Tempering chocolate is a method of slowly melting chocolate followed by carefully cooling it. This stabilizes the cocoa butter, resulting in a chocolate with a glossy shine that holds its shape.
Since tempering chocolate is a lengthy process, we use an easy method of melting chocolate that produces very, very similar results in less time. We call this method "quick-tempering."
- Chop up 1 pound of chocolate bars, squares, or large pieces into small pieces. In a 4-cup glass measuring cup or a 1-1/2-quart glass mixing bowl, combine the amount of chocolate and shortening called for in the recipe (or use 1 tablespoon of shortening for every 6 ounces of chocolate).
- Pour very warm tap water (100 degrees F. to 110 degrees F) into a large glass casserole or bowl to a depth of 1 inch. Place the measure or bowl containing the chocolate inside the casserole. Adjust water height so that it covers the bottom half of the measuring cup or bowl containing the chocolate. (DO NOT SPLASH ANY WATER INTO THE CHOCOLATE.)
- Stir the chocolate mixture constantly with a rubber spatula until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. This takes about 15 to 20 minutes. (Do not rush the process.)
- If the water begins to cool, remove the measure or bowl containing the chocolate. Discard the cool water and add warm water. Return the measure or bowl containing the chocolate to the bowl containing water.
- Do not allow any water or moisture to touch the chocolate. Just one drop can cause the chocolate to become thick and grainy. If water should get into the chocolate, stir in additional shortening, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the mixture becomes shiny and smooth.
- When melted and smooth, the chocolate is ready for dipping or shaping. If the chocolate becomes too thick during handling, repeat step 4. Stir the chocolate constantly until it again reaches dipping consistency.
- Let your finished product set up in a cool, dry place. Do not chill your finished product or the chocolate will lose temper and become soft at room temperature.
Continued on page 3: Dipping and Drizzling