Tips on working with melted chocolate

Food / Thursday, August 1st, 2013

1. Start with good chocolate.

    • Many cooks use melting chocolate, purchased in small discs or large blocks. Functionally it works well, particularly for large batches; but I find the flavor bland and the texture waxy. I prefer chocolate chips—ordinary and delicious: either semisweet or milk chocolate, depending on what I’m making.
    • Go name brand, not generic! You can’t start with cheap chips and expect a good melt job. I like Hershey’s or Tollhouse; not only is their flavor excellent, but they also provide a uniformly great melt, silky-smooth and easy to work with.

hershey's chips

2. Add oil if needed.

  • I rarely add anything to my chocolate unless I am working with white chocolate, which burns easily and always requires the addition of oil. If you think you’ll need oil, stir in a tablespoon per half cup of chips before heating; add more during heating as needed. Oil may also improve the melting power of cheaper chocolate, but then you have bad calories and bad taste. Ew.

3. Heat slowly; do not overheat!

    • Overheated chips “burn” quickly, turning to a grainy stage in which you may as well throw them out: they will never melt again. So proceed with caution. I microwave mine for 30 seconds at a pop, stirring well each half minute. Once they get close to done, I go down to 10 seconds.
    • I’ll show you. Here is my bowl of chips ready to melt.


    • After 30 seconds, they had changed very little. I stirred them with a knife and returned the bowl to the microwave.
    • After 30 seconds more (60 total), they were melting and still lumpy. I did a nice long stir at this point. The stirring helps cool off the chips while allowing the heat and friction to melt them further.

sixty seconds

    • After only 10 more seconds (70 total), they were smooth and luscious.

seventy seconds

4. Be sure to stir until perfectly smooth. The tiniest lump will clog a piping tube!

If you want to create a simple drizzle, just scoop the melted chocolate into a Ziploc bag. Seal shut. Snip off a tiny corner of the bag…

in piping bag

and start swishing!

granola bars

What other tips would you share on working with melted chocolate?

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9 years ago

Melting chocolate in the microwave…. I like that!

(Gordon Ramsey would be spinning in his grave, if he had one)

9 years ago

If you happen to be as Stone Age as us and not have a microwave, you can also use the good old double boiler, or Very Carefully melt your chips in the oven. Try 200*F. and keep your eye on them, stirring often. I’ve made shockingly smooth and silky fudge this way.

9 years ago

This was so over my head I’m still swimming. I gravel at your feet.

Oil in chocolate? Seriously? Never heard of it. I’m guessing a smooth 5W20 synthetic, right?

9 years ago

sorry, boss, just eat the bars. Shari, was the bag not hot to handle? Last time I tried doing a drizzle with melted chocolate, the bag was so hot I could hardly manage it, and wondered how on earth people do it! Maybe I heated them too long…?

9 years ago
Reply to  Alisa

Hmm. No, it was only mildly warm. My melted chocolate would sting just a bit if I actually put my finger into it, but it never gets hotter than that.

9 years ago
Reply to  Shari

I’ll need to try again; thanks for the tips!

9 years ago

Hey, thanks! I wondered how you did the tiny, pretty drizzle in the previous post.

9 years ago

My friend, Renee, does some beautiful artwork with her bag of melted chocolate–all free-hand, of course. Or you can put a cool shape or design (think curly cue or coffee cup or words) under wax paper and drizzle the chocolate in that shape. Once they cool, pop them off the wax paper and you can top a cupcake with it, place them in individual slices of pie, or lie them on each persons plate (works great for place cards).

9 years ago

I love the bars of chocolate at Valeskys myself. I used to always do chocolate chips and then I tried the chocolate squares from Valeskys (cannot remember the name) and was super impressed.