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« Healthy Snacking | Main | SPAMMED – the Food Kind! »

Having a “Temper” Tantrum?

By Katie Barreira
For Cooking Newbie, a blog for beginner cooks

Tempering chocolate can be one of the more intimidating, exacting and maddening culinary tasks. But it doesn’t have to be.

Why temper?
If you’re going to melt chocolate for coating, candy making, or dipping you’ll have much snappier results if you take the time to temper.

When heated above 90 degrees the fat in chocolate (cocoa butter) separates and forms streaky grey crystals when cool if not first recombined.

Quick Microwave Tempering

  1. Place about two-thirds of the chocolate (chips or chopped) in a glass, microwave-safe bowl. Melt the chocolate in 1-minute increments on medium power, stirring between rounds, until the chocolate is almost entirely melted. (The residual heat from the bowl will continue melting any remaining lumps.)
  2. Stir in the remaining chocolate until smooth.

Note: If you own an immersion blender and want an excuse to bring out the big guns, use it for this step. This will ensure silky tempered chocolate, free of air bubbles, which can be pesky when using molds.

What To Do With Tempered Chocolate

  • Use it to coat whatever you’ve got in pantry. Seriously. A few of my favorites: Cheerios, Kettle Chips, dried apricots and pretzel rods.
  • Spread an even layer (about 1/4-inch-thick) onto a sheet of parchment paper, top with chopped nuts, candies or dried fruit. Let set, then break into shards for chocolate bark.
  • Use it as a dip for cake pops or bonbons.
  • Pour into chocolate molds to make anything from football lollipops to Valentine’s kisses. Find great molds at Life of the Party.

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