When it comes to melting chocolate, some brands are better than others.
The goal here is to do things correctly the first time so that you don’t have issues.
However, if your chocolate is too thick, you should learn how to make melted chocolate thinner.
This is going to save you from making a hard, burnt, chocolate ball in your favorite microwaveable dish.
Plus, this ensures that you’d have chocolate that turns out well each time, which you can then use to cover cake pops or put in your chocolate fountain.
Regardless of who you are, everything is going to taste better when it is dipped in chocolate.
Your fun easily turns to frustration, though, if the dipping chocolate gets hard.
How to Melt Your Chocolate for Fondue
The best way to melt chocolate is in the technique you use.
There is a specific process to consider when preparing a bowl of dipping chocolate.
Ideally, you do not want to just zap it in the microwave and hope that everything works in your favor.
While many people do this (and it ends up working), you could waste a lot of chocolate if you microwave it, and it ends up a charred chocolatey mess.
Using a Double Boiler
Instead of using the microwave, consider a double boiler.
Many homeowners don’t own one, but you can create a make-shift one with other household items.
You are going to need a saucepan and a steel or heat-resistant glass bowl.
Place your pan on the stovetop and add water so that it’s about one-third full; a little more is okay, but you don’t want to overfill it.
Turn the burner on, set it to medium-high heat, and let the water become steamy and hot, but don’t let it boil.
In general, you want the water to be between 125 and 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cut the chocolate into pieces (if you did not buy it that way), and then put them into your bowl.
You may want to wear oven mitts while you place this bowl carefully onto the saucepan filled with water.
This pushes the water inside up around the bowl.
Watch the bowl of chocolate while it melts slowly; the chocolate mustn’t melt too quickly.
The process takes a minute or so, depending on how much chocolate you are melting.
When you see that most of the chocolate has melted, stir it with a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula.
This ensures that the chocolate doesn’t burn, and the non-melted bits get warmed up more to melt.
Once everything is melted, you can remove the bowl from your saucepan.
Wipe it down with a towel so that the hot water doesn’t burn your counter and put it where you want to start dipping items.
Now, use a fork and sit the items to dip on the fork.
Be careful that the food doesn’t fall into the chocolate.
Alternatively, you can stab the food with the fork or use a toothpick.
If you desire, make sure that the chocolate covers every part of the food and place it on a sheet pan that has been lined with wax paper.
Once you’ve filled the pan, you can put it in the refrigerator for about five to 10 minutes to set the chocolate.
Then, start eating.
Generally, when the chocolate hardens initially, it is because water got into your bowl during the melting process.
This is why you do not want to fill your saucepan with too much water.
If your chocolate does get hard, you can add a bit of fat to the bowl and mix it up.
Consider butter, vegetable oil, or coconut oil; just don’t add too much.
If the chocolate appears cakey, there isn’t anything you can do; it is burnt and must be tossed out.
You are going to have to try again to melt your chocolate correctly.
The Microwave Method
Though we don’t recommend it, you can melt chocolate in the microwave.
There are a few things you can do to ensure that you’re successful.
Of course, you’d need a microwave-safe dish, such as disposable dipping trays or mugs.
Keep in mind the dish is going to get very hot, so you may want to wear oven mitts.
The microwave needs to be set to 50 percent power, regardless of whether you use melting or regular chocolate.
Put your chocolate into the container and set the microwave for 30 seconds.
After that first 30 seconds, the chocolate isn’t going to be melted, but you should give it a stir so that the chocolate on top gets put on the bottom.
This also ensures that the chocolate on the bottom doesn’t get overheated too fast.
Did you know that chocolate could retain its shape, even if it is fully melted?
Because of that fact, you could have a melted, charred blob of chocolate if you aren’t careful.
Don’t use sight as a reference.
Remove the bowl from the microwave and give it the stir test.
Once the chocolate is almost fully melted, you should cut the microwave intervals down to 20 seconds, then 10, and then eight.
Remember: just a few seconds can be the difference between overheated and melted chocolate.
Sometimes, you can incorporate the last non-melted bits of chocolate by stirring vigorously because the chocolate is so hot.
Choosing the Kind of Chocolate for Melting
Whether you like dark, milk, or white chocolate, that’s no problem; they are all delicious and can all be melted.
