Chocolate Panning Process & Artisanal Chocolate Panning

What Is the Process of Chocolate Panning and Warrell’s Panning Expertise

The chocolate panning process creates the mouth-watering flavor and texture consumers crave. Our artisanal panning methods go beyond the chocolate most think of and include unique coatings such as nut butters, yogurt, caramel and more. With multiple inclusions and a wide range of coverings, the options for panned candies reach into the dozens.

Panning requires experience with chocolate as well as creating the layers of the candy. We specialize in chocolate panning and have developed a highly efficient technique that adds increased value to the snacks and sweets your consumers love.


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Chocolate Panning and Polishing

What Is Chocolate Panning?

Chocolate panning is a process that uses a panning chocolate machine with rotating drums to cover inclusions with a fat-based coating, which does not limit the options to chocolate. Coverings can include everything from dark chocolate to yogurt and nut butters.

This industrial process requires larger scale panning equipment than most home confectioners can purchase. The limited availability of the material means most consumers will only have access to panned confectioneries through commercial producers, though they may still demand customized products and a range of options they could only get with homemade candies.

Chocolate panned products can cater to even the pickiest of consumers thanks to the use of coatings and inclusions that include gourmet, classic and healthier varieties.

Despite its use for sweet treats today, panning originated with the pharmaceutical industry. To make pills easier to swallow, a man named Razes coated them with a mucilage 1100 years ago. Fast forward a few years to when tastier additions made the medicine go down, and you find the expected sweeter options of sugar and honey.

Around 1200, Nimes, France, began producing bite-sized sweet-coated confections. Though made by hand, the technique resembled the panning seen in today’s chocolate-making field.

Confectioners continued hand panning until 1840 when the invention of a hand-turned pan began to transform the world of candy-making into the manufacturing industry it is today. While the chocolate panning machinery has become more sophisticated, the process of turning inclusions in a drum for enrobing them in chocolate is still recognizable from the methods used by those early French chocolatiers.

What Is the Process of Chocolate Panning?

A well-developed and precisely executed chocolate panning technique can provide one of the fastest, most efficient ways to give a chocolate coating to a product. The art of chocolate panning involves the creation of a layer of chocolate surrounding the center, then dusted or polished to a high gloss.

1. What Are the Steps in the Chocolate Panning Process?


The basics of chocolate panning include four steps, each of which contributes to how the coating adheres to the inclusions and gets finished. While simple, panning is an art that requires expertise to perfect.

2. Is There a Specific Process for Different Types of Chocolate?

Spray and hand panning offer a pair of methods for coating candies. These two techniques use either tempered or untempered chocolate, depending on the method.

An automated third method of drip-feeding bridges the gap between ladling and spray panning by depositing a small trickle of coating in the pan, using more coating than spraying and less than ladling. This method works best for large-scale operations that require the coated candies only to have cold air applied to set.

Tempered chocolate dries quickly without streaks or other surface imperfections. Untempered chocolate requires less preparation time but can work well under temperature-controlled situations.

Spray panning works best with untempered chocolate whereas hand panning uses tempered chocolate best. The sizes of inclusions also determine whether spraying or ladling the coating works better. For smaller pieces, spraying does not overwhelm the inclusions with chocolate, leading to clumping.

Temperature and humidity make another significant difference in the chocolate panning processes among white, dark and milk coatings.White chocolate generally needs lower temperatures and humidity for success, whereas milk and dark chocolates are more forgiving.

The finishing methods, though, are the processes that set apart panned chocolates. Finishing determines whether the final products look more like dusted truffles or have a shiny, hard coating.

3. What Kind of Equipment Does Chocolate Panning Require?

Panning requires a large, rotating drum that resembles a cement mixer. This device is the heart of the panning process. The environmental conditions and the speed of the drum are factors in the finished product.

The speed at which the drum spins plays a part in the finished product. If the drum moves too quickly, the candies inside could sustain too much damage from hitting against each other. Products such as those with hard shells can sustain faster panning speeds than chocolates or confections with soft inclusions.

For chocolate panning, the ideal ambient temperature for the process ranges from 55 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit, though many facilities use slightly higher room temperatures for operator comfort.

When coating with milk or dark chocolate, humidity levels should stay between 50 and 55 percent. White chocolate requires drier conditions with humidity ranging from 35 to 45 percent.

These conditions allow the chocolate or other coatings to cool and harden appropriately to the inclusions. Low humidity keeps excessive moisture from binding to the product, affecting the finished appearance of the chocolate.

4. What Can You Pan?

Just about any roundish food can get engrossed in chocolate through panning. Candy makers call these foods at the center of the confection inclusions. Round, evenly sized foods are best suited for chocolate panning processes, but even irregular nuts like cashews can work with the right skill applied. Common inclusions are:

  • Nuts
  • Dried fruits
  • Candies
  • Plant Based Protein center
  • Legumes

What Are the Different Chocolate Panning Techniques?

The types of panning techniques deliver specific finishes to the product. While panning generally remains the same for different coatings, barring temperature, speed and humidity differences, the final steps differ greatly from each other.

1. Types of Chocolate Panning

Types of chocolate panning dictate how the coating feeds into the pan and over the inclusions. The method used will depend on the existing equipment and the type of inclusions covered.

  • Ladling: Ladling coating over the turning inclusions creates a layer that needs a cool air treatment to set it before adding more coating. This traditional method requires a skilled hand at applying the coating material.
  • Drip feeding: Drip feeding sends a stream of coating onto the turning centers, which constantly move until they reach the desired thickness for their coating. A single cool air treatment at the end sets the coating.
  • Spraying: During spraying, the coating and cool air both spray onto the turning pan contents at the same time. This method best coats irregular pieces with a thin covering of chocolate.

