Chocolate is a delectable treat, but it can be difficult to make. People run into all sorts of issues when dipping chocolates, from strange white streaks to clumps and more. If you’ve been struggling with your chocolate and want troubleshooting advice, or you simply want to try to avoid these common problems in the first place, you’ve come to the right place.
We’re here to help troubleshoot some of people’s most common problems with dipping chocolates. If your question isn’t answered here, we offer cooking classes where you can learn from the pros.
Let’s jump into it!
#1. Why Didn’t My Chocolate Ever Set?
You need to be patient when waiting for dipping chocolates to set, as it can take up to 20 minutes. However, if your chocolate hasn’t set, there are a few reasons why this could be.
It could be that your room temperature is too high. If the temperature is over 68 F, this can cause problems. The ideal setting temperature is between 65 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit. It could also be that the chocolate wasn’t tempered, because untempered chocolate takes quite a bit longer to set.
#2. Why Are There White Streaks Or Splotches On My Chocolates?
This is a difficult question to answer because it can be a couple of things.
If grainy streaks appear over time, it could be caused by not adding enough seed chocolate during tempering. If the streaks appear very soon after the chocolate sets, it’s probably caused by the cocoa butter not being fully integrated with the cocoa solids.
Your solution: stir, stir, stir.
You can also get streaks or splotches from temperature changes. As previously mentioned, chocolate needs to set at a temperature between 65 F and 68 F. If you put it in the fridge to cool and set, when you take it out, there may be condensation on your chocolate.
This is because water will pull sugar crystals to it and cause what is called sugar bloom – aka, those white streaks and splotches.
While chocolates with white streaks or splotches may look unappealing, they’re still edible! You can munch on the goodies that didn’t turn out how you wanted while putting your newfound knowledge to the test on a new batch of dipping chocolates.
#3. What Is This White Film On My Chocolate?
This white film is called fat bloom. It’s said that fat rises to the surface of the chocolate through microscopic cracks, such as from the center. This is most common with chocolate-covered nuts, since nuts are so high in natural fats. Warm storage conditions can also cause fat bloom.
#4. When I Was Melting My Chocolate, It Globbed Up And Went Hard. What Happened?
There are two problems that can cause your chocolate to harden.
First, you might have gotten water in it. This would cause it to seize. Despite the appearance of melted chocolate, it’s actually a very dry substance, with no water in it. Think of it like this: what happens when you put a drop of water in a bowl of sugar? The sugar crystals cling to the water and glob up.
It’s the same thing with chocolate. Get water in it, and the chocolate crystals cling to it, causing hard clumpiness.
At this point, is your dipping chocolate ruined? Yes and no. You won’t be able to use it for dipping, but if you add enough liquid (such as milk, cream, or water), it will thin back out and you can use it in baking or for hot chocolate.
It’s just like adding more water to the sugar. If you add enough water, the sugar crystals will dissolve and you’ll have something you can work with again in a different application.
Secondly, it may have burned. This can happen if the heat was set too high or if you didn’t stir it enough while melting it. Is your chocolate ruined? Well, in this case, yes, it is. There’s really no troubleshooting burned chocolate, as far as we know.
#5. Does Humidity Affect Chocolate?
Yes, yes, it does. We learned this one the hard way. While trying to cool the house down quickly on a rainy night in preparation for dipping, we opened the windows. However, there was also a hot pot of soup on the stove simmering away for dinner. This led to lots of humidity.
Dipping went on, but as the chocolate was setting, it formed tiny speckles. Not the splotches mentioned above, just tiny little speckles that almost look like fat bloom from a distance. The chocolate set fairly quickly but was kind of soft and melted easily when touched.
Chocolate needs to be dipped in 50% or less humidity. It really shouldn’t be too much of a concern. Just don’t open your windows when it’s raining or dip right after a pot has been simmering on the stove.
Be aware of the humidity (but don’t obsess over it), and your dipping chocolate adventures should go better than ours did in the aforementioned instance!
#6. What’s The Best Way To Melt Chocolate?
There are a few ways to melt chocolate, and it really just depends on who you are and what you like.
- There are people who swear by the microwave: heating it at 50% power at 30-second intervals.
- Others love the double boiler, as it decreases the chance of burning. However, you’ll need to be careful when working with chocolate around water.
- Still others like to melt in a thick-bottomed pan directly on the stovetop. With this method, you need to constantly stir it over very low heat and be careful not to burn it.
A lesser-known way to melt dipping chocolate is in a glass bowl with a heating pad between it and another larger bowl. This is a super slow method for melting, but it’s good for keeping your chocolate at a good dipping temperature.
We’ve also heard of people putting their chopped chocolate in a bowl and sticking it in a gas oven, letting the heat from the pilot light melt it.
Think about this: if you melt your chocolate so gently and slowly that it never gets above 89 F, it will not need to go through the tempering process because it hasn’t lost its temper.
Of course, this depends on the chocolate. Consult the manufacturer for verification. We do know that Peter’s chocolates will stay in temper if not heated above 89 F.
#7. Can I Use Chocolate Chips?
Well… we wouldn’t. First of all, chocolate chips have a higher viscosity (they’re thicker when melted), so they’ll coat really thickly. But mostly, we wouldn’t use them because they’ve had things added to them to help them retain their shape during baking.
So, you could use them, but it won’t turn out the same as if you use dipping chocolate.
Dipping Chocolates: Troubleshooting Q&A
We hope this helped solve your chocolate woes. If you still have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us or attend one of our cooking classes. We here at Kitchen Kneads strive to help people in their baking ventures however we can.
Whether this is your first time trying to make something or you’re a seasoned pro, you can count on Kitchen Kneads for top-quality products and informative classes.