For most recipes, you can melt chocolate using one of three methods: direct heat, a double boiler, or a microwave oven. You can also use one of these methods when a recipe calls for melting chocolate with another ingredient, such as butter, shortening, or whipping cream.
For best results, coarsely chop chocolate bars and squares before melting them.
Choose one of the following methods to melt your chocolate.
Whichever method you use, remember these points:
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."
To decorate a cutout or sliced cookie or biscotti with chocolate, dip the cookie into the melted mixture. Remove the excess by pulling the cookie across the edge of the pan.
Place cookies on a wire rack over waxed paper. Dip a fork into melted chocolate, and let the first clumpy drip land in the pan. Drizzle chocolate over the edges and tops of cookies.
For a more controlled drizzle or piping, place melted chocolate in a heavy plastic bag and snip off a tiny piece of one corner so you can use it as a pastry bag. Make the hole larger, if necessary. If the chocolate starts to stiffen as you work, heat the bag in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds.