Tempering chocolate is a crucial process in chocolate-making that involves melting, cooling, and re-heating chocolate to achieve a glossy finish and a smooth texture. While traditional tempering methods often require precision and patience, tempering chocolate in a microwave offers a quicker alternative with satisfactory results
I was in charge of a dessert/fruit tray for an event this weekend. I thought I would kill two birds by making Chocolate Covered strawberries along with Oatmeal Carmelitas
Here’s a simple guide to tempering chocolate using a microwave
- Chop the Chocolate: Start by finely chopping the chocolate into small, uniform pieces. This allows for even melting and ensures a smoother tempering process. Use high-quality chocolate with at least 70% cocoa content for the best results. Dark chocolate is commonly used for tempering due to its stable cocoa butter content.
- Microwave Melting: Place about two-thirds of the chopped chocolate into a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave the chocolate in short bursts of 20-30 seconds, stirring thoroughly between each burst.
Be cautious not to overheat the chocolate, as it can burn easily. Continue this process until the chocolate is almost fully melted, with a few small chunks remaining. The residual heat will help melt the remaining chocolate when stirred.
3. Seed the Chocolate: Once the chocolate is mostly melted, add the remaining one-third of the chopped chocolate to the bowl. Stir continuously until all the chocolate is smooth and fully melted.
This technique, known as seeding, helps to cool down the chocolate and encourages the formation of stable crystal structures. The goal is to achieve a working temperature for the chocolate, typically around 88°F (31°C) for dark chocolate.
Now, your tempered chocolate is ready to be used for coating, dipping, or molding into various shapes.
When making Chocolate Covered strawberries, wash the berries before and make sure they are completely dry or you will have a disaster on had. It is best to do them room temperature as well so you don’t get any condensation.
Simply dip and let stand on parchment paper in the fridge or in a cool room. You can either double dip them in white chocolate or drizzle over them Be sure if you are double dipping the first layer of chocolate is cooled completely and the second layer cooled slightly or you will have a mess!
HOW TO EASILY MAKE CHOCOLATE COVERED PRETZELS
And then comes the snowball effect of my projects. Literally this weekend as we were in 14 inches of snow. Once I realized I had left over chocolate I could not waste it so I took out some pretzel sticks and decided to make a Valentine themed pretzel treats.
Doing so I experimented with the kids and made pink chocolate using some white chocolate and red chocolate discs….a little hard to tell but it was a pretty color pink. I prefered the pink chocolate drizzled over the white versus the all pink pretzel.
- Dip and Coat Evenly: When dipping the pretzels into the melted chocolate, use a fork or a dipping tool to ensure even coating. Allow excess chocolate to drip off before placing the pretzels on parchment paper to set. If you want to get creative, you can drizzle additional melted chocolate in contrasting colors over the coated pretzels or sprinkle them with toppings like crushed nuts, sprinkles, or sea salt while the chocolate is still wet.
- Cool and Set Properly: After coating the pretzels, allow them to cool and set at room temperature or in the refrigerator. This ensures that the chocolate hardens properly and adheres to the pretzels. If using the refrigerator, be mindful not to leave the pretzels in for too long, as rapid temperature changes can cause chocolate to bloom or develop a whitish appearance. Once fully set, store the chocolate-covered pretzels in an airtight container to maintain freshness.
My pretzel bags were large enough for two pretzel rods each. If you prefer to give just one pretzel, just fold them over carefully and staple on the label. A great classroom treat that the kids can do almost by themselves!! (have the adult melt all the chocolate)
And then…I had some extra pink chocolate left over, so I did some free hand hearts onto the parchment paper, these would be cute adornments to a cupcake or brownie!! I stop there…
Here is a readers example, she priced out the pretzel project and it cost only $5.00 for all the ingredients for a bag of pretzel rods!!