Hilliard’s Little Dipper
We acquired the machine, a few years ago, used on eBay and found out that the manufacturer date was in the early 1960’s. The unit appeared to have been stored for years with a little chocolate left in the bowl, it smelled like it had been in an area that was fumigated and was so dirty it just stunk.
I completely disassembled the machine and over several hours cleaned every nook and cranny, reassembled it and turned it on with fingers crossed……. It worked like 1960’s new. Reassembly can be tedious if you aren’t mechanically inclined and did not pay attention to how it came apart, although in my opinion there is not much there to get wrong it just needs to be done in the correct order or you will disassemble it again to get it right.
The unit itself is a simple bowl with a plate separating the bowl in half. The bowl rotates by an electric motor underneath, at a slow but steady rate by the flip of a switch. In the back half of the bowl seed chocolate (or chaperones per Joanne) is placed. In the front half, when in operation, you have melted, tempered chocolate and there is a thermometer connected electronically to the heater (light bulb) and the cooler (fan) to keep it just right, like Goldilocks stolen porridge. With this older analogue model the temperature is controlled by a dial on the front of the machine. The dial gage and electronics inside have proven quite accurate every time I have tested them. The motor is a 110 volt electric easily maintained and replaceable, although I doubt I will ever need to.
The only modification, I have made, to the unit is two 5” angle L’s placed on the back of the unit with a wire stretched between over the back half of the bowl. This allows me to dip directly from the bowl and have an easy way to scrape excess chocolate from the bonbons with that chocolate just dripping back into the back side of the bowl to be reintroduced to the chocolate in front of the bowl.
This is solid piece of equipment that doesn’t wear out, or rust out. It is stainless steel throughout and the motor I believe will go on forever with little maintenance. This is old school style equipment for tempering chocolate, but works like a charm.
1. It’s solid as a rock
2. It tempers nicely up to 8-10# of chocolate at a time.
3. You can, continually, manually add melted chocolate while in production and maintain your temper if you are careful to increase its output.
4. If you leave the heat on overnight it tempers quickly with little fuss the next morning. (Don’t leave the bowl turning or you could have a mess in the morning.)
5. Easy to clean exterior, it can be disassembled or just wipe it down.
6. Parts from Hilliard’s are still available.
7. Easily acquired light bulb heats the bowl.
8. Reasonably inexpensive when bought used and easy to find on eBay or the likes.
1. You need a low counter to place it on or access into the chocolate bowl is difficult.
2. The seed chocolate can overflow the bowl if you add too much at once, or you don’t watch it closely, because the seed moves up the bowl wall to the lip while the bowl turns.
3. The constant noise of the electric motor, although not that loud, does get on my wife’s nerves by the end of the day.
4. The fan does not cool as fast as I sometimes want it to.
5. Size of bowl. Would prefer about 20-25# capacity.
6. It is messy when you are trying to do molded chocolates or larger figure molds over the bowl and being so careful not to spill over the bowl can be tiresome.
7. Changing chocolate can take a little time if you need to get every last drop of the original chocolate out first. (Most of the time this is not an issue.)
For the hobbyist or small production company it is fine, but there always seems to be another need for more chocolate than the machine carries for something else sitting in your shop needing coating. This machine is one that will stay in our arsenal of chocolate equipment for the next few years while we build our business. Although it is small it does keep producing a quality temper if you are careful.
I would buy it again, but in the near future I will have a Selmi as my new employee and this will be used for side work.
Best of the best to you all,
Lulu Marcoux LLC