Choose a sunny, dry day to accept this challenge. Humidity will affect the final product. Also, don’t try this in a very warm kitchen or in a direct draft.
The more chocolate you melt, the easier the process. However, most of us can’t handle five pounds of melted chocolate, so if you must reduce the amount, also reduce the size of you utensils. My double boiler is very large, so I purchased a small metal bowl which measures about 6 1/2” across including a ½” lip. I can now use a small saucepan of the same size. Remember that the pan must be deep enough to prevent the bowl from touching the water.
Start with about 3 cups of chopped chocolate. I like Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate for dipping. If Joe is not close to you (I make a round-trip of about 120 miles to get mine, so I don’t want to hear any whining). If you prefer to order the good stuff online, go for Callabaut. I also found this at a restaurant supply store in an 11 lb. block. Hold out about 1/3 of the chopped chocolate and heat the remainder in the bowl over steam until all lumps have vanished. Check the temperature. Your goal is 108F degrees for dark chocolate, 106F for milk and 104F for white. Remove the bowl to the counter top. If you place it on a folded towel, you reduce the possibility of allowing water to drop into your chocolate and the bowl slipping onto the floor. Either scenario will cause you to give up your career as a chocolatier before it ever begins. Water and other cold liquids are the enemy of warm chocolate. I don’t need to tell you about the floor – the thirty second rule won’t help you here.
Now we are ready to “seed” the chocolate. That is you will slowly add the remaining 1/3 about ¼ cup at a time until all is melted. Stir vigorously all the time until your mixture reaches 90/88/86F degrees respectively. Stirring is very important to the proper crystal formation and bringing the temperature down. Be careful not to incorporate air bubbles. When your temperature is correct, check your chocolate by dipping some out and allowing it to set for a few minutes. When it is still very shiny, keep stirring. Perfectly tempered chocolate will be slightly shiny and have a decided snap when broken. If yours does not, don’t give up. Keep practicing.
If you just can’t handle disappointment, don’t temper. Using a double boiler, slowly add 1/3 cup tasteless vegetable oil to 3 cups of chopped chocolate while constantly stirring over medium heat until completely melted Allow to cool until it is dipping consistency. You can reheat as needed.
Now, dip those truffles using a candy dipping fork and place them on parchment paper to cool and solidify. YOU DID IT, YOU REALLY DID IT!
Write to us and tell us of your success! If it didn’t work for you, be very, very quiet…………not really, let us know what happened and maybe we can diagnose the problem.
I wish you sweet success.