Modeling Chocolate: White Chocolate vs. Candy Melts

Now that you have the ins and outs of how to make modeling chocolate (MC), let’s take a look at how to select the right product to make your MC out of.  Everyone has different needs, and budgets and availability so my goal is to explain my observations without deeming one product superior. That way you can make the best choice for you!

A-white-chocolate-web

For simplification I am going to analyze white chocolates and candy coatings at this time but understand that darker chocolates will also follow suit. The observations noted will include composition, price, color, ease to make, ease to fix, texture,  and taste and mouthfeel.

I tried to sample a variety of media (without going too crazy) that are widely available and you might be likely to use. They include Wilton candy melts, Ghiradelli baking chips, Wilton white chocolate, Ghiradelli baking bar and Callebaut callets (28% cocoa butter).

These are their differences as they relate to modeling chocolate.

A-palm-and-cocoa-web

1. Composition. The greatest divide between theses products comes in their fat composition. Both candy coating and white chocolate contain sugar,  milk powder, lecithin and vanilla, but white chocolate uses cocoa butter for its fat while coatings and chips use palm oil. The palm oil is hydrogenated to make more solid at room temperature and more like cocoa butter. Above left is palm oil that is non-hydrogenated and remains creamy. It is likely that palm oil used in candy melts is more like the cocoa butter on the left. Cocoa butter is so solid at room temperature that it flakes rather than scoops.

A-Color-comp-web-words

2. Color. One of the most considerable factors in choosing a MC medium is color. Because cocoa butter is golden colored (see above) it imparts a pale yellow hue to white chocolate and the MC made from it. If you are looking for a natural color or a planning to tint your modeling chocolate a warm tone this is not a problem, but it can easily muddy and mute cool tones. Also, if you need a bright white it will have to be adjusted with white food coloring.

Palm oil on the other hand is white and produces a modeling chocolate in a tone that is easier to manipulate.  Moreover, candy melts and coatings come in a wide variety of colors which means they don’t require time to tint or money to invest in coloring products.

A-chocolate-taste-web

 3. Money. Cost is also an important consideration when choosing a product. Here is a list of approximate cost per ounce of the product that I used.

  • Wilton Candy Melts: $0.25/ounce
  • Ghiradelli White Baking Chips $0.30/ounce
  • Wilton White Chocolate $0.50/ounce
  • Ghiradelli White Chocolate Baking Bar $0.80/ounce
  • Callebaut White Chocolate Callets $0.75/ounce

White chocolate can cost more than three times what a confectionary coating does.

A-seized-web

4. Resistance to failure.  Due to the fact that coatings and melts contain palm oil which has a higher melting temperature than  cocoa butter it is less likely to break and leach fat than white chocolate it. Palm oil is also softer at room temperature than cocoa butter is so it is easier to work in fat that has leached out from the chocolate. For this reason candy melts are less likely to “fail” when mixed than white chocolate is.

a-taste-chocolate-web

5. Fixability. Maybe correctable is the appropriate word?? Either way, for the same reasons that palm oil products are resistant to failure they are more difficult to correct. A broken MC made from white chocolate is easier to work back into a smooth product because of the fact that cocoa butter has a lower melting temperature than hydrogenated palm oil.

A-MC-squish-labels-web

6. Texture. Here is where we start comparing the actual MC product side by side. Above I have tried to give you a picture that indicates what the textures are like but in truth the differences are extremely subtle and can only be felt in hand (that is except for the white baking chips). Here are their properties.

  • Candy melts yield the most smooth, silky product by feel. They also have a stretchy quality that is not found in white chocolate.
  • Baking chips make a terrible modeling chocolate that is very dry crumbly. It barely holds together. This product, as well as “almond bark” coatings, can work in a pinch but add at least one more part corn syrup to keep it held together.
  • White chocolate modeling chocolate has beautiful moldability but has an underlying graininess that I found with all types of white chocolate. It is very subtly like moon sand. Don’t let me deter you by saying this; it is extremely subtle but it is just not quite as stretchy as candy melts. All of the white chocolates that I tried behaved similarly and created a lovely final product.

A-taste-vanilla-web

7. Taste and mouthfeel. Not surprising, a modeling chocolate tastes like the product it is made from so it comes down to a matter of preference.  I, in  a shameful sort of way, liked the Wilton white chocolate. It was pleasant and simple and was not nearly as sweet as the Ghiradelli baking bar, which was so sweet that it sort of hurt my brain. Callebaut tasted more like cocoa butter but in a pungent way that was not for my taste buds. The candy coating and chips tasted sweet and vanilla-y. They were not unpleasant just lacking cocoa butter flavor; more neutral perhaps. This you will have to taste for yourself and decide.

