There is nothing quite like a drizzle of perfectly melted chocolate over ice cream, fruit or as the perfect way to finish off a dessert or cake. Dipping chocolate served with a variety of fruit, pancakes, cookies and marshmallows is the perfect treat for a special occasion that everyone will appreciate.
There are also quite a few recipes that have a step which involves melting chocolate, rice crispy cakes being one of them.
It isn’t always easy to get the process right, though!
Melting chocolate can be surprisingly challenging to master; it burns quickly leading to clumps of bitter and burnt tasting chocolate. If it is overdone or heated too much, it can go lumpy or grainy in texture.
With the right techniques, a little patience and some practice, anyone can learn how to melt chocolate achieving perfectly smooth and delicious melted chocolate every time.
How To Melt Chocolate On A Stovetop
If you have the time, then melting chocolate on a stovetop is the perfect way to get smooth, silky chocolate.
- Add a pot to the stovetop and heat up a few inches of water.
- Place a heatproof bowl on top of the pot with the chocolate cut up into chunks inside and you have made yourself a makeshift double boiler. This enables you to melt chocolate the way our parents and grandparents have been doing it for years. You need to have enough water in the saucepan to provide heat to the glass bowl containing the chocolate but you don’t want the water to be touching the bottom of the glass bowl. Water and chocolate do not mix well and even a drop can turn the chocolate into a lumpy mess.
- Using a low heat setting, allow the water to heat slowly in the pan. This then heats up the glass bowl to the perfect temperature for melting chocolate.
- Stir the chocolate with a rubber spatula as it melts to ensure no lumps get caught at the bottom and burn. Whatever you do, don’t turn your back on it! Chocolate can be unpredictable when melting and it will seem like nothing is happening then all of a sudden the moment you have looked away it has not only melted but started to burn too!
- Once the chocolate has melted take the glass bowl off the stove and continue to stir until the chocolate reaches that perfectly smooth consistency.
How To Melt Chocolate In A Microwave
For those short on time, melting chocolate in a microwave is the fastest solution, but it needs just as careful watching and stirring to get it right. Chocolate is delicate and can turn from melting nicely into burnt clumps in a flash.
- Place your chopped-up chocolate into a microwavable bowl – a glass bowl usually works the best – and pop it into the microwave. Don’t put too much time on the timer. You want to be microwaving at intervals to ensure you don’t get burnt chocolate or chocolate with a grainy texture.
- Start with thirty seconds and take the chocolate out and stir it with a rubber spatula then pop it back in for another 30 seconds. Take the chocolate out of the microwave every 30 seconds to give it a good stir.
- Once you are left with only a few lumps of unmelted chocolate take it out of the microwave and stir until it has finished melting. Don’t give in to the temptation to keep microwaving it at this point. It is easy to overcook chocolate in this way.
Tip: If you want to ensure you achieve a really smooth texture when microwaving your chocolate, you can add a spoonful of coconut oil or vegetable oil. This helps it to melt into a silky texture and you end up with the perfect consistency for dipping fruit or drizzling over desserts.
Tips To Remember When Melting Chocolate
- When chopping up your chocolate ready to melt, make sure you cut it into similar size pieces. Evenly sized and shaped chunks of chocolate will melt in an even way, making it a much easier process for you.
- Always use low heat. Chocolate can start to melt fast and can quickly turn into a clumpy mess full of lumps and burnt bits or even worse you could end up with a grainy texture instead of the silky smooth chocolate you hoped for.
- Don’t let any water touch the chocolate. Even a few drops can turn it into lumps that can’t be salvaged.
- Make sure you stir it at intervals no matter what method you choose to melt your chocolate. It has a habit of staying the same shape even when it has melted and the only way to check the consistency of the chocolate is to stir it. Regular stirring also helps you get a smooth finish.
- Be patient, melting chocolate requires patience and regular stirring. Turning up the heat or microwaving for longer intervals will backfire. You won’t end up melting the chocolate quicker, you will end up with chocolate you can’t use and you will have to start the process all over again.
What Is The Best Type Of Chocolate For Melting?
If you want to ensure a perfect finish to your chocolate, then something important to remember is that not all chocolate is created equal! Often the better the quality of the chocolate, the better finish you get when you melt it.
The best melting chocolates have a high ratio of cocoa butter to cocoa. This helps it to melt smoothly. These types of chocolate tend to be a little more expensive due to the expense of having extra cocoa butter instead of substituting it with a lower quality oil such as vegetable oil.
If this is what you are looking for, then look for couverture chocolate. This is a higher quality of chocolate that contains more cocoa butter which allows you to melt it to a silky smooth consistency perfect for dipping and drizzling.
To be considered good enough to be couverture chocolate, the chocolate product must contain a certain percentage of cocoa butter in relation to cocoa solids. This ratio has to be within 32-39%, but there is no doubt that it is the best melting chocolate and is the type that professionals use in their creations.