Pearl Clay Is Too Soft - Can It Be Saved?

Decorating By mbt4955 Updated 24 May 2009 , 4:36pm by -K8memphis

mbt4955 Posted 22 May 2009 , 11:32pm
post #1 of 31

I made two batches of pearl clay using Jennifer Dontz's recipe, but I didn't use Mercken's chocolate (I know ... icon_redface.gif) because I only had one pound left and I didn't want to "waste" it on a free wedding cake. One batch was with Wilton white and the second was with Wilton Vanilla Mint. I thought I was doing it just like I had in the past, but it isn't as hard as my "original recipe" batch was. When I roll it out for my pearl mold, it gets really soft - too soft to use in the mold - and doesn't ever harden back up. Is there anything I can do to save it? I have tried kneading in powdered sugar, but it just isn't working. I now have almost three pounds of useless pink candy clay.

I gave up at midnight last night and used my last bag of Mecken's. It turned out perfect, so I am going to color it pink and have a third batch of pink pearl clay, but will hopefully also have pearls on the wedding cake tomorrow. icon_smile.gif

BTW ... the Vanilla Mint tastes great. Too bad I can't use it. icon_biggrin.gif

Thanks!

30 replies
-K8memphis Posted 22 May 2009 , 11:37pm
post #2 of 31

Are you certain your proportions were correct? I can't figure out why it wouldn't work. Don't tell me Jennifer's exact formula --but it's candy clay + fondant? I mean even if it was plain chocolate, summer coating, almond bark what ever kind of choco you can get plus fondnat--it should work by measurement regardless of brand.

Maybe you already double checked your steps. But Wilton used to make bags full of choco that were 14 oz not 16 oz. could it be something like that??

cakeinthebox4U Posted 22 May 2009 , 11:44pm
post #3 of 31

I'd email Jennifer and ask her what she thinks. I'm sure she's tried different kinds of chocolate and fondant before she found the recipie she uses now.

bobwonderbuns Posted 22 May 2009 , 11:45pm
post #4 of 31

Agreed, I use this stuff all the time and have never had a problem with it. However, I do it exactly as Jen instructs -- I don't use the Wilton melts. Jen should have a voice in this though.

mbt4955 Posted 22 May 2009 , 11:50pm
post #5 of 31

Jen's recipe for the candy clay is different from the others I have seen and the Mercken's bags are a full pound, so I used the quantities for the regular candy clay recipe - one bag candy melts & 1/3 c corn syrup. I've made it before with no problem, so I don't think that was it.

The only thing I can think of is that I didn't let the candy clay sit long enough before I did the next step in Jen's recipe. I'll email her. I didn't do that first because I know that she recommends to use Mercken's ... and I didn't. icon_redface.gif

Maybe I'll just throw it away or keep it by the couch and eat it while I'm watching tv. icon_biggrin.gif

Thanks!

-K8memphis Posted 22 May 2009 , 11:53pm
post #6 of 31

Yeah she'll know.

But how much was in the Wilton bag? 14oz instead of 16 oz??

mbt4955 Posted 22 May 2009 , 11:57pm
post #7 of 31

The Wilton bag was 14 ounces, but I used less corn syrup than Jen's recipe calls for so that part should have been okay.

-K8memphis Posted 23 May 2009 , 12:00am
post #8 of 31

Is it hot in your house? It should get brick hard when you chill it.

mbt4955 Posted 23 May 2009 , 12:04am
post #9 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by k8memphis

Is it hot in your house? It should get brick hard when you chill it.




Do you put yours in the refrigerator? I just leave mine at room temperature ...

It's not hot in my house, but it certainly isn't cold. The batch I made last night with the Mercken's is hard ... just like it is supposed to be. I'll probably try again when I don't need it - just to see if I can figure out where I went wrong.

-K8memphis Posted 23 May 2009 , 12:14am
post #10 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbt4955

Quote:
Originally Posted by k8memphis

Is it hot in your house? It should get brick hard when you chill it.



Do you put yours in the refrigerator? I just leave mine at room temperature ...

It's not hot in my house, but it certainly isn't cold. The batch I made last night with the Mercken's is hard ... just like it is supposed to be. I'll probably try again when I don't need it - just to see if I can figure out where I went wrong.




No I don't chill mine necessarily--I'm just saying that that will strengthen yours. Then maybe when you get it back to room temp it won't be so weak--but you can always put the filled mold in the frige too and extract the beads or whatever you're making. 'Cause the choco is mostly fat right --so if you chill it it will harden.

Y'know just like we might put the fondant in the microzapper to soften it a tad--you can chill your dough to firm it up a bit too. I mean it will get brick hard eventually--so you wanna balance it --get it cold & bring it back to room temp. Or just model your pearls and chill them to extract and apply.

Chocolate thoughts for you.

mbt4955 Posted 23 May 2009 , 12:25am
post #11 of 31

Those are good chocolate thoughts K8, but ... this wedding is outside and it is supposed to be in the 90's. I thought about chilling the mold to get the pearls out, but I'm really afraid that they will get all soft and fall off my cake tomorrow night.

Here's another question that I meant to ask. How do you attach your pearls to your cake? The last wedding I piped a little line of buttercream, but some of it showed. This will be the chocolate pearls on buttercream. Piping gel???

Thanks,

-K8memphis Posted 23 May 2009 , 12:35am
post #12 of 31

Piping gel--great idea.

Oooh, I do not like outdoor receptions!

