An average American eats almost 12 pounds of chocolate each year, but some people eat even more than this. Chocolate is a wonderful food to eat, and it can be used to make so many different things. If you love chocolate and enjoy cooking, you may want to start learning how to make things with chocolate. While there are thousands of recipes around, it's important to learn the basics of melting chocolate before you get too far. Here are three important tips to help you with this.
The Easiest And Best Way To Melt Chocolate
A lot of people use the double broiler method to melt down solid chocolate, but this method is messy and complicated. If you do not have a double boiler or prefer an easier method, you should consider melting your chocolate in the microwave.
Here are the steps needed to melt chocolate in the microwave:
- Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and break it into pieces if necessary.
- Place the bowl in the microwave, heat for 30 seconds, and stir.
- Repeat step 2 as many times as needed to achieve the texture you desire.
Chocolate can burn easily when it is being melted, which is why you should thoroughly stir it every 30 seconds. Once it is completely melted, you can use it for a variety of things, such as:
- Topping for ice-cream and desserts
- Dipping sauce for strawberries, marshmallows, and pretzels
- Homemade candies
Melted chocolate should be used relatively quickly as it will begin to harden as it cools.
Never Add Water To Chocolate
The second tip you should know about melting chocolate is to never add water to it. If your chocolate appears too thick, you may think adding a few drops of water will help thin it out; unfortunately, this is not what will happen.
When water is added to melted chocolate, it causes the chocolate to seize or clump. This happens because chocolate is extremely dry. All the moisture from it is removed when it is made, and adding water to it will cause the properties in the chocolate to change. Adding just a few drops of water to a bowl of chocolate could destroy the entire bowl.
Because of the effects water has on chocolate, you should always make sure you stir the chocolate with a dry spoon. If you want to wash the spoon after stirring the chocolate, just be sure to dry it well before using the same spoon to stir it again.
The Ingredients You Can Add When Melting Chocolate
While water and chocolate do not mix well, there are several ingredients you can add to chocolate as you melt it, and there are times when adding an ingredient is actually beneficial for the process.
The first and most common ingredient added to melted chocolate is shortening, but you can also use vegetable oil. Adding shortening or oil to melted chocolate can help create a nicer consistency for the chocolate, which is why this is often done when people are making fancy candies.
To do this, you should first melt the chocolate completely. Next, add one teaspoon of oil or shortening to the melted chocolate and stir well. If the chocolate is not thin enough or as smooth as you would like it, add an additional teaspoon of oil or shortening.
Once you learn how to properly melt chocolate, you will be able to make dozens of different things, and you might even be able to impress your friends and family members with all your new desserts and treats.
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