Monday, February 21, 2011

How to Melt Chocolate for Dipping


I love dipping things in chocolate!  Almost anything tastes better dipped in chocolate!  Chocolate covered pretzels, marshmallows, cookies, strawberries, bananas, raspberries...I love chocolate covered treats!  But not only does it taste good, it is also a simple way to make homemade goodies!


Chocolate Covered Marshmallows on a Stick with Jimmies

But before you dip, you have to melt your chocolate.  It sounds simple, yet I have found, that it can be so easy to mess up!

I recently received an email asking for help and advice on how to melt chocolate so I thought I would share all of my hints, tricks and tips with everyone! 
  1.  Decide if you are going to use real chocolate (like chocolate chips) or melting chocolate (like Wilton's melting chocolate.)  This will make a difference.  Regular chocolate is more difficult to melt correctly.  Melting chocolate has more room for error.
  2. Decide how you are going to melt your chocolate: 
    • Melting Chocolate in a double boiler will give you the best results with the least room for error, however, it takes longer and is not always the easiest way.
      • To melt in a double boiler, place a small amount of water in the bottom pan of a double boiler, the water should not touch the top pot.  Place the chocolate or melting chocolate in the top pot and start heating.  Stir frequently until chocolate is just melted, turn the heat off and dip away. 
    • Melting chocolate in the microwave is quickest, dirties the fewest dishes and is my go-to method even though it can be trickier.  
      • When melting chocolate or melting chocolate in the microwave, place chocolate in a microwave safe dish (I use a mug).  Be careful, the dish will get hot!
      • If you are using regular chocolate or melting chocolate, set the power to 50% and microwave for 30 seconds at a time. 
      • Stir in between each 30 second interval.  This is important!  Chocolate can actually retain its shape while being completely melted, so if you go by sight alone, you will overheat your chocolate! 
      • When your chocolate is mostly melted, use smaller intervals, 20 seconds, 10 seconds, 8 seconds.  Really.  A few seconds can make the difference between melted chocolate and overheated chocolate, so be careful!!! 
      • When your chocolate (or melting chocolate) is almost completely melted, just stir it.  Most likely the last couple of chocolate pieces will melt.  This is a great way to insure you do not overheat your chocolate. 
Chocolate is easily overheated.  The symptoms of overheated chocolate are tricky to spot because they are similar to chocolate that is not yet fully melted.  Overheated chocolate will be thick, chunky and dry.  If you melt overheated chocolate more, it will just get thicker and drier.  There is a fine line between melted chocolate and overheated chocolate so just be careful.

Chocolate dipped Pretzels with Jimmies

Now you want to you know my real secret??

Vegetable oil.

Before you melt your chocolate, add in a little vegetable oil.  This will help your chocolate from drying out.  It can also fix slightly overheated chocolate!  Vegetable oil is my life saver and I rarely melt chocolate without it!

So next time you decide to dip chocolate, melt carefully, stir frequently, and add a touch of vegetable oil to your chocolate to ensure perfectly dipped treats!

This idea was also published in The Current


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36 comments:

  1. seems like such an easy thing to do but it's so easy to mess up. I know from experience. Great advice and so true about the veggie oil. :)

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  2. I don't use veggie oil and it turns out like crap

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  3. Yes, veggie or canola oil is very very helpful when melting chocolate in the microwave. Also, be sure to melt on 50% or lower power!

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  4. Is there a specific amount of vegi oil you must use?

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  5. Stephanie - nope, I just eye ball it! Having said that, I usually fill a small mug full of chocolate to melt and I probably add about 1-2 tsp of oil to it. It's not an exact science though. The more you add, the softer your chocolate will be and the longer it will take to set so you don't want to add too much. But you can always add more as your chocolate is melting or even after it is melted all the way if you need to!

    Thanks!
    Ashley

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  6. I very much appreciate your post on how to melt chocolate! I wish I have read the post before I melted my chocolate. I tried making chocolate dipped pizzelles. I'll be trying again tomorrow it looks like. Thanks, Jeff

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  7. Thank you, I had tried so many things, butter, cream and parawax. Never thought of vegetable oil. You are SUPER for sharing this with everyone. God Bless and have a wonderful Merry Christmas.
    Géraldine LeBlanc from Chéticamp, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada :)

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  8. Is there anything you can do to save overheated chocolate? It seems such a shame to throw it away but it looks unusable!

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  9. does milk chocolate melt? i have had trouble with it.

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  10. Littlelotto,

    Yes! You can melt milk chocolate. However milk chocolate is a bit more heat sensitive then darker chocolate so it takes a bit more care. You can lower the melting temperature a bit more and check and stir it a little more often and it should melt for you!

