Sometimes a recipe calls for melting chocolate all by itself, but just as often you will see chocolate melted with butter or sometimes even liquid, such as cream or a liqueur. Here is what you need to know to make sure that your chocolate melts to a silky-smooth consistency.
- Always make sure your chocolate is finely chopped, be it dark, milk or white.
- If butter or cream is being melted with the chocolate, make sure it is room temperature. Butter should be cut into small pieces. You want to help the chocolate and butter melt at the same rate.
- In the Test Kitchen, we use the microwave all the time for melting chocolate and butter or cream at 50% power. Microwaves vary in power, so start at 50% or Medium power in 15-second increments until you have a feel for your machine. Remove from microwave when chocolate is partially melted and whisk until smooth. Always remember there will be residual heat.
- Unlike melting chocolate by itself, where we do not like to use the microwave for milk or white chocolate, when we are melting these chocolates with butter or cream, we will often use the microwave. If you have issues with these chocolates burning, use a lower power or switch to a stove-top method.
- You can melt chocolate and butter or cream over or in a water bath as well. Again, remove when chocolate is about three-quarters of the way melted and whisk off heat until smooth and combined with other ingredient.
- Chocolate can be melted with water or liqueur, but there must be enough of the liquid to melt the chocolate and not seize it. Eight ounces of chocolate with ¼ cup liquid can work. Less liquid than that and you will run the risk of the chocolate seizing into a mass.
- In general, don’t rush any technique you use. Melt the chocolate and its associated ingredient slowly and gently and you will have success.
Image: Peter Muka