How to Temper Chocolate the Easy Way

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With the big V-day coming up, yes we could impress our significant other by spending all day in the kitchen whipping up a romantic homemade dessert. If you want to do that, try our popular recipe for sacher torte. But if that’s not your thing, here’s an easy set of instructions for tempering chocolate, which sounds super fancy and sophisticated, but really is pretty simple. Once you’ve tempered your chocolate you can then do all sorts of fun things with it like dip strawberries or bananas in it, or make bon bons out of ice cream or cookies. Let us know below how you plan to use yours!

How to temper chocolate:

1) Fill a medium pot with water and heat on stove to a simmer. Then turn off the heat.

2) Put about 2/3 of your chocolate in a metal bowl that fits snuggly into the pot and place it over the water. Make sure your bowl is very dry, as any drops of water will seize up the chocolate. The water should be touching a large area of the bottom of the bowl. Be very careful that the water does not splash into the bowl. Do not stir! Let the chocolate sit in bowl over the hot water, uncovered, until it is about 2/3 melted.

3) After the chocolate is about 2/3 melted, gently stir it and allow it to melt further. Letting the chocolate partially melt before stirring prevents creating large clumps of solid chocolate glued together by melted, now re-solidified chocolate. Be very careful not to allow any water into the bowl.

4) Test the temperature of the chocolate: Dip a rubber or silicone spatula into the chocolate, lift it up to your lower lip and dab a small dot onto the place just below your lower lip. It should sting slightly (but not too much!).

5) Remove the bowl from the water and set it on a folded kitchen towel to absorb any water from the bottom of the bowl. Slowly stir in the remaining chocolate. Stir slowly and gently until the chocolate is completely melted. The chocolate will begin to thicken and become less shiny and more matte as it cools. This part of the process can take up to half an hour. If you want to speed things up, take the bowl to a cooler place.

6) Test again for temperature: Once all the chocolate has melted, dip the spatula and touch it to your lower lip area again. The chocolate should feel cooler than your body temperature. If it feels warmer than your skin, you can drop in a few more pieces of chocolate and keep stirring. If you don’t feel anything, this means the chocolate is at about your body temperature, and you need to keep stirring gently until it cools down. When it is ready it will feel refreshing on your skin. You are now ready to dip your main ingredient!

8) As you dip your fruit, ice cream, cookies, or whatever other creative food you come up with, continue to stir the chocolate as you dip. If the chocolate cools too much, turns matte, and begins to thicken, place the bottom of the bowl back into the hot water for 1 or 2 seconds. Remove quickly and stir the warmer chocolate up from the bottom and throughout the bowl. Test to be sure it has not gotten too hot and resume dipping.

9) Place your coated treats on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. If you’d like to add some decoration, sprinkle some sea salt, coconut shreds or chocolate sprinkles on top. Then put your completed baking sheet into the freezer until the chocolate has hardened and you’re ready to serve!

Note: Normally, tempering chocolate requires a candy thermometer, but we found this technique sans-thermometer from The Kitchn. Check out their post for more info on tempering.

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