There are factors to consider when choosing the type of chocolate to use, though.
Yes, you can melt almost any type of chocolate, but when it is of high quality, it has more fat in it.
This means that it is designed to melt more easily without clumps or issues with hardening.
Generally, it has more cocoa butter in it than other chocolate.
Health-conscious people often choose dark chocolate because it is supposed to be better.
Scientifically, dark chocolate has a variety of anti-inflammatory health benefits.
Others believe that chocolate can help you think more clearly and focus more.
Dark chocolate is also known to improve your cardiovascular health, so it is heart-healthy.
No one really knows why this happens, but some believe it is the flavanols that are found in the cocoa.
Regardless, you can choose melting chocolate, which is designed to be melted, or chocolate chips/bark.
If you plan to use melting chocolate, it’s best to use the double-boiler method mentioned earlier (or the bowl and saucepan method).
Those who prefer to use chocolate chips and other types of chocolate that aren’t considered “melting chocolate” can use either method.
Again, there is less risk of a mistake if you use the double-boiler, but it can take a lot longer to do.
Remember, regular chocolate (such as a bar or chocolate chips) is going to be harder to melt properly; the melting chocolate allows for error.
How to Make Melted Chocolate Thinner
Once you’ve got your melted chocolate, you should start dipping immediately.
This is because, as the chocolate cools, you are going to need to thin it back out again.
There are many ways to do this.
Warm it up on the Stove
Some people put the bowl back on the saucepan and warm it back up.
You can do this a few times, but after a while, the chocolate takes on a burnt or overcooked taste.
To combat this, add a touch of oil to the chocolate and then reheat it.
It’s also possible to add fat to your chocolate when it starts getting hard.
If you’ve never melted chocolate before (or had a bad experience), consider adding a touch of vegetable oil to the bowl before you start melting it.
This keeps the chocolate moist so that it doesn’t try out, but this trick doesn’t work with melting chocolate and candy melts.
You can save slightly overheated candy melts and melting chocolate by adding a touch of Crisco (shortening).
Just make sure that you add it a little at a time.
Stir vigorously until the chocolate is smooth and runny.
You should be warned that vegetable oil can mean your chocolate isn’t going to harden very fast or at all.
Therefore, you should use about one teaspoon of vegetable oil per cup of chocolate.
The same applies to shortening for melting chocolate and candy melts.
What’s the Right Consistency for Chocolate Fondue?
The consistency you need depends on what you’re dipping and its purpose.
If you’re dipping fruit, such as strawberries, you want to pat the fruit dry so that there is no water.
That is going to make the chocolate seize and turn rock-hard.
The chocolate should easily cover the fruit and start running off quickly.
You may need to shake the food just a bit to get excess chocolate off of it.
When dipping potato chips or bacon (and other “sturdy” foods), you need to have chocolate that’s a bit firmer but still runny.
It can take some trial and error to find the right consistency.
Since chips and bacon are greasy, you may find that it keeps the chocolate loose enough for you so that you don’t have to add more fat to the mix.
Keeping Your Chocolate Melted and Cool
Sometimes, you want melted chocolate so that you can pour it over your ice cream, but you may make too much for one serving or want to store it for later.
If you’re going to do this, you are going to need to keep the chocolate from hardening while it cools.
You can add a few more ingredients to the melted chocolate, which is going to keep it pourable and dippable once it is at room temperature.
It’s possible to just keep the chocolate melted if you plan to use it again later that day.
However, if the chocolate spends a lot of time on heat, it’s going to burn and turn grainy.
Never let your dark chocolate go above 115 degrees Fahrenheit.
Also, keep milk and white chocolate at about 105 degrees Fahrenheit for best results.
Chocolate is going to return to its solid state once it gets down to 65 or 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pour it into a microwave-safe bowl while it is still liquid, and then let it cool.
Store it at room temperature if you plan to use it again in a few days.
Just take your lid off and microwave it using the method mentioned earlier.
That way, you can reheat your cooled chocolate.
When it comes to melting chocolate, our mouths just salivate; we love how it tastes, looks, and smells, but it is an art form.
Therefore, if you’ve melted your chocolate correctly and it starts hardening, you need to know how to make melted chocolate thinner.
Fortunately, you now know a variety of methods for melting chocolate, as well as how to keep it smooth and dippable.