Here's the problem: I'm trying to make a chocolate cage, and eventually want it to looks similar to the following picture:
Right now I'm trying to practice by using the methods described by Bo Freiburg in his book "The Professional Pastry Chef", if any of you are familiar with that. His book illustartes a spherical "bird cage" constructed by blowing up a balloon, trying it off, coating it in vegetable oil, and then piping chocolate onto the oiled balloon, letting it cool, and then slowly releasing the air, leaving the cage intact.
I've managed to make the cage properly, but the chocolate will not set at room temp. So far I've had to freeze the balloon for about 90 seconds to get the chocolate to set before I've been able to release the air and stand my cage on a plate. Of course, the cage quickly melts. I used Bo's simple recipe for Piping Chocolate (12 oz. Dark Coating Chocolate, and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of simple syrup). The directions state that the melted chocolate should form soft peaks after adding the simple syrup. My chocolate never achieved soft peaks, so I stopped adding simple syrup after 1 teaspoon.
His recipe calls for Dark Coating chocolate, which I was told is the same thing as baker's chocolate. Is this correct? I purchased 12oz of Ghiradelli 60% Cacao Baking Bars to use for my chocolate. Is this the wrong type of chocolate to be using?
I guess I'm looking for someone to identify a flaw in my process. I was told that baking chocolate didn't need to be tempered, so I didn't temper. Also, I'm not entirely clear on the process. If anyone has any ideas, I could really use some help to crack this one.