Everything tastes better dipped in chocolate, doesn't it? Chocolate-dipped strawberries, bananas, pretzels, marshmallows, cherries and cookies are all delicious, and they're so simple to make for treats or gifts.
But fun can quickly turn into frustration if you encounter one big snag — dipping chocolate that hardens.
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Best Way to Melt Chocolate
What's the best way to melt chocolate? The answer lies in your technique. When it comes to making fantastic dipping chocolate, it's all about the process — and ideally, your process doesn't involve zapping it in the microwave and crossing your fingers everything turns out OK.
Rather, food editor, cookbook author and professional recipe creator Alisa Fleming of GoDairyFree.org recommends using a double boiler or, if you don't have one, creating something similar using a saucepan and a steel bowl.
- Place a saucepan on the stovetop and fill it 1/3 of the way with water.
- Turn your burner on medium-high heat until the water becomes steaming hot, approximately 125 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit; do not let it reach a boil.
- Cut your chocolate into small pieces if it wasn't purchased that way.
- Put your chocolate into a steel bowl and carefully place it into your saucepan with water. This will push the saucepan water up the sides of your steel bowl, and that's good! You want it to go partially up the sides.
- Watch as your chocolate begins to slowly melt. This generally takes about a minute.
- When it's almost done, stir it a couple of times with a rubber spatula until melting is complete and then remove it from the saucepan.
- Wipe the bottom of the bowl with a towel and then place it on your counter or table.
- Start dipping your items with a fork. Pull them out of the chocolate and place them on a lined pan. Refrigerate them for five to 10 minutes, and then they'll be ready to eat!
If you have dipping chocolate that hardens, that likely means that some water entered your bowl by accident during the process. To remedy this, Fooducation.org recommends adding a small amount of water or fat, such as butter or coconut oil to thin the chocolate. Use sparingly, though — a little bit goes a long way.
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Selecting Your Chocolate
Milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate — which one is your preference? All are scrumptious, no doubt, but there are some additional factors you may want to consider in your selection.
For starters, while you can melt many different types of chocolate, couverture chocolate is a high-quality variety that tends to melt better. This is because it has a higher percentage of cocoa butter than other types of chocolate. You can buy couverture in milk or white chocolate, but if you are health-conscious, you may want to opt for dark chocolate.
Dark chocolate has been scientifically proven to have anti-inflammatory benefits. In addition, a May 2016 study in the journal Appetite linked it to better cognitive function, whereas an October 2016 study in the journal Phytotherapy Research linked it to improved cardiovascular health, which may be due to the flavanols found in cocoa.
- Fooducation.org: “Chocolate Part 1:3 - Why it Seizes With Just a Little Water, ...and What to do About It”
- Appetite: “Chocolate Intake is Associated With Better Cognitive Function: The Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study”
- Harvard Health Publishing: “Dark Chocolate”
- Oregon State University: “Flavonoids”
- Phytotherapy Research: “The Impact of Cocoa Flavanols on Cardiovascular Health”
- New World Encyclopedia: “Chocolate”
- GoDairyFree.org: "The Best Way to Melt Chocolate (Comparison)"