Ann Reardon

Molecular Gastronomy / Cooking: Chocolate Spherical Recipe

molecular gastronomy cooking chocolate spherical recipe

The kids loved these sphericals, although I think they may have enjoyed playing with them on their hands even more than eating them.

So how do you make them? Well put simply you add sodium alginate to a container of water and then add calcium salts to the liquid that you want to make into a sphere. The two chemicals react causing the alginate to gel thus encapsulating the liquid. You can do this the other way around and add calcium to the water and sodium alginate to the flavoured liquid.

Sounds simple enough – so why do so many webpages say it is ‘tricky’. Well, because it is if you try to invent your own recipe. The reaction between the alginate and calcium is effected by the level of acid, fat and alcohol in the liquid that you use and is also variable depending on the amount of the additives. So you can spend time and money making a beautiful sauce to spherize only to find when you drop it in the ‘bath’ no gel forms around it and it just disperses in the water making a mess like the one below.
molecular cooking fail did not work

I suggest that you start with yoghurt sphericals as they are the easiest and require the least amount of preparation.  Scroll down for chocolate ones.
yoghurt mint sphericals recipe molecular gastronomy
Yoghurt Sphericals Recipe
Alginate Bath: 2 g (0.07 ounces) sodium alginate*
500 millilitres (16.91 fluid ounces) or 2 cups distilled water
*sodium alginate is available in molecular gastronomy kits which are available here: Molecular Gastronomy Kits
this one posts to australia too: Molecular Gastronomy Starter Kit with Tools

Filling: high calcium plain yoghurt
freshly chopped mint
Make your sodium alginate bath by mixing in a blender until fully dispersed, place in the fridge overnight.  There are small amounts of calcium in tap water so it does need to be distilled water – look in the ironing section of the store).

Mix the mint and yoghurt together. Using a round measuring spoon get a scoop of yoghurt, wipe the bottom of the spoon clean, place the bottom of the spoon in the bath and then tip the yoghurt in. Leave for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Stirring allows the gel to form evenly on all sides which helps avoid holes.  Remove the sphericals from the alginate bath and place in a bowl of water to rinse.

There are not many dessert spherical recipes out there, most websites simply seem to repeat a previous one.
chcolate spherical served with raspberry agar gel, vanilla air and chocolate brownie
After some experimenting I finally had success with these chocolate sphericals.  Pictured above with raspberry gel, choc brownie and frozen vanilla air.

Chocolate Spherical Recipe

Calcium Bath: 1 litre (0.26 gallons) or 4 cups water and 8g (0.28 ounces) calcium lactate

Filling: 250 millilitres (8.45 fluid ounces) or 1 cup water small pinch sodium bicarb 1.8 g (0.06 ounces) Sodium Alginate 250 g (8.82 ounces) dark chocolate

Blend water and sodium citrate in a large bowl. Add the sodium alginate and blend again. Put in a saucepan and heat without boiling. Break the chocolate into a bowl and pour the sodium alginate mixture over the chocolate. Allow to sit and then whisk together the chocolate and liquid.

Place spoonfuls into the calcium bath and allow to sit for 10 minutes.  Remove and rinse in water bath.

chocolate esfericacion recette

Unexpectedly the encasing alginate gel is heat stable, so they can be coated in batter and fried. This tastes good but looses the elegant look.

fried chocolate gnache sphericalI did not love the chocolate sauce in this recipe so I tried reverse spherification (high calcium liquid dropped into an alginate bath) with both chocolate ganache and chocolate custard both with no luck.  It did not form a proper gel casing no matter how long I left it for.  It did gel but it was not strong enough to plate.

For those interested in experimenting further, the closest I got was using the custard recipe below and mixing in 200g (7.05 ounces) dark chocolate into the hot custard. The resulting chocolate custard was delicious but would not gel. I added some water (thinking that perhaps the fat content was too high and the calcium could not leach out of the mixture) and a sprinkle of citric acid. This enabled enough of a gel to form that I could put the sphericals in water to rinse – but when I tried to plate it would form a tiny tear and spill.

UPDATE: I finally figured out a great chocolate spherical recipe – all I can say is… YUMMMM!

Warm custard sphericals worked well and tasted great, click to go to recipe.

For a roundup of the best spherical and caviar molecular recipes see this page.

My Cookbook

ann reardon crazy sweet creations cookbook
Stores that sell my book listed by country:
All recipe quantities in the book are in grams, ounces and cups.

13 Comments View Comments

  1. Thanks for all your recipes and shared knowledge!
    I tried anglaise and froze it in half sphere molds and dropped them into the solution! Turned out wonderful! I tried caramel the same way…duh…it doesn’t freeze! I scooped it with a small tool — the first I dropped in the solution was absolutely perfect…the next ones just dissolved in the solution into an icky mess.
    I can’t wait to try your recipes! Thank you!

    • Glad you found it helpful Brenda

  2. Hi can you do a christmas desert but not fruit cake I am cooking desert for 21 people this year and really don’t know what to do they are a fussy bunch I love your website and your cooking and really need your help I was thinking of something like a rocky road but what ever you think I am looking for something cheep and easy tnx

  3. hi ann can you make a tiered ombre cake?

  4. Really appreciate your videos and website, thank you. Do you have a video for this one? I was watching your candy buffet video and right at the end you had these amazing raspberry and choc sphericals, would love to see it and understand it better, see if it’s something I could do.

  5. in the recipe.. is it sodium citrate or sodium bicard is the excact on the first step?thank you

    • hi mayumi, it is sodium alginate that you need

  6. very interesting stuff! Whats the frozen vanilla air recipe? Cheers

    • Hi josh, I haven’t posted that one yet, It uses soy lethicin to create a foam and then you freeze it.

  7. great site keep up the good work will look forward to uing the chocolate sphere recipe.

    • Thanks Chad, After much experimenting I have come up with an awesome chocolate spherical recipe, tastes better than this one, will have to post soon.

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