Where candy melt MC was silky by feel, white chocolate MC is silky on the tongue. The lower melting temperature of cocoa butter allows the white chocolate MC to dissolve creamily in the mouth.  The candy melts and chips were slightly gritty like small sugar crystals remained present.  Again, these differences were barely perceptible but still there nonetheless.

So there you have it! All sorts of things to consider when choosing what to make your modeling chocolate from. I hope this helps your decision making process and you can move forward into modeling chocolate wonderfulness!

My next post will describe 15 (or more!) ways to color modeling chocolate. I know you can hardly believe it so stay tuned! Hugs!

 

 

 

61 thoughts on “Modeling Chocolate: White Chocolate vs. Candy Melts”

  1. I love how you take the work out of these choices by filling us in on the details. I used to think that I was being cheap or lazy using the readily available wilton product but now i am convinced it is also the best choice for my application. Thanks so much!

    1. I usually use Wilton candy melts because of color and availability. Also, in the past I have had batches made with white chocolate get weird (before I knew what I was doing 😉 so I shied away from it. Having gone through all of the options though. I would probably use white chocolate when taste is considerable factor and I know everyone is going to eat it, such as on cookies. Both are great options so I think the situation would dictate. I hope that wasn’t too vague 🙂 What is your preference?

  2. Summer awesome article thank you, which mc had the most stability in figure moulding? I stay in a hot humid area and find my mc doesn’t always hold its shape? Thanks again

    1. I would use candy melts if things are going to be hot. It is less susceptible to heat because of the higher melting temperature of palm oil. I would also use a higher end ratio of melts to corn syrup (like 5:1). It will be more firm in general and should hold up better. Good luck 🙂

      1. Love this post Summer! I too live in a hot area (Greece) and want to use MC for a cake in June (hot…) to make small roses. If I cannot find candy melts and use white chocolate in the ratio for medium firmness, will I be able to make them? Or it would be better to use the firm ratio?

        1. I would use the firm, but you may need to warm your petals in your hand before shaping them. Firm modeling chocolate is less flexible. You can always add more corn syrup or glucose syrup if the petals tear too easily or are too brittle. Best of luck!

          1. Oh, sorry, I didn’t clarify! I am making the simplest form of roses with ribbons from modelling chocolate. Nothing elaborate, I am an amateur! But, firm sounds logical for that as well. Thank you!

  3. Thanks for the legwork on this! I haven’t made modeling chocolate yet because I refuse to use anything with hydrogenated oil in my cakes, but I haven’t been confident in using real chocolate, since all the popular recipes are stuck on the candy melts and I know it behaves easier!
    Looking forward to seeing your results on the dark/milk chocolate. 🙂

    1. I totally understand! I don’t relish the idea of feeding people hydrogenated fats either. Most of the decorations I make using modeling chocolate get peeled off before eating but will probably use real chocolate on my cookies from now on since I love to decorate them with modeling chocolate. Don’t be afraid of the white chocolate. It really is not more difficult to make than candy melts. You just need to give it a good amount of rest time after and it is very correctable if you don’t get it just right the first time. Try it with an inexpensive white chocolate such as Wilton’s for your first go. I found a 2lb bag at Walmart near the candy melts for $15 so it is quite reasonable as far as white chocolate goes. I am working on all of the coloring methods now and will soon post so that you can see all of the options to tint it. Best of luck!

    1. I would use candy melts since they stretch better and are easier to get nice thin petals. White chocolate tends to crackle a little at the edges when thinned. Good luck!

  4. Hi Summer ~ Thank you for posting your findings above. It helped answer some of the issues I had recently, when I thought I was doing something wrong. After reading what you posted, I was wondering if you considered mixing Wilton’s Candy Melt with their White Chocolate to see if that would help even out the taste and texture? Something worth trying . . . would you think?

    1. I have mixed them post production and they are great together. I think mixing before hand would work wonderfully too!

  5. I had heard one person’s preference was for Guitard white chocolate chips. I was hoping that would be included in your comparison, but alas. The only thing I’ve actually used is Wilton candy melts. Maybe I’ll have to make a batch with Guitard chips just to see how it compares.