After panning, the chocolates go to the polishing and glazing steps of the process. Polishing creates a smooth surface that evenly reflects light to appear more appealing. The polish and glaze also help to seal the confection from moisture and harden the exterior, helping it to last longer. Finishing options determine the appearance of the candy when complete.

2. Artisanal Panning

The art of Artisanal Chocolate Panning involves the creation of a layer of chocolate, surrounding the center, then dusting or polishing to a high gloss. Our chocolate and nut butter artisanal panning processes turn the food inside a stainless steel barrel. As the barrel turns, we add the coating to the inclusions. Once evenly coated, we finish the candies with a confectioner’s glaze, which creates shine and gloss.

3. Finishing Options

Finishing options include high-gloss, flat, metallicized and marbleized exteriors. Flat or dusted give a hand-made appearance, while metallic, high-gloss and marbleized give the candy a distinctive look. Changing the glazing ingredients can produce a wide-range of finishes.

Centers (Choose 1) Coatings (Choose 1 or more) Inclusions (Choose 1 or 2) Finishing Options
Roasted Nuts Dark Chocolate Flavorings Dusted
Dried Fruits Milk Chocolate Sesame Seeds Colored
Chickpeas White chocolate Quinoa, Chia, Ancient grains Metalizied
Coffee Beans Yogurt Chopped nuts Marbled
Puffed Quinoa High protein coating High gloss
Cookies: Graham, Shortbread, Gingerbread, Chocolate Nut Butters Flat
Sesame Seed Fudge

The Warrell Corporation Chocolate Panning Method

The Warrell Corporation is one of the leading chocolate panning companies in North America. By utilizing both belt coaters and conventional pans, we can produce up to 6,500 tons of product per year. We can successfully coat many different types of centers including roasted nuts, dusted almonds, raisins, pretzel balls, dried fruits, peanut brittle pieces and more.

Our capabilities extend well beyond milk, dark and white chocolate. We can also pan products using additional coatings such as:

  • White yogurt: White yogurt offers a slightly different flavor compared to mild white chocolate.
  • Fudge: Rich and dense, fudge coatings remain a favorite in the industry.
  • Caramel: For a change from traditional chocolate, caramel enhances inclusions while contributing its own buttery rich flavor.
  • Peanut butter: Peanut butter adds protein to candy, giving them a healthier profile and nutty flavor.
  • Nut butters: Almond, cashew and sunflower butters give you peanut-free alternatives for protein-packed coatings.

In addition to the above surfaces, we have the equipment and technology for adding protein coatings during the panning process. These compound coatings have protein added to boost the nutritional value of the product.

Processing these different coatings requires slight changes to the panning technique, but changes to the inclusions don’t significantly alter the method used. Our processes also include multiple finish options, allowing optimal customization. Below, see some of the inclusions and finishing options we have.

1. Chocolate Panning Center Options

Our company offers multiple center options for your chocolate panned candies. When roasting nuts, we separate peanuts and tree nuts to eliminate cross-contamination and maintain food safety protocol. Centers we can cover with our chocolate panning process include the following:

  • Roasted nuts
  • Plant Protein centers
  • Raisins
  • Pretzel balls
  • Dried fruits
  • Peanut brittle pieces
  • And more – talk to us about custom options you have in mind!

2. Chocolate Panning Finishing Options

Finishing options are the most distinguishing characteristic of chocolate panned ingredients from a visual standpoint. Because consumers decide what to eat with their eyes, visual appearance becomes a critical attribute for any marketed products. Our finishing options range from simple to complex.

  • Dusted: A light dusting creates a truffle-like confection.
  • Colored: Colored coatings add brightness and visual appeal to any candy.
  • Metallicized: An iridescent chocolate finish makes for a unique treat sure to catch consumers’ attention.
  • Marbled: Marble chocolate coating creates swirls of lighter and darker chocolate on the exterior.
  • High-Gloss: For chocolate with a glossy finish, choose this option for the final step.
  • Flat: You may find a flat finish sufficient for your confectionery needs, leaving the chocolate in its post panning state without a sugary gloss.

When you work with Warrell as your contract manufacturer for chocolate panned sweets, you have many choices for centers, coatings and finishes.

How Does Chocolate Panning Differ From Chocolate Enrobing?

Do not confuse chocolate panning with enrobing. While similar in that both cover the inclusion with chocolate, they have significant differences. How chocolate coats the products distinguishes these techniques.

Chocolate enrobing showers the inclusion with the coating over the top and sides. An extra option allows for the bottoms to have a chocolate layer applied. In a way, this process is the commercial version of hand-dipping candies.

Panning evenly covers all sides of the inclusion with the coating. The evenness comes from the constant turning of the pan. Through panning, you can get the signature shell coating many popular candies have.

How we help our customers

If you need to ramp up production of chocolate-panned products but currently do not possess the in-house manufacturing capabilities, we offer contract candy making services that can meet your requirements. We take a collaborative approach to candy co-manufacturing; we’ll work closely with you during every phase of your project. You’ll also have the ability to customize the contract candy manufacturing process by mixing and matching different types of coatings, nut centers, inclusions and finishing options.

If you’re a retailer looking to grow your snack and confectionery business, we offer private-label candy making services for our Artisanal Chocolate-Panned products. We’ll work directly with your team to develop, package and market a tasty private-label product that will exceed your customers’ high expectations. And with our fast quote-to-prototype and product development-to-launch times that are the result of our advanced private-label candy manufacturing methodology, you can be certain your chocolate-panned product will be on your store’s shelves in no time.

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