    Good luck!
    Ashley

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  11. Lara,

    Unfortunately there is nothing you can do to save overheated chocolate...except perhaps grab a spoon and eat it :)

    Thanks for stopping by!
    Ashley
    www.simplydesigning.blogspot.com

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  12. Thank you for the idea with the vegetable oil, I was melting white chocolate for oreo cookie balls and over heated it, the vegetable oil saved my cookies. Your the best!!!

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  13. Heather T. -

    I am soooo happy to hear that the vegie oil saved the day! It often comes in handy at my house too :)

    Have a lovely day!
    Ashley

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  14. Glad you posted this: unfortunately I've been on the receiving end of poorly melted (ruined) chocolate. It's too bad more people don't know how to do this simplest of things properly. I highly recommend people DON'T melt in the microwave - you're just asking for trouble.
    http://www.ChocoholicWorld.com

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  15. Thank you for this post! I'm going to have another try at melting chocolate today. It wasn't too bad last time but it took a VERY long time to set. Did I do something wrong?

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  16. Hi ravfamily!

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Try using less veggie oil. The more veggie oil you use the longer the chocolate will take to set.

    You can also put your chocolates outside in your cool garage or in your fridge to help them set too!

    Good luck!
    Ashley

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  17. Can I keep the chocolate in its melted form in a mini crock pot for fondue dipping? Or will the low crock pot heat seize it?

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  18. Can I keep the chocolate in its melted form in a mini crock pot for fondue dipping? Or will the low crock pot heat seize it?

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  19. Mspattyn - that is a great question! And the answer is maybe. :) It just depends on the crock pot temperature. So I would suggest trying it out to see if it would work. If it is too hot the chocolate can burn and go bad, and if it is too cool then the chocolate will just get hard again. All crock pots are different and I have never used one for this purpose so I am not totally sure. Babycakes does have a chocolate dipper that looks like a mini crock pot and that works well to keep the chocolate at a good temperature once it is already melted.
    Good luck! I'd love to know if it works or not!
    Ashley

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  20. I overcooked my white bark - too much for dipping so I threw in some dry roasted peanuts and some dried cranberries, mixed it up and dropped spoonfuls into a mini muffin pan, mmmgood delicious

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  21. It's actually called a "double boiler", not a "double broiler" ;) You might want to edit. Thanks for the tips!

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  22. Thanks for catching the typos!! :)

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  23. How long does a melted chocolate over a pot last? Could I re-melt again over the pot if is hardened after a while? Can I mix semi-sweet chocolate chips with dark chocolate chips together for melting?

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  24. Hi Cardona,

    You can sometimes carefully remelt chocolate, but it is best to keep it warm while using it.

    And yes, you can definitely mix chocolate chips!! Yum!

    Ashley

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  25. How long can you store or keep melted chocolate? I dipped some Oreo balls last week and a few days later I dipped another batch. I still have enough leftover chocolate and white chocolate for 2 more batches. Thanks Kurt

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    1. Chocolate can be reheated carefully...but it will start to dry out and will reach a point where you can no longer re-heat it. It is pretty obvious when it reached this point and is just really thick! Adding a bit of oil will help you be able to reheat it though.

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  26. I have to tell you that my candy store-actually a kitchen store-told me to use cocoa butter in place of vegetable oil. I did that recently for a choc fountain and it worked like a gem! There is a trick-use 2 tablespoons to 4 c chocolate.

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  27. thanks for this! and I just read this after I melted a chocolate. hahahaha! mine turn out difficult to dip with ... anyway it's my first time and will try out next time.

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    1. Can I dip the marshmallow when the melted chocolate is hot

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    2. Can I dip the marshmallow when the melted chocolate is hot

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    3. Ann,

      The chocolate should never be too hot to melt the marshmallow. So yes, you can dip the marshmallow in while the chocolate is warm.

      Thanks for stopping by.

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  28. Will the veggie oil change the consistency once the chocolate is set, i.e. make it a bit smoother and not quite so hard?

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    1. Yes it can. Veggie oil isn't necessary but it helps a lot to prevent overheating and giving the chocolate a very smooth consistency. But yes, use it sparingly because it can make the chocolate softer. I find if I am careful it helps more then hinders though which is why I love to add just a touch! Mine always still sets though!

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  29. I tried to melt chocolate chips with the vegetable oil & it seems like it doesn't harden. Did I use too much oil?

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    1. Yes, it sounds like you had too much oil. Oil can make your chocolate a tiny bit softer and if you add too much, it can have trouble firming up. I like to use no more then 1 Tablespoon of oil for every 2 cups of chocolate chips.

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  30. I tried to melt chocolate chips with the vegetable oil & it seems like it doesn't harden. Did I use too much oil?

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