Anyone who loves anything chocolate knows that some of the best chocolate desserts are made with real chocolate! Luscious, creamy, and silky melted chocolate, when added to baked goods or even no-cook recipes taste even more delicious when its added in. Brownies are made chewier, cakes are more moist, and even puddings are darker, taste even more chocolate-y than those made with just cocoa powder.
Melted chocolate is the closest you can get to the pure thing!
One of the trickiest things to do in the kitchen is melting chocolate. Many chocolate recipes require melted chocolate and for those that have a microwave, this is an easy task. Melting chocolate using a microwave really is as simple as 1-2-3:
- 1. Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat on High for 30 seconds.
- 2. Stir the chocolate.
- 3. Reheat again in 10-second intervals only if, after stirring, the chocolate chunks are still not melted.
That’s it. How easy is that? As long as you stir between each heating and don’t allow the chocolate to become overheated, this is the easiest way to do it.
However, not everyone has a microwave oven. Many kitchens have a toaster oven and for those who have these mini ovens, it’s not the same as the microwave. You can’t really melt chocolate in toaster ovens unless the chocolate is already mixed into the batter or dough you’re baking in it.
For those of us who don’t have a microwave for any reason, there is an equally safe and effective way of melting chocolate: on the stovetop.
There is one way of doing this right and that is with a double boiler like this one. A double boiler is basically a pot that fits on top of another pot. This allows you to boil or simmer water under another pot, effectively producing a gentler heat than if you heated the pot directly over a fire. This gentle heat is perfect for melting chocolate.
Unfortunately, this is a specialized pot. For those who don’t have this special kind of cookware, you can make a makeshift double boiler. All you need is a small pot and a big bowl.
All you have to do is simmer water in the saucepan, place the big bowl with the chocolate in it on top, and viola! Instant double boiler! Just keep an eye on your melting chocolate as you would if you had a real double boiler, and you can easily melt that chocolate for your dessert in minutes!
If you do use this method, heed these tips because things can go wrong just as easily, too.
First, make sure you have a good grip on that bowl. That bowl will get hot so make sure that you have enough of the bowl’s lip to hold onto above the saucepan’s edge. Use a kitchen towel to keep it steady as you stir.
Next is where the tricky part comes in: you can’t let any water drip into your melting chocolate.
Water + melted chocolate = clumps
Clumpy or seized chocolate is bad chocolate, and this happens when you either burn the chocolate or water comes into contact with melted chocolate. To avoid any water from dripping into your melted chocolate as you use your makeshift double boiler, make sure your bowl is much bigger than your pot.
That’s why using a saucepan is the perfect cookware to use! The opening of the pan is small enough that a big heatproof bowl won’t fall into it but small enough that you don’t have to wait too long for the water to come to a boil and simmer.
Finally, perfectly melted chocolate is achieved by stirring so remember to stir! You need to stir because the gentle heat doesn’t distribute well throughout the chocolate pieces! By stirring, you’re making sure that the chocolate on the bottom doesn’t burn and the pieces on top get heated up, too.
Too many times burnt chocolate or seized chocolate dismays those who attempt it but it can be done with these tips! Perfectly melted chocolate is easy to do if you have the know-how to do it right, even if you don’t have the special equipment and only have the most basic of kitchen tools. As long as you’re observant and keep an eye on the melting chocolate, those chocolate desserts are as good as made!