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Chocolate: Melting, Coloring, Flavoring

We love our chocolate. We sell a lot of different kinds and want our customers to be happy with the products they purchase. First, we recommend you come into the store and try all the different brands so you can find the perfect flavor and texture for your taste. Can’t come into the store? Read this post to learn just about everything you’d ever want to know about chocolate.

As for melting, coloring and flavoring chocolate? It doesn’t matter which type (compound or couverture) or which flavor (milk, dark, or white) we can use the same principles to working with our chocolate.

MELTING CHOCOLATE

For years, here at Gygi, we were telling everyone to melt their chocolate over a double boiler (in a bowl over a pan of boiling water, melted by steam from the heat below). It was definitely A way to melt chocolate, but when we had the executives from Peter’s come to our store, they wondered what in the world we were doing… and simplified our lives by giving us the world’s easiest way to melt chocolate: THE MICROWAVE!

Here’s how to do it:

  • Place your chocolate in a plastic or silicone bowl (avoid glass or ceramic, as they tend to retain residual heat- and they can get super hot to hold and handle)
  • Start by melting for one minute, then stir your chocolate really well.
  • Keep microwaving 30 seconds at a time, and stirring in between each increment.
  • When almost all the chunks have melted, continue stirring to help the remaining chocolate to melt, and to avoid burning or over heating your chocolate. (You don’t want to heat it over 125 degrees!)
  • If you have a really powerful microwave, that tends to burn things easily, you can always reduce the power to half strength while microwaving.
  • If your chocolate hardens while using it, you can always melt it again, just start slowly, maybe 20 -30 seconds at a time.

Should you be without a microwave, you can always go with the double boiler method!

  • Start with a small saucepan or pot. Fill with a small amount of water.
  • Place a glass or metal bowl over the pan. It works the best if the edges of the bowl extend past the edge of the pan.
  • Bring water to a simmer, make sure the simmer is not actually touching the bottom of the bowl. You just want the steam to be melting the chocolate, not boiling water.
  • Pour the chocolate into the bowl, and stir frequently to avoid overheating or burning.
  • Once the chocolate is melted, you can remove the bowl from the pan and use the chocolate. Or you can turn the temperature down on the stove and keep the chocolate over the heat to continue using it.
  • If your chocolate hardens, you can always return it to the double boiler to melt it again.

It is reliable, but comes with a small risk: moisture! Read why moisture can cause problems here. To avoid the moisture, test your bowl size against your pan, and use a bowl that extends beyond the sides of the pan. Try to keep the bowl directly over the pan to avoid steam releasing around the edges.

If you prefer this method, shop our double boilers here.

COLORING CHOCOLATE

You might have a bag of white chocolate wafers sitting in your cupboard and you’re wondering what you can do with it… you have a stroke of genius and you decide you want to drizzle a colorful chocolate on top of cookies, cakes, cupcakes, anything!

We fully support this colorful idea, but there is a caveat to coloring your chocolate: water makes chocolate seize (separating the cocoa butter from the cocoa solids, creating a lumpy, grainy texture) so the only way to color chocolate is with Oil-Based Food Coloring or a Powdered Food Coloring.

Here’s how you use it:

  • Melt your chocolate like normal.
  • Add in your oil based, or powdered food coloring.
  • Stir until color is even.
  • If your chocolate is thick after adding the color, you can add a small amount of cocoa butter or paramount crystals to help smooth it out without compromising the final texture. Never add oil to your chocolate to thin it out when dipping, drizzling, using chocolate molds or enrobing.

Flavoring Chocolate

Good chocolate tastes great on its own, but sometimes you just need a little added flavor! And you’re in luck because you can easily flavor chocolate. You just need an oil based flavoring.

The biggest flop people have is adding a water-based flavoring, which will immediately cause your chocolate to seize. As long as your oil, extract or flavoring is oil based, you can add it with no problems! Typically an “oil” is oil based and a “flavoring” is water based, but you should always double check the product label and confirm that the ingredient list doesn’t include anything water based.

Here’s how you do it:

  • Melt chocolate like normal.
  • Add in a few drops of flavoring and stir.
  • Adjust the intensity by adding more flavoring if needed.

We hope this helps you with some of the basics for using your chocolate.

Read this post to see all we have to share about chocolate at Orson Gygi.

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