I’ve officially overcome my fear of modeling chocolate!! Not only did I make my own (and it was easy!) but I successfully shaped it into an adorable, slightly plump, giraffe. Ok…ok, he’s more than a little plump, he’s a husky little butterball of a giraffe… but you look into his beady little bulbs and tell me you don’t think he’s totes adorbs??
If that doesn’t make you squeal with the uncontrollable urge to cuddle and/or devour him, look at this cute little butt!!
Alright, now that I’m done making grabby fingers at the screen and singing his praises, let’s get down to business. Modeling chocolate is perhaps one of the easiest and most forgiving mediums I’ve experimented with. It’s silky and pliable, will take any form and color (if using white), and can be smoothed to a shiny finish with just the warmth of your fingertips. It doesn’t dry out the more you handle it, but it can start to get a little too soft, so occasional 5 minute trips to the fridge are necessary but not really a hassle. The recipe for the modeling chocolate is simple, and is available here, but I’m going to dedicate the instruction portion to actually creating El Jefe. Oh, by the way, I named him El Jefe 😜
White modeling chocolate takes color very well, so a small amount is all that is needed – as you can see by the tiny drops of yellow and orange I added to my pure white base. It also helps that I have the concentrated gels from Wilton and Americolor at my disposal. I have not tried the liquid colors but I would imagine that they would work just as well. The ball picture above is a little smaller than the size of my fist and will make the whole giraffe – spots and all.
As you can see I prefer to use a Silpat mat so the modeling chocolate will not stick, but any silicone mat will work, or even a piece of wax paper. Once you’re done kneading your color in, separate your modeling chocolate into three balls in increasing sizes. The top ball, which is the smallest, will be used for the head, tail, and spots. The right ball, medium sized, will be the arms and legs. Lastly, the left ball will be the body. Don’t worry about whether you are getting the right sizes, its easy to add and subtract modeling chocolate.
Using the largest ball, create a peanut like shape with a flat bottom. Take about 2/3 of the medium sized ball and use it to make two legs that are tapered at the end. You will wrap them around the torso and smooth them into the body using the heat of your fingers. I used my thumb to lightly flatten the end of each leg to give it a “paw” shape. I also added a bamboo skewer pieces (believe it or not from kabob skewers) through the main body for added stability. Using the remaining 1/3 of the medium ball, form two “arms” – they will be slightly smaller than the legs.
Half of the smallest ball will make up the head – once again, creating a kind of peanut shape. Once you have attached it to the body (with or without the skewer), I would recommend refrigerating for 5-10 minutes so that it sets slightly and the head doesn’t start to smush the warm body. I used the flat end of a bamboo skewer to press the nostrils, eyes, and belly button into creation, and the sharp point for the mouth and to connect the nostrils to the mouth.
After using a tiny bit more to shape little ears, and tufts on top of the head, I colored the rest of the modeling chocolate brown. Rip off different size pieces and lightly rub them onto the giraffe. You won’t need much, just a tiny pinch, and I didn’t want them all to be circles so I left them oddly formed. The heat from your hands really works miracles by almost “melting” the brown onto the giraffe. The tail was made by pressing a log shaped roll onto his butt, flattening the end slightly, and using the sharp end of the bamboo skewer to create the lines. Small pieces of brown go into the eye and nostril holes, on top of the tufts on his head, and onto his “paws”. Once I was finished adding all of my little personalized touches to the giraffe, I lightly rubbed the whole thing to buff/smooth him to a glossy shine. I’d recommend storing him in a Tupperware container and keeping him in the fridge, but room temperature is also fine as long as your house isn’t too warm – we don’t want a giraffe puddle!
With this basic method it’s possible to create any number of super cute, pudgy little animal friends. Take pictures and share them with your friends, but be prepared for ear piercing screeches and chocolate thievery! 🙂 Don’t be surprised if some of them tell you he is too cute to eat, too!