Saturday, April 9, 2011

Tempering Chocolate

Refrigerator Cookies dipped in tempered chocolate
English Toffee dipped in tempered chocolate and almonds
So, I discovered a couple of years ago the secret of tempering chocolate.  I've seen chefs on TV use the inside of their lip, a thermometer, and marble slabs to accomplish this seeming tricky feat of the chocolate world.  I read someplace about how to temper much more simply and without taking the chocolate's temperature with a thermometer or my lip.  I'm always pleasantly surprised when my tempered chocolate firms up to a shiny, resilient, snappy shell.  It makes me feel like I'm working some sort of magic.
The tools for tempering chocolate are few and simple:

1. TASTY Chocolate--I prefer Dove Dark or Milk Chocolate Promises.  They are worth taking the time to unwrap.  If you're thinking about using the Hershey's Bliss, they're okay, but they definitely don't match the flavor and texture of the Dove chocolate.  I'm just saying.
2. A heavy saucepan filled half full of water.
3. A metal or glass bowl that fits atop your saucepan so that it just barely clears the water in the pan.
4. A bowl of ice that will accommodate the chocolate bowl.
5. A rubber spatula.
The materials for tempering chocolate.
1. Heat the water over medium-low to medium heat.
2. Start with chunks or chips of chocolate in the metal/glass bowl.  Place bowl on top of the sauce pan. You can let it sit for a few minutes and let it melt some before you start stirring.  Once you start stirring and the chocolate is about 3/4 melted, remove from heat and continue stirring until the chocolate is completely smooth and melted, with no chunks (even small ones) remaining.  If this is going too slowly, you can place the bowl over the hot water again for a minute or two.
3. When the chocolate is all melted, put the metal/glass bowl on top of the ice in its bowl.  Scrape and stir with the rubber spatula until you see chocolate freezing to the bottom and sides of the bowl, and the chocolate you're stirring starts to thicken to the point of canned frosting.
4.  Return the chocolate to the top of the pan of hot water and continue to stir until the chocolate is completely melted and loosened up to a liquid, about the consistency of a melted ice cream.  This takes less than a minute.
5.  Your chocolate is ready to be dipped in, molded, or piped.  If you're in the middle of dipping and you notice the chocolate getting too thick, return to the top of the pan of hot water and stir until liquid again.

It might take some practice to get it exactly right, but even if you do it wrong the first time, it's a learning experience, and you'll be that much closer to getting it right.  

1 comment:

  1. These are some great tips for getting that perfectly glassy chocolate coating!


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