    1. I have heard that as well. I just did not have access to them at the time of testing. If I run across them I will try them and let you know. I did find that all of the white chocolates behaved very similarly though so I would expect it to be similar. Let me know if you try it!

  6. Thank you so much for this post. I’ve never seen Wilton white chocolate. Would it be possible to see the package so that I know what I am looking for?

    1. I found mine at Walmart in the cake decorating/candy melt section in a 2lb bag for $15. It has a chocolate fountain picture on the front. Here is an image from amazon but the price is outrageous so don’t buy them from there!

  7. Thank you so much for sharing all of your wonderful information. I wish I had seen this yesterday. I trashed a batch of Modeling Choc. made with Bright White Melts. I used 1 lb, (By Weight) of melts and 1/2 cup of Corn Syrup by weight. It would never firm up. Never had that happen before.

    1. Bummer! Yes, I would use less corn syrup when making modeling chocolate with candy melts or you will get a rather soft final product. I hope your next batch is better!

  8. Hi there…how about using compound chocolate? Does it have similar characteristics to candy melts? I would believe so since it’s from palm oil. I tried once making MC only with Beryl’s compound chocolate. But the oil seems to leak so much during the working time. Taste wise no problem. It still remain in my freezer,not knowing what to do.

    1. If it is a problem with oil leaking then it is probably getting too warm. I would bring it to room temperature overnight and then gently work it on a cool surface (such as a granite or marble counter or tile or even a cooled baking sheet) until it smooths out and the fats work back in to the rest of the modeling chocolate. If your hands are warming it excessively try wearing gloves or working it with a bench scraper. The characteristics of the compound chocolate will depend on the fat percentage and degree of hydrogenation. I do not have experience with this product so I am afraid I cannot help when discussing its properties. If anyone had experience with beryl’s compounds I would welcome further suggestions 🙂

    1. Wilton makes a white candy melt and a white chocolate disk that is made with cocoa butter. I like both of them; I wouldn’t say I hugely prefer one over the other. The situation dictates which one I use 🙂

  9. Thank you so much for this info, you rock!!! Quick question: how long can you store/save modelling chocolate. How about colored modelling chocolate, how long can you save it in case you have leftovers? Thank you and advance!!

  10. Thanks so much for this analysis! I just spent 20 minutes fighting a batch of MC made with Ghirardelli white chips and couldn’t understand what I had done wrong to make it so darn crumbly. Glad it wasn’t just me!

  11. hi

    the white chocolate i have contain vegetable oil not palm oil or coco butter. how can i deal with it. I try many time to do modeling chocolate but never succeed
    what u advice me to do?
    and how many chocolate and corn syrup should i used in this case?

    thank u soo much

    1. What kinds of problems are you having? Is that the only white chocolate you have access to? Let me know. I would love to try and help 🙂

  12. hi
    in my place there is no candy melt, so all we have white chocolate. but i read the ingredients it doesn’t contain coco butter. just vegetable oil.
    the modeling chocolate i do gracy ,sticky and i left it 3 days and doesn’t firm, it still soft
    maybe the chocolate is the problem, maybe i couldn’t measure wright corn syrup.
    i can not figure what is the problem.
    can u help me please.
    thank u a lot

    1. If your modeling chocolate is coming out very soft I would try making one with a high ratio of chocolate to syrup, like 6:1 (6 ounces chocolate with 1 ounce corn syrup by weight). If the chocolate is made with vegetable oil that is not excessively hydrogenated it will melt at a very low temperature, so you will want to keep things as cool as possible while you are working with it so the mixture doesn’t break. Do you have access to straight cocoa butter? You could add melted cocoa butter to your melted chocolate to bring the fat composition in better order. If you modeling chocolate still seems soft you could work in some corn starch to help firm it up to a nice working consistency. Let me know how it goes and if I can help more 🙂

  13. Hi
    I don’t have access to cocoa butter. And I don’t know whats look like 🙂

    About cornstarch, do u mean I but some cornstarch in chocolate when I melt it? Or after finished when I knead the modeling chocolate?

    I wiil take u advice and make 6:1 chocolate to syrup and se waht I got.

    Thank u so much for u attentions. 🙂

  14. Hi… again 🙂

    I did it .. I did it .. I make it 🙂 🙂

    I am so happy and proud , ofcourse I culdn’t make it with out u and your advices .

    Big thanks to u like sea size, like sky high, for you attention and patient , you are give me agood helps and decision to try many times and to succeeded.
    You are really kind person, and good friend.
    Knowing u is the best thing happend to me.

