Friday, February 12, 2016

Melting Chcolate

Melted chocolate next to smores brownies

A few years ago, I picked up a part-time job with a chocolatier. On my first day in the kitchen, she invited me to eat as much chocolate as I wanted.

After a month, it became that clear that I would never tire of it, even after hand-dipping hundreds of truffles a day. (I adore the silky texture and complex flavor of chocolate, which spans a wide and luscious spectrum. I appreciate how it adds both refinement and comfort to desserts. Who can resist a fudgy brownie, a mug of cocoa, or a slice of old fashioned chocolate cake?) In fact, with each dip, dunk, and drizzle my passion only grew. 

What I learned from that experience and my culinary training is that melting chocolate can be tricky. It burns easily and "seizes," becoming stiff and gritty (or "seizes") if mixed with even a drop of water. 

Here are my tips for taking on that ultimately rewarding task!

How to Melt Chocolate on the Stove Top

Chocolate can be melted on the stove or in the microwave. I prefer to use the stove top method so let's start there. 
You will need a sharp knife, a cutting board, a heat proof bowl, a saucepan (to create a makeshift double boiler), and a spoon. The bowl should be bone dry and fit snugly over the saucepan to keep steam from escaping and settling on the chocolate. 

Place a bar of chocolate on the cutting board and, starting at one corner, finely chop it.

Finely chopping chocolate
Carefully slide the chopped chocolate into the heat proof bowl with the back of your knife and place it over the saucepan.

Chopped chcolate in a heat-proof bowl

Fill the saucepan with an inch or so of water. Make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl when you place it on top as the chocolate should be melted by the steam that rises from the water. Bring the water to a gentle simmer on medium-low heat.

Stir the chocolate with a spoon to ensure even melting. 

Remove the melted chocolate from the heat while there are still a few small chunks of chocolate left in the bowl. 

Stir it until the chunks of chocolate have melted from the residual heat. 

Mixing melted chocolate with a wooden spoon

How to Melt Chocolate in the Microwave

To microwave chocolate, place the chopped chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. 

Chopped chocolate in a microwaveable bowl
Heat the chocolate in the microwave in short increments (15 to 30 seconds). The smaller the amount of chocolate you are melting, the shorter the intervals should be.

Remove the chocolate from the microwave and stir it to ensure even melting. 

Stirring chunks of melted chocolate
Continue to heat and stir the chocolate until there are only a few small chunks of chocolate left. Then stir it to melt the chocolate completely.   

This article was originally published on
Advance purchase required!
Book your Chicago Food Tour today!
buy tickets at zerve
or call Zerve at (800) 979-3370