanks!

kaaren said...

Awesome, I guarantee I would of been cleaning my kitchen walls without this blog post and graphic violent scenes of chocolate "foul play" lol Thanks !

Anonymous said...

if you fill the balloons with water, they won't pop. just dont let the chocolate go above the water line. hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

I haven't done any research on this, but I really wonder if this might not be unhealthy or toxic, as balloons aren't designed for food use???

ravenstarr said...

I once read a tutorial on making wax luminaries. They filled the balloon with water and never dipped past the water line. The cool water prevented the balloon from exploding.

Kimpossible said...

I loved your post!!! So funny!! I'm sure the same things would have happened to me!! Just one small piece of advice though, when you serve these to others be sure they dont have a latex allergy.

Anonymous said...

Do you think we could use bowls? Because I tried balloons and they didn't work trying to get the balloons out of the bowl. The bowls just kept on breaking!!
I really LOVED this idea though I also thing we cut the hole in the balloon to big.

Gram B said...

This was a delightful post. I really enjoyed your reading about your experiment. I glad you figured out so I don't have to.

Gram B said...

I really enjoyed reading about your experience in figuring out the best way to make the chocolate bowls.

pastryrunner said...

Made these in school. Blow the balloons up a little bigger and put them in the freezer for 20 minutes. Dip and after a few minutes cut your tiny hole right next to the knot and you will have what you want!

Mommy Mayhem said...

I've been running my own catering company for a while so I have an advantage here, but it doesn't matter if you let your chocolate cool or even if you leave it in the double boiler. The step missed in this tutorial is to fill the balloons with water and NEVER dip the chocolate higher than the water line. The cool water will help the chocolate start to set right away and prevent the balloons from popping before you're ready to do it yourself. Once the bowls are hard, cut a slice in the top of the baloon, grasp the bottom of the chocolate bowl and flip upside down into a sink. Then peel out your balloon. It will save you a LOT of mess, I promise. :)

Dawn-sama said...

Also, in terms of avoiding poppage, Use water balloons and dip to just under the water line. That way, you don't have the air-expanding problem.

Matt Cilvik said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
corksinjars said...

I love your tutorial, Funny! Just wanted to add, Someone told me to fill the balloons halfway with water. It will keep the balloon cooler. Haven't tried it though.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing! I love the honesty

Anonymous said...

Filling the balloons just about a third full with cool water will work to keep the balloon from popping.

For those that don't think it is the expanding air, try this experiment to convince yourself. Blow up a balloon and hold it about 6" over a candle flame. It will immediately pop, because you are heating the air and it expands. Then do the same thing with a balloon that you have filled a third full of water. The balloon will not pop because the liquid is what is now being heated.

Simple childhood science experiment. Thank you Mr Wizard from TV.

Nadeeka Jayarathna said...

wow nice tips. I will try soon. Thanks for your post.

Shojolove said...

If you put scotch tape on the balloon and then poke a hole with a needle through the tape, it will not explode.