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.
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.
- After only 10 more seconds (70 total), they were smooth and luscious.
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…
and start swishing!
What other tips would you share on working with melted chocolate?