Who can forget the delicious lava cake that oozed chocolate when you cut it open or the tart that was decorated with streaks of the delicious ingredient. Absolutely everybody loves chocolate in any shape or form. In a mousse topped with whipped cream, birthday cake with sprinkles, brownies with a side of ice-cream or even spread over hot toast, chocolate can be consumed in so many different ways. Some even have it in pizzas and pastas!
The foundation of bringing any chocolate dish to life is the ingredient in its melted form. Restaurants and hotels all use this trick to bring out the divine rows of desserts on the table. Chocolate is also used in its solid form as sprinkles on top of a cake or in chunks within cookies. Melted chocolate is an absolute delight and can be used in so many different ways. However tempering and melting chocolate can be a complicated process. A single bump in temperature or additive of a drop of the wrong ingredient can cause it to seize, split and become grainy. Even those with years of expertise can make an error when melting chocolate.
How To Melt Chocolate
Method 1 - Microwave
This is the quickest and simplest way to melt chocolate at home.
Step 1 - Chop chocolate into fine pieces.
Step 2 - Set microwave power on high for 1 minute with the bowl of chocolate. Remove and stir through it.
Step 3 - Repeat this the second time, now for 30 seconds followed by stirring.
Step 4 - If still necessary, continue to melt at intervals of 30 seconds and stir in between.
Method 2 - Double Boiler
Step 1 - Hold a metal bowl over a water-filled saucepan that is coming to the boil. Ensure its bottom isn't touching the water. Add chopped chocolate to the bowl.
Step 2 - Stir with a rubber spatula until melted and thin in consistency.
Method 3 - Slow Cooker
Those who own slow cookers can use this method to melt chocolate at home.
Step 1- Fill a slow cooker with water a quarter way up set on to high heat without a lid.
Step 2 - Fill glass jars with chopped chocolate pieces and place in the cooker for approximately 30 minutes until it is melted.
To melt larger batches of chocolate, the same method can be used in a slow cooker with a longer period of time.
Method 4 - Bag
This technique is ideal if you want a small quantity of melted chocolate to decorate a dessert with a narrow outlet.
Step 1 - Place chopped chocolate pieces in a plastic zip lock bag and tightly seal it.
Step 2 - Put the bag in hot water for a few minutes until it melts.
Ensure the water is hot and not boiling. To prevent seepage of chocolate from the bag, double bag it in a second zip lock pouch.
Common Mistakes When Melting Chocolate
The above methods to melt chocolate seem simple enough but somehow when you've attempted to do so, it has only ended up lumpy and grainy. That is probably because you've inadvertently made these common mistakes when melting chocolate. Study them closely to prevent them from occurring next time around.
1. Contact With Water
At no step should chocolate come in contact with water as it will cause it to seize in seconds. Keep moisture far away during the boiling process or even when using utensils which are wet.
If the temperature is too hot, it will burn the chocolate. Use moderate heat over a longer period of time.
3. Too Large Chunks
When chocolate isn't chopped into fine pieces, they will take longer to melt, that is more time on heat which can cause it to seize.
4. Hurrying The Process
No matter how quickly you'd like to finish up the process of melting chocolate, it isn't possible. Tempering chocolate is slow and requires incredible patience. Use low to medium temperature spread over time rather than quickly and in a hurry if you want smooth and shiny liquid chocolate.
(Also Read: 3 Reasons Why You Should Start Eating Dark Chocolate)