Although I am not an absolute expert by any stretch of the imagination when it comes to making desserts and sweets, I have come across hundreds of recipes that have required me to melt chocolate for the purpose of dipping or adding chocolate to a mix. Since I found it to be a difficult process at first, I decided to learn a few different ways to melt chocolate, and I use this variety of techniques depending on the recipe and what it requires.
My first and best way to melt chocolate is over a stove in a double broiler pan. I use a double broiler for many different purposes, mainly because a double boiler pan allows the top pan to heat and melt thicker products, for example cheese or chocolate, at a slower rate, and less burning occurs. For melting chocolate, a double broiler is great.
Place chopped up semi-sweet chocolate or chocolate chips in the top pan, and fill the bottom pan half-full with water. Place the pans over medium-high heat and allow the chocolate to start to melt, but stir the chocolate constantly to avoid sticking and scalding. Try not to boil the chocolate, or it will burn to the pan. If your recipe calls for it, add milk or cream at this point, and stir well until the chocolate is smooth. Remove the chocolate from the heat and use as needed.
Another great way to melt chocolate if you are in more of a hurry is in the microwave. Please make sure that the bowl you are using is microwave safe, as it will get very hot during the melting process. You will also need to remember to have good pot-holders on hand, because the bowl needs to be pulled out of the microwave several times during the melting process.
Place your chopped or broken up chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat it for about a minute to a minute and a half. When the chocolate starts to bubble inside the microwave, pull it out (using your pot holders!) and stir it well with a silicon spatula, scraping the chocolate from the side of the bowl. Place the bowl back in the microwave for about another minute, and repeat the stirring process. Continue this process until the chocolate is smooth and melted, but not burned.
The only other way that I know how to melt chocolate is to heat cream and pour it over the chocolate. This is a great way, but it may take more time, and I only use this method if the recipe requires cream. In a small pan, heat heavy cream to a low boil, or scald it if you prefer. Put your chocolate in a separate bowl and pour the heated cream over top. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit for a few minutes, then remove the plastic and stir the chocolate well.
Hopefully, these methods will help you melt chocolate for some of those recipes you have been wanting to try! Enjoy your chocolate!
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