Great good luck to you, CakeBuddy.
And a little cold front moving in wouldn't hurt either. icon_biggrin.gif

bobwonderbuns Posted 23 May 2009 , 12:42am
post #13 of 31

I use piping gel thinned with a little water to apply the pearls. Works like a charm! icon_biggrin.gif

icer101 Posted 23 May 2009 , 12:50am
post #14 of 31

am i not correct, that jens recipe for chocolate clay.. calls for so many cups of merkens chocolate to such amt. of karo syrup.. not bags or half bags nor 14oz. or 16 oz.. then when that sats up for so long.. then you add it in to so much pettinice.. she loves for you to use pettinice.. i have pettinice.. her recipe. made it 2 weeks ago and it did very good.. correct me if i am wrong..

mbt4955 Posted 23 May 2009 , 12:54am
post #15 of 31

You are right, icer101. Jen's recipe is by cups, but I know how much the correct quantity weighs. I used a smaller quantity of Wilton, so I also reduced the corn syrup.

I used Pettinice, so it wasn't the fondant. I'm just trying to save the huge amount of pink pearl clay that I have sitting around.

I've made Jen's before and it was great. Made it again last night (finally) and it is great again. I'll just take her advice and stick with what I know works (Mercken's). icon_smile.gif

icer101 Posted 23 May 2009 , 12:59am
post #16 of 31

gotcha.... mbt4955.. i understand now...

JenniferMI Posted 23 May 2009 , 2:21am
post #17 of 31

Hi!

Different types of candy melts have different oil contents to them. When I was teaching in Hawaii, we tried to make a batch of pearl clay using Wilton melts...it failed miserably. REALLY soft and oily, sticky....ewwww.... That was the only thing my hostess had, so that was a true test of how different a recipe can turn out.

As far as saving what you made, I really don't know. We also tried to add p. sugar to it, didn't work. You might try firming in frig to see if that will firm it enough to work with. I'm really not sure.

I know I told you this already...and you have used the Mercken's and Pettinice, but for those new users of my recipes.... I HIGHLY recommend using the EXACT ingredients FIRST time around. If you don't, you won't know how it should perform and taste. Then it's ok to experiment. I developed these recipes using those ingredients, so I know they work and work well. I really have not branched out to other brands, sorry. MBT, it's a good thing you did make it first using those, otherwise, you would think the recipes were a failure.

If I can help more, please let me know. Jennifer icon_smile.gif

-K8memphis Posted 23 May 2009 , 2:31am
post #18 of 31

Got any cocoa butter? That might save it--but I'd try it on just a bit--then see if it works.

beemarie Posted 23 May 2009 , 3:13am
post #19 of 31

Is it possible to get this recipe here? Thanks so much. It sounds wonderful.

icer101 Posted 23 May 2009 , 3:20am
post #20 of 31

beemarie.. the recipe is not on this site. it is in jennifers. dvd on clay pearls .. it is delicious.. i made it just like she said.. and she has a dvd on how she makes her fondant also.. hth... they are not expensive .. and she gives so much wonderful details.. its like sitting in a class room with her

beemarie Posted 23 May 2009 , 4:16am
post #21 of 31

Thank you so much, icer. Boy does she do absolutely beautiful work. I will be looking into her dvd's for sure. Thanks!

mbt4955 Posted 23 May 2009 , 12:54pm
post #22 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by JenniferMI

MBT, it's a good thing you did make it first using those, otherwise, you would think the recipes were a failure.

If I can help more, please let me know. Jennifer icon_smile.gif




I'd better stock up on what works. icon_redface.gificon_redface.gificon_redface.gif

Thanks, Jennifer.

JenniferMI Posted 23 May 2009 , 1:06pm
post #23 of 31

You're very welcome Martha!

Jen icon_smile.gif

maddiseeyore Posted 23 May 2009 , 1:17pm
post #24 of 31

I have never heard of pearl clay; what is it, it sounds wonderful! Is there a recipe on CC?

kylekaitlyn Posted 23 May 2009 , 1:18pm
post #25 of 31

I had the same problem. For my son's birthday cake, I made a batch each of red, yellow and dark chocolate candy clay. I used the same recipe for each and used the Wilton melts because that was the only one I could get locally. The yellow and chocolate came out great, but the red was very soft! Weird! icon_confused.gif

bobwonderbuns Posted 24 May 2009 , 1:47am
post #26 of 31

Also Jen is willing to pack a flat rate box to the gills for those heavy items, like fondant and Mercken's choc. for the actual shipping price of the box. It's a good deal! icon_biggrin.gif

kentuckyjode Posted 24 May 2009 , 1:57am
post #27 of 31

Definitely buy her dvd's...they are worth every freakin penny!!!!

bobwonderbuns Posted 24 May 2009 , 2:51pm
post #28 of 31

You know one thing I forgot to mention is that I've made the Pearl Clay with red candy melts and red fondant. It worked but it was considerably more oily than the regular pearl clay. I just use more cornstarch and blot it a lot to help with the oil factor.

JenniferMI Posted 24 May 2009 , 3:06pm
post #29 of 31

BWB - cornstarch could be the key to MBTs problem. Let us know if you try that. But, one hesitation I have with cornstarch.... several people mentioned at ICES this past year, they never roll fondant or anything out on cornstarch because it keeps "working" and will spoil your product faster. Anyone know anything about this? I suppose if you are not going to keep extras for along period. But I thought this was strange, I had never heard that before. People said the left over fondant molded??? But, if you were to get any bad bacteria from a surface, ect, that might cause mold. Thoughts on this??? anyone?

Jen icon_smile.gif

bobwonderbuns Posted 24 May 2009 , 3:36pm
post #30 of 31

When I use a "cornstarch puff" I use a 50/50 combo of cornstarch and powdered sugar. It doesn't dry out as fast, tastes better and I've never had a problem with it. Now I know there are those who will argue that point, but my experience is that it's never been a problem in use with fondant, pearl clay or gumpaste.

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