A couple of days ago I came across a nice article on dipping cake pops. I shared the article with a couple of Facebook groups; ‘The Best Chocolate For Cake Pops- A Dipping, Taste & Price Comparison’. Then I noticed several people still had questions on melting compound chocolate, so that lead me to write this article.
Melting Compound Chocolate
Here are a few facts about compound chocolates:
- Compound chocolate is technically not chocolate because it doesn’t contain cocoa butter. Yes, I know it’s got the word ‘chocolate’ right in its name……………and that’s confusing. They really should have called it ‘fake chocolate’ and people wouldn’t get confused.
- It’s the cocoa butter in real chocolate that needs tempering.
- Because cocoa butter is expensive, compound chocolate makers use other fats instead of cocoa butter to save money.
- Even though compound chocolate doesn’t have to be tempered to retain it’s gloss and snap; it still needs to be melted and handled with a little respect.
- Different brands=different qualities. They aren’t all the same.
- You can overheat compound chocolate while melting it creating bloom (white streaks) that ruins the look of your cooled c-chocolate.
- You can burn the compound chocolate. That happens if you don’t stir your chocolate frequently while melting it in a microwave.
- If you let a small amount of water get into your melted c-chocolate, it will seize up, just like real couverture.
How To Melt Compound Chocolate:
I like to use a microwavable glass bowl instead of a plastic bowl because the glass bowl retains heat. That keeps my c-chocolate warm longer, so it extends my working time. I also use an immersion blender because it blends the chocolate at a lower temperature than I can when stirring by hand. That lessens the chance of overheating the chocolate while trying to get it smoothly melted.
One of my favorite kitchen tools is my microwave! They aren’t perfect because they have hot spots just like regular ovens. They come in different strengths (wattage amounts) so your microwave may be stronger or weaker than mine. You have to get to know your microwave by trial and error just like most tools.
When melting chocolate or compound chocolates never use your microwave at full power, even for short bursts of time. The full power can be hot enough to burn chocolate in seconds. I set my power at 30% for 2 or 3 minutes at a time, because it’s better to go slow than fast and risk ruining it.
As I’m melting my chocolate I need to pay attention to how hot my bowl is, I feel the bottom of the glass bowl often. If the bowl is very hot, I know that it will continue melting my chocolate even if I don’t put it back in the microwave. It’s similar to cooking meat; the residual heat keeps cooking/melting my chocolate.
Looking at this bowl, you can see that the compound chocolate isn’t very hot because the ribbon of drizzle on top, stays on top. When it’s very warm, any chocolate drips instantly blend back into the bowl of fluid chocolate.
At this temperature (just melted but not very warm) it’s ideal for piping because the chocolate won’t run through the open tip of your pastry bag with-out applying pressure. Typically, I’ll put the example above back in the microwave on 30% power for 30 seconds and it will be just the right temperature for dipping.
If the compound chocolate starts to cool down, I reheat it whenever needed on short bursts (10 to 30 seconds) at 30% power. If you want really shiny compound chocolates it’s important to never let it get too hot at any time your working with it.
Waste not, want not
When you are done working with your coating chocolate, keep all the left-overs. Since all my surfaces were cleaned before working, I scrape any drips or messes off my utensils and counter and reuse them.
It makes clean-up so easy!
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