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Tempering Chocolate for Dipping

Chocolate that is available in blocks, squares or chips will need to be tempered before using. Chocolate wafers that are available in the candy section have already been tempered for you. There are various brands and types of wafer chocolates available in your local cake decorating or candy stores.

When dipping in chocolate, tempering is necessary for a successful end result. Chocolate that has not been tempered properly will take a very long time to set up, and when firm, it will have bloom or white streaks and spots. If you think you have the chocolate properly tempered, dip one center into it, remove, place on waxed paper and wait a few minutes. If the chocolate was tempered properly, it will set within a few minutes. If it does not set within ten minutes or if it dries with bloom, you need to go through the tempering process again.

Tempering chocolate is simply melting, cooling, then bringing chocolate back to the proper dipping temperature. Tempering chocolate before dipping results in a shiny, firm surface for the final product. Real chocolate must be tempered, compound coatings (wafer) can be tempered, but it is not necessary.

To temper chocolate properly, follow these steps:

  1. Melt the desired amount of chocolate in a double boiler setup, either a double boiler or a bowl over a saucepan with hot water, making sure the bowl does not touch the water. Do not place bowl over boiling water, the water temperature should not be above 120°F.
  2. Heat chocolate to 108°F, stirring constantly with rubber spatula, scrapping down the side and bottom of the bowl frequently so that the chocolate is evenly and uniformly heated.
  3. When the chocolate reaches 108°F, remove bowl from pan of water. Stir frequently until chocolate cools to 85°F. Continue stirring and scraping bowl constantly until chocolate cools to 80°F.
  4. Keep chocolate at 80°F, stirring constantly, for 10 minutes. This is important because it develops the crystals necessary for gloss. It may be necessary to briefly set the bowl in the double boiler setup of warm water to maintain the 80°F temperature.
  5. Rewarm the chocolate in the double boiler setup of warm water to 86°F. Hold at this temperature (86°F) for 5 minutes before dipping.
  6. Important: Keep chocolate at 86°F during the entire dipping process. If temperature at this point goes below 84°:F, the entire tempering process must be repeated from Step 2.
  7. Centers must be room temperature before dipping. Dipping chilled centers may result in a cracked surface and/or bloom.
  8. Dip room temperature centers or confections completely in tempered, melted chocolate. Dip one at a time using a dipping fork or your fingers. Gently tap fork on side of bowl to remove excess chocolate. Invert onto waxed paper-covered tray. Swirl small amount of coating over utensil marks.
  9. Candies may be chilled a maximum of 15 minutes in refrigerator to help surface harden. Remove promptly or bloom may occur.
  10. Store candies at room temperature (60°-75°F), keeping them well covered.

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