Melting Chocolate

 

Homemade chocolate candy is so good—if you know what you're doing. If you don't know what you're doing, you can end up with a huge mess and inedible chocolate sludge. Luckily, it's not too hard to melt chocolate right when you know a few tricks.

Begin by cutting chocolate into small pieces for quick melting. You want all the pieces about the same size so they melt evenly. If you're using chocolate chips or small chocolate disks, you can skip this step.

To melt your chocolate over the stove, place the pieces in the top of a double boiler, and keep the water hot but not boiling. (If the temperature is too high, the flavor and consistency will be off.) Be sure the top pan is not touching the hot water in the lower pan—that could burn the chocolate. Stir the chocolate constantly to keep the heat evenly distributed.

For a quick melt, use your microwave and a microwave-safe bowl. Dark chocolate can be heated on medium heat (50% power). Milk or white chocolate should be microwaved on low heat (about 30% power). Regardless of the type of chocolate you're heating, take the bowl out of the microwave every 15 seconds to stir the chocolate. Stop heating it just before all the chocolate chunks are completely melted. Continue stirring until the remaining heat finishes melting the leftover chunks.

If you need to soften hardening chocolate, or if you're using cheap chocolate with a low cocoa butter content, add a bit of vegetable oil to your melting chocolate until the mixture comes to a good consistency.

Never add water to chocolate—it won't mix, and your chocolate will be ruined. Beware of drops of moisture on utensils and bowls that could spoil your hard work.

If you do get water into your melting chocolate, it's best to start over from scratch. Though it's possible to reconstitute chocolate after water gets in it, the process is time consuming, and you can't be guaranteed good results that way.

You can use these chocolate melting tips to cover strawberries, raspberries, marshmallows, and more with ease! If you want to make your chocolate creations even more mouth-watering, drizzle white chocolate over the top of dark-chocolate covered fruit, or roll your chocolate marshmallows in sprinkles before the chocolate dries.

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