Christmas season is rapidly coming. Yes, I said it. Some of you got a shiver of excitement and a smile crossed your face while others of you just ran to hide in a closet. Me? I’m a little bit of both. I love the anticipation of Christmas, but slightly dread certain parts, too. Christmas baking is definitely high on my “love” list. What could I pass on? Gift exchanges. I love buying gifts for people, but there’s so much pressure to get the best gift for each person. If I could do Christmas without the pressure of giving gifts, I’d be all for it.
Christmas baking has always been a tradition in our family. We’ve always had a day set aside in late November to bake our hearts out so that our cookie tray can be full the month of December. One of my favorite things to have on our Christmas cookie tray is chocolate dipped candies. Buckeyes, chocolate covered Oreos, cake balls, pretzels….you name it. If it’s covered in chocolate, I’m all over it!
Today we’re going to give you some hints for chocolate melting and candy dipping that we’ve discovered over the years. What kind of chocolate should you use? How should you melt the chocolate? How do you thin chocolate to make it easy to dip your candies in? We’ll help you to answer these questions!
What kind of chocolate do I use?
There are several options as far as what type of chocolate to use.
1.Chocolate Bars: This could include Hershey, Ghirardelli, or whatever type of chocolate bar you love. This is our favorite option because you end up with an amazingly rich, chocolate flavor, completely customizable to fit your likings.
2.Chocolate Chips: Chocolate chips work every similarly to chocolate bars. You can choose whatever brand or flavor (semi-sweet, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, etc. ) that you like best. One thing to note is that mini chocolate chips will not melt. I’ve ruined a batch of melted chocolate before when I added a few leftover mini chocolate chips to my melted chocolate to use them up. I was surprised when they didn’t melt in. Don’t make my mistake!
3.Candiquik: Candiquik is a microwavable, easy-to-use chocolate that is made for melting. It comes in a one pound package and can be melted in the microwave with the included microwavable tray. I have used this method often. The chocolate melts smoothly and evenly and coats the candy well. It is available in vanilla and chocolate flavors.
4.Almond Bark: Almond bark is very similar to Candiquik and is used in the same way. It is the most economical option. It is also available in vanilla and chocolate.
5. Wilton Candy Melts: Wilton Candy Melts are fun because you can get them in multiple colors and flavors. This gives you all kinds of options for your Christmas candies. For example, dip an Oreo ball in melted peanut butter candy melts for an inside-out version of favorite chocolate & peanut butter treats.
How do I melt the chocolate?
1.Microwave: You can melt chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave, but you must be very careful to melt it slowly and on a low heat setting or the chocolate will burn. If the bowl or the chocolate gets too hot, the chocolate will seize up and become hard and unusable. If your microwave has a “melt chocolate” setting, this is by far the easiest to use. If it does not, melt the chocolate slowly, in 20-30 second intervals, stirring between each interval. Once the chocolate starts to melt, you can lessen the time to 10 or 15 seconds until the chocolate is completely melted. Because of the difference in many microwaves, it is hard to give melting chocolate an exact time. The best advice is to take your time, use short intervals and stir the chocolate between each interval.
2.Double Boiler: The double boiler is our favorite way to melt chocolate because it is hard to mess up. One pan sits atop another pan. The bottom pan has a bit of water in it that you bring to boiling. The top pan sits over the water-filled bottom pan but the pan does not touch the water. Put the chocolate in the top pan and it will melt smoothly and evenly as the hot water from the bottom warms the top pan. This method is great because it avoids scorching which can easily happen in the microwave.
How do I thin the chocolate to make it easier to dip candies in?
1.Gulf Wax: Although this sounds strange, the product that we use the most to thin out our chocolate is paraffin wax, or specifically, Gulf Wax. This method is easiest to use if you are melting your chocolate in a double boiler. As you are melting the chocolate, add in a small chunk of paraffin wax and stir until both the chocolate and the wax are melted together. You should use about a 1” square chunk for each 8 ounces of chocolate. You can adjust this amount to your liking, but we find that this amount makes the chocolate silky smooth without compromising the rich chocolate flavor. Paraffin wax is our favorite choice because once the chocolate is set, it doesn’t melt as easily when touched. The wax helps the chocolate hold together to keep your candies fresh and looking nice.2.Shortening: Adding a tablespoon or two of shortening to 8-10 ounces of chocolateis one of the easiest ways to thin chocolate. We have done this in a pinch and if we are melting chocolate
in the microwave, this is our choice since shortening melts more quickly than wax. The main thing we dislike about shortening is that we find the candies melt more quickly. If you hold the candies for more than a short time in your hands, the chocolate starts to melt. If your candies are going to be handled a lot, this may not be the best method.
3.Coconut Oil: We love using healthy coconut oil to thin chocolate, but this holds the same issues as shortening does. If you are just looking to thin chocolate for drizzling cookies or other candies, this would work great. It will melt quickly, however, if you are coating complete candies in chocolate.
What about you? I know many of you may have hints for candy making and I’d love to hear your tips, hints and shortcuts. Feel free to share or ask questions!
Made by Tastes of Lizzy T