Mmm-mmm. Nothing beats the look you’ll get when you start to hand out fancy desserts at the dinner table like chocolate-covered strawberries, chocolate covered pretzel rods or chocolate covered Oreos. But how exactly do you achieve the right consistency in order to dip those treats and have them cool enough that they don’t clump or run? Well, there actually happens to be a bit of science involved where you just can’t toss a fistful of melting chocolate chips in a bowl and expect them to work right away. However, depending on your specific reason for melting chocolate, there are a few ways in order to create virtually flawless dipping chocolate.
1 – The Dreaded Double Boiler
Okay, maybe you get along with your double boiler and if you do, good for you. This also happens to be the most popular and preferred method. In short, you are melting broken, grated or cut pieces of chocolate over hot, simmering water in a double boiler. The double boiler gives you a direct source of indirect heat that does all the hard work for you. Once the chocolate is almost completely melted, remove from the double boiler, stir and pour into another container.
2 – The Trusty Ole Oven
Pre-heat your oven to a low setting (nothing greater than 300F) and then turn it off. You should have been breaking chocolate pieces when the pre-heat cycle was underway. All you do now is place that oven-proof bowl of busted up chocolate in the oven until it has melted. Remove, pour in another container and you’ll be enjoying chocolate candy melts in no time.
3 – The Zapper
Start with a microwave-safe bowl of broken, chopped or grated chocolate. Place in the microwave and zap it for 30-seconds at medium heat. Repeat if necessary until the chocolate has melted. It won’t look melted as chocolate will retain shape in a microwave oven so you’ll have to stir it and ignore the lumps. The heat from the rest of the melted chocolate will remedy that.
4 – The Extra Liquid
You can melt chocolate when you combine chopped up pieces of it with small amounts of liquid such as milk, butter, cream, and even booze. The proper ratio is that the liquid should be no less than 25% of the total amount of chocolate. The idea here is that the heat from the liquid will aid in melting the chocolate and you can do this easily overheat on top of the stove. Stir frequently.
5 – The Bag Trick
You have broken up, grated or chopped pieces of chocolate. Place them in a small plastic bag and place the sealed bag in a bowl of hot water. As it sits, the chocolate will melt. After that has happened, remove the bag and cut a small corner off the bottom and you can now use the bag to drizzle chocolate on things.
Now that you know five ways for melting chocolate for dipping, which one will you use? It’s really up to you and worth it to try them all until you find one you prefer. Happy melting!