Melting chocolate should be simple. But sometimes it goes smoothly and sometimes we end up with a thick, gloppy mess. We’ve answered all your questions so you can melt chocolate successfully anytime.
I often get asked questions on the topic of melting chocolate. And since I’ve melted quite a bit of chocolate in my life (both successfully and unsuccessfully), I’ve tried to answer them to the best of my ability here. Do you have another question on the topic? Post it below!
What kind of chocolate should you use?
While there are lots of baking chocolates in the baking aisle, I find that the chocolate that both melts and best and tastes the best is the better quality chocolates you find in the candy aisle (the 3 to 3.5-ounce bars). While Schmerling, Alprose, or Geneve will always be great, the more affordable chocolate bars such as Elite or Carmit also work nicely.
Yes, you often get more chocolate for your money when using baking bars. But there’s a reason for that. They’re just not as good. Some taste like outright plastic. Others are better but still not as good as chocolate you’d buy to eat on its own. Some are fickle and will melt nicely sometimes, but won’t melt as nicely other times.
Is there any baking chocolate that you do like?
Yes, there’s one exception. Scharffen Berger. This bittersweet chocolate is the best pareve chocolate you can buy. Their cocoa is also the best kosher pareve cocoa you can buy. Callebaut makes good baking bars if you need chocolate in bulk. I believe that it is pareve although please verify on your own (it was pareve when I purchased it last). I also found that the huge 11 lb bars are a big chore to chop without special equipment (that’s why I never bought it again). It’s so much easier to work with 3-ounce bars!
Do I need to add margarine or coconut oil when melting chocolate?
If you are using good quality chocolate such as the ones recommended above, you do not. Adding margarine or coconut oil, though, will help the chocolate solidify faster. They return to a solid state fast after being warmed, so they’ll help the chocolate harden once it’s cooled. That’s why we add margarine or coconut oil when making a magic shell.
What kind of bowl should I melt the chocolate in?
As far as materials, always use a heavy, microwave-safe vessel, such as ceramic or glass. Whether you use a bowl or glass/cup, though, depends on what you’re using the chocolate for. Are you adding the chocolate to a piping bag? Then you can simply use a low wide bowl, as it’ll be easy to get your spatula in to scrape out all the chocolate. But what if you’re dipping in chocolate pretzel rods? Then, a deeper narrow drinking glass is preferable. For most applications where the chocolate is being spooned over whatever it’s covering, a taller/narrower bowl where the chocolate is more concentrated is more practical than a wide, low bowl.
Can I melt praline-flavored chocolate?
Yes! The praline fillings in some chocolate bars melt nicely and add a great flavor to your melted chocolate. I recommend it!
What’s the best way to melt chocolate?
I like to use the microwave rather than a double boiler because there’s more control over the process and it’s more reliable. For bittersweet, semisweet, or milk chocolate, add your finely chopped chocolate to a bowl and microwave for 30-60 seconds to get it going (depending on the strength of your microwave). Then microwave in 30-second increments after that, stirring in between each increment, until the chocolate is smooth after stirring vigorously. White chocolate is more delicate and needs to be melted in shorter intervals. You can see complete instructions for Melting White Chocolate Successfully Every Time here. (Then, once you have that down pat, you have to make this white chocolate crispy bark!)
What do I do if my chocolate is too thick after I melt it?
Have you ever tried adding oil or milk to too-thick chocolate and the whole thing just seizes up? That’s what will happen when warm chocolate comes into contact with a cold or room temperature ingredient. To thin out that chocolate successfully, you need to add something that is the same temperature. Think just-melted margarine if using the chocolate to coat or warmed milk if using it as a ganache.
Do you have any chocolate melting questions or tips?