When one of my readers asked if I knew of any way to make modeling chocolate without corn syrup, I got busy experimenting and, so far, have found that honey is the perfect substitute, especially for white modeling chocolate, and that Dulce de Leche gives milk and dark modeling chocolate a wonderful caramel flavor. I got a chance today to make some white modeling chocolate using the Dulce de Leche and found that the texture is soft and pliable, the flavor is rich and creamy, and the color is soft shade of burnt orange. I was really very happy with this version of modeling chocolate and used it to create the cover of the Social Studies text book pictured above.
My next alternative ingredient isn't as much of a complete swap, as it is a more flavorful version of the original. A&W Root Beer Float Dessert Topper is a root beer flavored ice cream topping usually found in your grocery store in the same isle as hot fudge sauce and ice cream cones. It is essentially root beer flavored, brown colored, corn syrup, certainly not a healthier ingredient to use to make modeling chocolate, but fans of root beer floats will love it. This product also comes in Dr. Pepper, Orange Crush, Jelly Belly Toasted Marshmallow, and Jelly Belly Very Cherry flavors. I can't wait to try them too.
The kids in my area finish up school either this week or next, so in celebration, I made some more books, using white candy coated rice krispies treats as the pages and caramel or root beer flavored modeling chocolate for the book covers. These books can be used as teacher's gifts or snacks for your kids on the last day of school, but there are many other occasions to use them:
- thank you gifts for teacher's of vacation bible school (book decorated like a bible)
- an appreciation gift for librarians who read to kids during summer reading programs
- party favors for an avid reader's birthday party (use their favorite book title)
- fun treat for a book store owner or worker
- a great gift to celebrate a new author's book (use the title of their new book)
Each book can easily be personalized by adding modeling chocolate decorations and writing a book title using edible ink food coloring markers. If you are blessed with beautiful handwriting your books will look much better than mine. If not, do what I did and keep the printing simple and the text short. If you are even more blessed and can draw you'll be able to make amazing looking book covers. Get creative and be sure to send me some pictures of your creations.
Rice Krispies Treat Book Pops (makes 8)
Before you begin, you will need to have a small amount of plain white modeling chocolate (a 1/4 recipe will be more than enough) to decorate the books like I did in the picture above. Click on this link to find the recipe and a detailed tutorial on how to make modeling chocolate. Also note that every brand of white confectionery coating/candy melts can have varying amounts of fat in them, so use this recipe as a guide. You may need to add a little more or less root beer float topping or Dulce de Leche to achieve a pliable consistency.
powdered sugar for dusting work surface
Special Equipment Needed:
Pizza Wheel or knife
baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper
optional: alphabet cookie cutters, rectangle cookie cutter, oval cookie cutter, edible food coloring markers, fine tip paint brush, liquid food coloring, Sculpey Clay Extruder
To Make Root Beer OR Caramel Modeling Chocolate:
Melt 8 ounces of the white confectionery coating/candy melts in the microwave or in a double boiler. If using the microwave, heat on high for 25 seconds, then stir. Heat for 20 seconds, then stir vigorously. Heat for 15 seconds then stir vigorously. If needed, heat for 10 second increments, stirring after each until melted. Allow the chocolate to cool to about 91 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring often. If you add the Root Beer Float sauce or the Dulce de Leche when the candy coating is too hot, the oil will rise to the surface and you will have a greasy mess (if this happens, read this troubleshooting tutorial.) If you don't have a thermometer, test the temperature of the melted candy coating by putting a drop on your lip. It should feel cool. If it's hot, let it cool longer, stirring often to make sure the candy coating at the edges of the bowl does not harden. If you allow it to get too cool, warm it back up to 91 degrees, or you may end up with chunks in your modeling chocolate.
Pour in the A&W Root Beer Float Dessert Topper OR the Dulce de Leche. Stir until well incorporated. The mixture will become thick very quickly, so scrape the bottom of the bowl to incorporate all of the melted chocolate. Pour mixture out onto a counter top, preferably marble or granite. Knead until glossy and smooth. My hands tend to be rather warm, so I use a plastic bench scraper to help me knead the modeling chocolate, so that I don't over heat it as this can bring out the oils in the chocolate.
To Create the Book Covers:
To Create the Book Covers:
Dust your work surface with a small amount of powdered sugar. Roll out the modeling chocolate to 1/16"-1/8" thick. Cut into 5" x 2 7/8" rectangles. Cut out modeling chocolate decorations and attach them to the rectangles using a very small amount of water. Add book titles using edible ink food coloring markers, a fine tip paint brush and liquid food coloring, or by cutting out modeling chocolate letters using alphabet cookie cutters. You can use a ruler and knife to cut out stripes or use the technique below.
Optional decorating technique:
I use a Sculpey Clay Extruder to make a lot of decorative pieces out of modeling chocolate. The clay extruders can be found at your local craft stores in the clay isle. Of course, you'll want to buy one to exclusively use for modeling chocolate, but they are usually around $10-$12, so not a big investment for something you can use for so many different projects. To use, attach the metal disc with the appropriate hole (the one I used here makes a flat strip), roll some modeling chocolate into a log, place it in the clay extruder tube, insert the plunger, and press the modeling chocolate out onto your work surface. Attach the decorations to your book covers by brushing a light coating of water on one side and pressing the wet side onto the book cover. Cut off any of the decoration that hangs over the edge of the book cover. Note: Be sure to clean your extruder after each use and dry it well or it will rust.
To Create the Rice Krispies Treat Books:
Unwrap rice krispies treats and insert a craft stick into each. Melt 16 ounces of white confectionery coating/candy melts - for instructions click on this link. Pour into a tall glass leaving 2" of space at the top of the glass. Dip a rice krispies treat into the white candy coating completely covering the cereal. Lift the treat out of the candy coating and shake to remove excess. I find it best to quickly dip the top of the treat back into the candy coating a few times. This helps to pull the excess candy coating off.
Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Set one modeling chocolate book cover, decorated side down, on the baking sheet. Set one dipped (and still wet) rice krispies treat pop on the right side of the book cover. Fold the left side of the book cover up and over the rice krispies treat pop. Press gently to adhere the book cover to the candy coating. Repeat, adding more candy coating to the glass as needed, to create a total of 8 books. Freeze books for 5-8 minutes until the candy coating is set. Allow to come to room temperature before packaging or eating.
Wrap in clear cellophane bags if using as gifts. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Your Rice Krispies Treat Book Pops should stay fresh for a few weeks.