As much as I hate to tell you this, it’s true – chocolate is indeed very temperamental! In fact, it is so temperamental, that working with it sometimes makes me temperamental too (imagine that!) If you don’t believe me, well then my friends, read on!
When cooking with chocolate, there are a few hard and fast rules that one must follow in order to have success with truffles, chocolates, dipped fruit or what have you. If you don’t follow these rules (and trust me even if you do) you may end up having some issues.
First, remember that the best way to heat your chocolate is on a double broiler. Take a sauce-pan, and put about 2 inches of water in the bottom. Next, put a pan on top of the bottom one, and heat the bottom pan to medium, just enough to get a very gentle simmer going. Make sure that the water in the bottom pan is not touching the top pan, it will be the steam that heats the top pan, not the water itself. Once your pan is simmering, add the chocolate to the top pan of the double broiler.
Now, this is the key, so pay careful attention! Never, ever (EVER) add water to your melted chocolate. Water will cause heated chocolate to seize, and once that happens, there’s not too much you can do about it, and you’ve wasted your time, and that beautiful chocolate is now ruined too.
Third, melt chocolate slowly in a uniform way, keeping an even heat. Let’s not rush it here. All good things in life take time, and chocolate is no different. So, heat it slowly, keep the temperature consistent, and stir constantly. It is much easier to keep a consistent temperature if you are using a larger amount of chocolate, so try to make a larger batch instead of a small batch.
When the chocolate is all melted, turn the heat way down, just enough to keep the pan warm, but not hot. You don’t want to burn the chocolate for heavens sakes! You’ll be able to use the chocolate in this way with any luck for as long as your project takes you. Chocolate melted this way will come out evenly, and will not get that grainy texture that can result with improper chocolate “handing.”
Chocolate is serious stuff! Just ask any woman, she’ll tell you. So, it only seems fitting that we’re able to make it into beautiful treats and desserts, many of which call for melted chocolate.
Goodluck with your chocolate tempering projects, let me know how they turn out!