Chocolate is easy to melt if you use the proper technique. It is also very easy to scorch, turning it crumbly and grainy, or to ruin it with the accidental addition of water. However, if you apply gentle heat and keep stirring regularly, you can melt chocolate into a smooth mixture fairly easily.
- Prep time: 5 minutes
- Cook time (double-boiler): 5 minutes
- Total time: 5-10 minutes
Melt with a Double-Boiler
- Do not add water. The chocolate will become unusable. If you do happen to introduce a bit of water into the chocolate while melting, a little bit of vegetable oil will make the chocolate more usable, but it may still be grainy.
- Add the chocolate to top of a Make Scrambled Eggs Using a Double Boiler. If you don't have a double boiler, you can easily place a light, non-plastic bowl set over a pot of lightly steaming water. The steam will slowly heat the chocolate above.
- Make sure not to let the bottom of the bowl (holding the chocolate) have contact with the steaming or boiling water. Contact with the water may cause the bowl to grow too warm, burning the chocolate instead of melting it.
- The chocolate will melt faster if it is broken up into smaller pieces.
- Stirring constantly, move the chocolate around until it begins to melt. Because chocolate is very easily burned, be careful not to leave the room or stop stirring for too long.
- Continue stirring until the chocolate has fully melted. Adjust the heat on the stove if you believe the chocolate is melting too quickly. The whole process should take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes.
- Use the chocolate for dipping, dressing, or incorporating into another recipe.
Melt with a Microwave
- Measure out how much chocolate you want to melt. Break up the chocolate into smaller pieces with a knife if needed.
- Place the desired amount of chocolate into a microwave-safe bowl. Place the bowl into the microwave.
- Microwave on the lowest heat setting for approximately 30 to 40 seconds. Be sure to change your power setting to the lowest you can before nuking the chocolate.
- If you are using small chocolate chips, the cooking time on the initial blast will be much lower than 30 seconds. Go in intervals of 10 to 15 seconds initially to make sure that the chocolate chips won't burn.
- Stir the melted chocolate with a wooden spoon and reintroduce into the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds. Continue to microwave the chocolate on its lowest setting.
- Stir and repeat microwaving in 10 second bursts until the chocolate is fully melted.
- A less expensive chocolate might be better suited for your first try at microwaving, in case it's accidentally scorched. Burning a less expensive chocolate is a lot easier on the psyche (and the wallet) than a more expensive one.
- If pouring the chocolate out of the pot, be careful of condensed water on the bottom of the pot dripping into your recipe. Use a tea towel to dry the bottom.
- Chocolate will be hot, make sure you have pot holders.
- For the double boiler, when putting the smaller pot into the larger, make sure that the smaller pot does not touch the water in the larger pot as it'll burn the chocolate.
- If you do not have a double boiler, you can melt chocolate in a saucepan or pot (just put the chocolate in the pot and heat without water), as long as you keep the heat low and stir it constantly.
- Water may be added to chocolate as part of the melting process, provided that you add water in an amount at least 75% of the amount of the chocolate that you are melting. The problem is that the solids suspended in chocolate are a bit unstable when exposed to water so care must be taken to avoid clotting or clumping, primarily by not using a too small amount of water and also by frequently stirring the two together as they are being heated. 
- Do not add milk to your chocolate, otherwise it will become grainy. 
- Make Chocolate Fondue will scorch more easily than dark/plain chocolate due to the milk solids.
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