    Wish u see my first rose wih modeling chocolate, I am so happy, did I say that befor ? 🙂 .

    Thanks alot my friend, wish u great time. 🙂

  15. You are amazing!!!!

    Thank you soooo much for this. I live in Costa Rica, it’s a very humid little country, and the first time I tried modeling chocolate, it was a pain.
    I was not using the correct amount of chocolate or corn cyrup, and it was soft and it was not holding up well.
    I honestly gave up.
    Until I saw, read and followed your recipes to the dot, and now I LOVE it.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you sooo much 🙂

    Here is the rose that I made to decorate a wedding cake, with one of Jessica’s Craftsy class and designs for this past weekend.

    It went on top of a push pop tower 🙂

    https://www.facebook.com/TresPollitosEnvueltos/photos/pcb.655348327889364/655348297889367/?type=1&theater

    Thank you sooo much 🙂

    1. Awesome! Fun flower! I am so glad that you were successful with this information. Great job on the hexagon pattern too. I helped Jessica prep for her Craftsy class so I know how involved cutting and placing all of those shapes can be 😉 Keep up the good work!

  16. Hello Summer. This was really cool of you to put together. I am planning on making a Zombie Head and sholder cake. I want to use a styrofoam head and cover is with modeling chocolate. So when it comes to coloring it (using Wilton), can I airbrush my coloring?

    1. The airbrush color is likely to bead up on the modeling chocolate. You may be better off with a modeling chocolate fondant mix. You will retain some of the modeling properties and get the powdered sugar to absorb some of the color moisture as well. Otherwise, you may be better off adding dry color dust to contour your zombie. Wish I could see it! So fun!

  17. Hello
    Everything I do in these last months is to read and reread this post, see the videos of the internet, and try to understand what’s wrong with my modeling chocolate…
    I’m frustrated and disappointed.
    I can not give the right spot!
    Until the time that the charope mix corn with chocolate, just like in the videos, the fat already separated, sometimes it seems that this recipe right, but in time to handling it and crumbles, and order is always the same: big mess
    After following more than seven recipes, and play out over 4kilos white chocolate Sical Callebout.
    Here in brazil there is no candy melt. I Bought on ebay, and will take about a month to arrive, a very different value than you have there!
    But now I read that it’s more difficult to go wrong using the fractional chocolate, you will be held to pass me this recipe?
    Please?
    Until my candy melts not arrive, I can try with this recipe!
    I really appreciate if you can answer me!
    A big hug, XOXO

    1. Hi Fernanda, Here is the link with Modeling Chocolate Recipe Quantities. It should provide the information you need for making modeling chocolate from candy melts and white chocolate. If you modeling chocolate is crumbling though you need to add a bit more corn syrup. This will help it hold together better and have a more workable consistency. When you get your candy melts it may be helpful to mix a portion of melts and chocolate for your modeling chocolate so that you get the best of both worlds.

      I am so sorry for your frustration. I know how terrible it feels when you are trying and trying to get something to work and just can’t put your finger on what the problem is. If you use my recipe and still have troubles please write me back and we can work together to find a solution. All the best to you! 🙂

      1. Hi Summer, dear Summer!!! 😀 U brought back my hope! 😀
        Of all the eight times I did the MC just a chocolate broke in all other fat is released.
        But I’m not afraid anymore!
        I had read this post, but I’m not sure how the numbering (2: 1) I do not understand English well, but I’ll try to do this now measure 227 grams of white chocolate and 71 grams of corn syrup!
        I do not move much chocolate so that it is free from fat, but I have faith it will work!
        Thank you Summer, you brightened my day!
        Tomorrow I’ll tell u how it was! I’ll wait for success!
        A big hug, and I can not forget to say that I love this blog, <3 ur beautiful amazing and sooooo perfect cakes!
        Love yá!
        Thanks a Lot!!! 😀

        I'm so happy and full of hope 😀 😀 😀

  18. Hi Summer unfortunately it did not work! 🙁
    MC became a broke and shattered mess!
    I tried to fix the problem as u teach heating some seconds in the microwave and when pushing the MC, he put all his fat in my hands
    I was upset , but I’m still hopeful! 😀
    I’ll try the chocolate fractionated this time or chocolate cover…I just wanted to know if chocolate to cover is the same measure? (227 grams of white chocolate and 71 grams of corn syrup)
    I ‘m grateful 4all ur help!

    Thanks Summer! 😀
    XOXOXOXOXOXOXO

    1. Hi Fernanda, I’m sorry that did not work out 🙁 Sometimes it is hard to predict what the result will be when I do not have the product on hand you are working with. With the candy melts use 227 grams of melts and 57 grams of corn syrup. (You can round these to measurable quantities like 230 grams candy melts and 60 grams of corn syrup). Good luck! Let me know how it goes! 🙂

    1. It should work fine as long as you keep an eye on the flexibility of the candy melts. The timing will be slightly different so you may need to play around with it a bit. 🙂

  19. Hello Summer, I have found your post at the perfect time while I’m making a batch of white MC with Wilton candy melts. Thank you for doing all this research it is very helpful. I wonder if you know the basic ratio of chocolate to corn syrup that would make adjusting the recipe for quantities other than 1 lb of chocolate a bit easier. Tkx!

  20. Dear summer
    Hi… remember me 🙂

    I need u’re help againe please

    Can you measure with cup.?
    Like: one cup of corn syrup need how many cups of white chocolate?

    Thanks alot

    1. For white chocolate I like to use a ratio of 3 1/2 to 1 by weight. I cup of chocolate or candy melts is about 6 ounces. and 1 cup of corn syrup is about 10 1/2 ounces. So, it comes out to about 3 tablespoons corn syrup to 1 cup of white chocolate. I hope this helps!

  21. Dear summer,

    When I used 500g of chocolate and 1/3 cup of corn syrup it comes crumble and break, I didn’t know why ,maybe I stirring less.

    And because I culdn’t deal with this kind of chocolat ,I told u that befor.

    I used 500g white chocolate and 100 ML corn syrup, it’s alittel more than 1/3 cup,

    Anyway, it seeme work.

    I wish u see my work 🙂

    http://instagram.com/p/wTEwt9u10j/

    I will be happy if u see this link

    Thank u soo much for u help

    Wish u great time .

    Bye my friend.
    🙂

    1. Beautiful yellow roses! I am so glad that you were able to get it to work. Hopefully in the future you will have no problems. 🙂

  22. Hi Summer. Here in Australia corn syrup is hard to come by and very expensive. I was wondering if I could use glucose syrup instead, and if so would it be in the same ratio? I know glucose is quite a bit thicker in consistency than corn syrup, so wondering also if it would need ‘thinning out’ a bit with a liquid?
    Thank you for providing such a wonderful and in depth resource for all of us hobby bakers (and the pros!) out there!

    1. Hi Natalie, I have not worked with glucose syrup much but from what I have heard from readers the modeling chocolate that is produced with glucose syrup is subpar to that made with corn syrup. So sorry about this. Do any of you in Australia know of a good corn syrup source? I hope you can find access or another product that will work well.

  23. Hello. I’ve never used candy melts and am brand new to this whole thing. I want to make oreo truffles for halloween, and the recipes call for candy melts to color and decorate the outside (the inside is oreo and cream cheese mixed together). Taste is the most important factor. They don’t have to be molded perfectly. I’m just dipping oreo & cream cheese balls into the colored melted chocolate or candy melts. Then I plan to decorate them. I don’t care if they look perfect, but don’t want a compete visual disaster either. It sounds like you are saying white chocolate would be better. Can I just melt and color the white chocolate with food coloring? If so, do you have any posts explaining how best to do that? And do you agree that white chocolate would be better for this recipe? I’m making things like purple monster, orange pumpkin, white mummy, maybe a green witch . . . but want them to taste good. Just balls dipped in coloring…thank you!

    1. If flavor is your ultimate goal, I would go with white chocolate. You can add a little bit of gel color without disrupting the chocolate flow but if you want bold colors you should opt for an oil based coloring (found in basic tones at Michael’s or more extensive color selection on amazon). The water based nature of gel colrs will cause the chocolate to seize if too much is added. The thicker the gel color the better, like the kind you scoop out rather than drop in.
      The candy melts really don’t taste bad though and save a lot of time and trouble if they, especially just as an outer coating. I have used them on Oreo truffles and they were delicious (see Mario Party). I hope that answers your questions. Have a Happy Halloween!

      1. Thanks very much! I’ve decided to try both, although I really hope white chocolate isn’t all that difficult bc taste (at least to me) should always be the primary concern. But, yes, Happy Halloween! Pretty soon it will come and go, and whatever we eat, we eat. 🙂

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