Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Pop Goes The Chocolate

"A good snack is never better than when it is shared with a good friend, and some good laughs." -Me

Can you tell I am beyond exhausted today? I am not feeling clever or witty AT. ALL. So that quote is me being exhausted and feeling the need to have a lovely clever opening line. My apologies. I need a nap.

 So no it's not a very funny/creative/inspiring quote but I felt like it portrayed what happened here. Treat sent us this  Pinstrosity involving all of the above. The snack itself probably wasn't as satisfying as the memory of the event, and the laughs that were had during and after the Pinstrosity. Check it out:

The Original

The picture was from this Tumblr, however  it looks like it could belongs to this Food Network tutorial**:

A beatiful centerpiece that you can eat after, where do I sign up?!

The Pinstrosity

Not like the first picture eh? Bummer city.
Here is how it all went down!

"My fiancĂ© found this pin...a few days ago and being the handy and foodie guy he is, thought it would be a great idea to try.  How hard could it possibly be?  Melt some chocolate via a double boiler, drizzle it on a balloon, let cool to form a crust, pop the balloon and TA-DA!  Awesome chocolate bowl! 

...Except that is not at all what happened...

First, melted chocolate doesn't run that much.  When it just sat on top of the balloon, we decided it needed to be more liquid-y.  I knew from past cooking experiments we could add SOME cream, but I knew if we over-did it it would turn into ganache and never harden.  So we added a little... which only served to solidify our chocolate.  (To understand why, see Alton Brown's Good Eats, Season 1 episode 13.)   [ ]  So we added brandy... Who doesn't love chocolate + alcohol?! Taste + function!  The brandy did dilute the chocolate and cause it to dribble smoothly down the balloon!  Success!   We got one balloon completed and put it in the fridge.

....But then we got greedy and tried to make another... and that is when it went horribly wrong...

We got about half the chocolate on the balloon and were starting to add another drizzle, when BAM!!!  The balloon popped.  Ok, the balloon popped, sad.  But the liquid chocolate went EVERYWHERE!  It was all over the walls, the floor, the ceiling and even 12 feet to the laundry room door.  It went ALL over my fiancĂ© who had been hovering over the balloon to get the drizzle just right.  But rather than cutting our losses, we tried again, and again, and again...

There was so much chocolate everywhere that it was hard to express the amount of damage.  We spent hours cleaning chocolate out of crevices and off the floor and ceiling.

Ultimately, we were able to get 3 balloons done.  And unfortunately, they didn't even work.  The alcohol let the chocolate get very hot, hot enough to pop the balloons, and then didn't allow the chocolate to cool and solidify.  When we popped the balloons to get the bowl out, it all just caved in on itself.

I would qualify this as an epic fail!  Thankfully we got some good laughs out of it."

So the problem? Thick chocolate. The pseudo fix? Cream and brandy. The turn out? Sad.
Let's break it down.

The Food Network suggests using a punching balloon, you know the kind your little ones use to annoy the heck out of you? Yeah, those ones. I think those generally tend to be thicker, so they are more sturdy and the site says they release from the balloon cleaner so they don't stick to the chocolate which can also be a problem. 
They say to secure the balloon with a ribbon so you can untie it later and let air out slowly when you are ready for the big reveal.

They then go through the directions (which I suggest you read in full before doing this because I am just paraphrasing) and say to dip the balloon in the chocolate one or twice at the top for a base coat. Here is where you need to take into account how hot the chocolate is. Too hot and your balloon pops.

Now as for the drizzling, the Food Network says to put the chocolate in a  piping bag and drizzle and pipe it on that way, less messy too I would think. 

If you feel your chocolate is too thick, you can add little bits of Crisco, to it. You CAN add liquor but after some looking around I see a lot of people say to be super careful with that because sometimes it becomes TOO runny. 

As for the popped balloons I think keeping your heat monitored should take care of that issue but there are never any guarantees so wear an apron. :) 
So they didn't get to eat all the chocolate they were hoping for, but they ended up with an awesome story and a funny Pinstrosity and in our book that's never a bad thing ;)

Happy Wednesday Pinstrosipeeps!

**If anyone can find the original link for the first picture we will give you a shout out! Thanks!!**


  1. Paramount Crystals - I use them for getting cake-pop chocolate the right consistency. They are the best thing ever for dealing with melted chocolate thickness. Also, be sure to use chocolate made to melt easily.

  2. this is so great. i also tried to make choclate bowls that i found on pintrest before i saw this sight :( . i tried for 2 days to make the damn bowls and got chocolate everywhere. the closest i got to a bowl looked more like an ashtray. it was a laugh and frustrating all the same. wish i had a picture for you now

  3. Another way to "pop" the balloon (if you forget to just tie it with a string) is to lay a piece of masking or boxing tape over it (the clear kind?) and carefully puncture it. This keeps the balloon from exploding & allows the air to escape slowly (it's how magicians do the "needle-thru-the-balloon-without-popping-it" trick).

  4. Could this be the original source?

  5. Laughing out loud - love it!

  6. I imagine that if you are successful in doing this that the chocolate will have a latex taste too it. Plus, you might not want to serve these at a party because, you might have someone with a latex allergy.

    Honestly, the only way this could be done is if you used 1 small bouncy ball, and covered it in plastic wrap. You'd still have to pop the ball, but it would hold up my better than a balloon, and the plastic saran wrap would keep it from falling apart. (spray wrap with PAM spray to keep it from sticking to chocolate. IMO

  7. I'm a pastry chef and here is my tip. If you do not know how to temper chocolate, then use melting chocolate. Put them on a double boiler and wait for it to melt. When it does, take it off the heat and let it sit for a minute while stirring the chocolate to let it cool for a moment. When the chocolate is still runny but warm to the touch, then just dip your balloon in it then turn it upside down to let it run. If it is not running as much, use your finger to help it along a little. You want to sit the chocolate face down on parchment paper so it can sit on the table when it is cold.

    *Spray your balloon with a cooking spray before you dip the chocolate to let the balloon release better or you need to carefully pop the balloon and pry it off the chocolate.

  8. The chocolate is sorta designed to be a holder rather than something to eat I gather.
    I went to a cooking class and the instructor was trying something like this and we found that not blowing the balloons up too far was also key, as over-stretching the plastic increased the popping risk. Water balloons also do NOT work (we had to pick the plastic out of the chocolate in the pot).
    And yes, letting the air out slowly was one other key factor - and the advantage to only having the balloons blown up a little way was that they were less likely to explode on insertion of a small knife making a little hole.
    That said, he was just making straight bowls, rather than all this extra decoration!

  9. I have wet britches now!!! Gotta go change clothes!

  10. We made these once, and they turned out well. We just dipped the balls. It required edible wax. They were so cool... but tasted like candy coating not chocolate.

  11. I'm glad I'm not the only one that this happened to. I finally got it to work by filling the balloon with water.


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