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Handy Tips for At-Home Chocolatiers


Who doesn't love chocolate? It might seem like an advanced homemaking skill to create chocolate candies. However, the truth is that making chocolate candies at home is easy to do, and it quickly makes a beautiful and delicious treat.


Here are some tips to help you make your next chocolate project a rich success:

Some Chocolate Basics

There are several different kinds of chocolate that you can use for your candy. You can get normal chocolate chips from the store, confectionery coating chocolate, or pure chocolate. It's important for you to know ahead of time that both chocolate chips and pure chocolate will need to be tempered in order for you to use them in candy. Tempering chocolate prevents the separation of the cocoa fat. When it separates, it creates a dull appearance and waxy taste. However, properly tempered chocolate will give you a glossy sheen and a good snap to the chocolate.

Tempering chocolate will require you to melt the chocolate and bring it up to a certain temperature (which varies depending on what kind of chocolate it is) and then letting it cool to a certain temperature. What tempering does is encourage the cocoa butter in the chocolate to crystallize in a certain way.

If you would rather skip the tempering step, simply get confectionery chocolate instead. You can purchase already-tempered discs known as fèves with a wide range of quality and type.



Tips for Melting Chocolate

Chocolate-making is easier when you have a few basic tools. You'll need a glass bowl, and you'll probably want a bench-scraper if you're planning to spreading out chocolate bars like peppermint bark. If you're tempering your own chocolate, it can also be really handy to have a thermometer and granite counter-tops, or at least a granite slab, which as this article states, is great for candy-making since it's naturally cool and smooth to the touch.

When you melt your already-tempered chocolate, you have a couple easy options:
  1. In a glass bowl, melt it in 30-second intervals in the microwave, stirring thoroughly between each dose to see if it will melt thoroughly. 
  2. Create your own double-boiler by placing the glass bowl in a bigger pot of hot water, which you've brought to a simmer, and then turned off right before placing the chocolate inside. Stir as it melts. 
In order to make your chocolate melt smoothly, here are some tips and troubleshooting:

  • Never let water get into the chocolate!
  • If you're working with a bar, chop up your chocolate ahead of time so that you have evenly-sized pieces that will melt together. 
  • Don’t overheat the chocolate. 
  • If you're dipping fruit in the chocolate, make sure that it's completely dry before dipping, or the chocolate won't stick. 

Great Chocolate-Making Ideas

If you’re coming up dry on easy ideas for your chocolate making, try a few of these simple favorites:

Dipping

Just about anything dipped in chocolate is automatically better. This is a great way to start your chocolate-making adventures because you don’t need molds or extra tools; just something to hold as you dip, and a roll of wax paper where you can set things to cool.

Try dipping fruits and berries like strawberries, raspberries, mandarin orange slices, and pineapple. Remember, as we mentioned above, that you'll want all fruit to be perfectly dry before dipping. Chocolate-dipped fruit is also a great treat for kids. As this article mentions, chocolate is a relatively healthy treat, and if the bulk of the treat is actually fruit, you don't have to feel guilty about having more than one.

You might also want to try dipping pretzels, nuts, or oreos for a fun, gourmet experience.


Truffles

Now, if you're ready for something just one step up from chocolate-dipped pretzels, you might try making truffles or cake bites. They're surprisingly easy, but they make an unforgettable treat. You can make oreo-cake bites simply by mixing up oreo crumbs and cream cheese, rolling them into balls, and then covering them with chocolate. You can also make a simple ganache filling, firm enough to hold its shape, before you cover it in chocolate.

You can make decadent chocolates by mixing ingredients and pouring it into molds, either with fillings, or nuts and special flavorings.

Bars

If you want to try out making a chocolate bar, the easiest to start with is peppermint bark. Peppermint bark is simply a layer of dark chocolate, followed by a layer of white chocolate, with crushed up peppermint candies on top. Make sure that the bottom layer cools thoroughly before adding the second.

What are your favorite chocolate treats to make? Share yours below!

Annmarie John
15 Comments
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15 comments:

  1. You had me at chocolate and seriously though, "Who doesn't love chocolate!" Great tips and truly appreciate this though as I can use all the help I can when it comes to melting chocolate for decorating purposes ;)

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  2. Ah, I LOVE LOVE LOVE Chocolate. Thanks for the tips on ways to enjoy chocolate even more!!

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  3. Tempering chocolate is still hit or miss for me so I keep at it. It's the most delicious experiment ever :) I love making truffles.

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  4. This is such a cool post! I loooove chocolate thanks for all the tips -- everyone loves chocolate lol!

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  5. I really want to take this chocolate out of the laptop and indulge in it. These are some awesome ways to enjoy chocolate...yummmmm!

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  6. Wow, it does seem easier than I thought. We have a chocolate fountain at home but have we ever used it? Not enough.
    I'd love to make chocolate barks and maybe truffles too.

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  7. All the chocolate love. Great tips for chocolatiers.

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  8. These do look like great tips. And if I were going to make them I would have to keep this in mind. But I have a friend who has his own machinery to grind up the cocoa beans and make chocolate out of them. He does some amazing stuff I have to say.

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  9. I am a huge chocoholic but have never tried to make it myself. It just seems so challenging and like it wouldn't come out the way I want it to. These are great tips, and they just might motivate me to actually try my hand at it!

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  10. I looovee chocolate, but not much of baking though. Still I love these important tips and passing them to my cousin who loves make chocolates at home. Great post!!

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  11. So cool, maybe I can actually do this and not have a pinterest fail!! :-)

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  12. I love love love chocolate. These are some really great tips for melting chocolates! It's always hit or miss when I melt them, sometimes it comes out perfect other times not so much.

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  13. This is a perfect idea for those who loves chocolate. Thanks for sharing.

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  14. Really great tips. Thank you so much for sharing, I'm going to use them the next time I make chocolates.

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  15. Thanks for all the great tips! I love making chocolate covered strawberries at home.

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[name=AnnMarie John] [img=https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-X9gUeVik-ZY/WJjwNTOobII/AAAAAAABTJ4/qEhU0n62_AIo-j6-6LA2OFOr44lKCHASwCLcB/s100/AnnMarie%2BJohn%2BHeadshot.JPG] [description=AnnMarie John is a lifestyle blogger, mom of 4, retired army veteran and a huge Disney lover. Formerly from the beautiful island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean and now living in colorful Colorado, she loves sharing her opinions on everything, crafting and food.] (facebook=http://www.facebook.com/theannmariejohn) (instagram=http://www.instagram.com/theannmariejohn) (twitter=http://www.twitter.com/theannmariejohn) (pinterest=http://www.pinterest.com/theannmariejohn) (email=mailto:annmarie@annmariejohn.com)

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