Chocolate wont melt for dipping!

linnea56December 4, 2009

Lately I canÂt get chocolate to melt. I donÂt know whatÂs up with that.

My daughter had her heart set on dipping strawberries in white chocolate for Thanksgiving. I used to have one brand of white chocolate chips to use for dipping, but they must have changed the formula and they would not melt anymore. They get soft and mushy but never liquid enough for dipping. The manufacturers must think everyone wants to use them in cookies so have formulated them to hold their shape. There were instructions on the side of the bag for melting but they did not work.

So I bought white chocolate melting disks. And even those would not melt! We tried both the double boiler and the microwave. They all became more like fudge than melted. The longer we tried, the firmer each batch got. It was like gently stirring turned them into fudge. We must have melted 2 lbs, in small batches several different ways. I went on line to look for help, some sites recommended blending in a little vegetable oil or butter. That made no difference.

What a waste! Plus my daughter no longer thinks I am a kitchen goddess. I have tumbled off my pedestal, and it hurts. I think I need to go find the kitchen witch I used to have and hang her back up. What can I do with the chunky-fudgey white chocolate? Is there any way it can be re-used?

Please tell me what IÂm doing wrong! WhatÂs the secret? I want to make sure I am armed before Christmas starts and I want to dip cookies or nuts. ItÂs been a while since I used milk or semi-sweet chocolate for dipping, I wonder if theyÂve changed those too.

I lost my real double boiler top, so used a steel mixing bowl set over a pan of simmering water. When that did not work I thought maybe it conducted the heat too quickly so switched to a pyrex bowl set over the water. No luck either. Could it have been steam escaping up the sides? Water too hot?

My microwave, I think, is too powerful. It bakes the chocolate before it can melt. The "lower" settings are just a proportion of "on power and off power", so low is not really "low". My old cheapo micro used to do well.

The next thing I thought I would try is a pyrex bowl set in an electric frying pan on low. Mom made a lot of molded candy: she used to melt it on the stove then transfer the boiler top to the electric frying pan to keep it warm.

Someone give me hand so I can climb back up the pedestal.

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jojoco

First of all, I have found that white chocolate really never melts all that great for dipping. It works well for drizzling, either with a fork or ziplock baggie, but not so much at dipping.
However, that said, I have the best outcome with either melting tabs or almond bark (brick) chocolate. White chocolate chips scorch very easily. Another thing, never add butter (or any water based liquid) to the melted chocolate. It will seize up and get very clumpy. I like using lard, but a splat of veg. oil will help it thin out.
As long as you haven't added butter, it can definitely be salvaged. You can use the microwave, but turn the power level to 50% or less and keep checking. A pyrex glass measuring cup or anything ceramic will get too hot and burn the chocolate. I would try tupperware that can take the microwave. Mix together pretzels and nuts and add to the chocolate. Stir and then drop onto parchment paper.
Good luck. I know you will have your goddess status back in no time. Oh, also, unless a strawberry is bone dry, moisture may get into the chocolate. Instant seizure.
Jo

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 2:39PM
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kandm

Do you think some water (perhaps in the form of steam) could have gotten into the chocolate? If so it would make the high fat chocolate "seize" into a grainy, chunky disaster.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 2:43PM
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linnea56

Unfortunately I did add butter. (There is water in butter?). Though it was chunky before I did that. Is it useless for anything then?

It must have been steam. How do you keep steam away from the melting chocolate?

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 3:09PM
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annie1992

Like Jo, I find that white chocolate doesn't really melt very well, even with a little bit of vegetable oil. It stays too thick to dip, it's better for drizzling.

I've done a couple of batches in the microwave and they've turned to stone, very nearly. Dark chocolate I have better luck with, I'm using Trader Joe's Pound Plus and it's worked well.

I haven't found a white "chocolate" that I'm happy with, not even the wilton type melts or the white bark for melting. It just doesn't melt very thinly.

I also agree that the new microwaves will heat too hot too quickly. I melted stuff in my old microwave without incident, but my new one is just too hot. Add the pyrex bowl and there's a recipe for disaster, ask me. Sigh.

Readinglady was kind enough to send me her Farberware double boiler, I don't think I've ever owned one. I use it for white chocolate, because it's so finicky, and it works as well as anything.

So, Linnea, you are definitely not alone with this.

Annie

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 3:11PM
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dgkritch

Since you've already added butter, I would just chop up the "chocolate disaster" (grinning here....) and use in cookies or something.

Make up a fun name... White Chocolate Train Wreck?!?!?

The only thing I use for white melting/dipping is almond bark. Even then, sometimes I get a bad brand or something and have the same results you had. Luckily, I don't use it very often.

Deanna

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 5:50PM
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publickman

I use the Pound Plus bittersweet chocolate bars from Trader Joe's, and I have had to problem with them, but then I don't add anything to the chocolate, except sometimes a bit of wax to make the candy easier to handle when cooled. I melt the chocolate in a double boiler and sometimes store it in a 200° oven. I've burned chocolate in a MW, and so I won't use that, but a regular oven is okay at low temperature.

Lars

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 6:01PM
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linnea56

Thanks for the help.

With regard to the almond bark: is any particular brand good? I see it everywhere at this time of year, but have never bought it. Sometime it is really low-priced and that makes me think it does not have real cocoa butter in it.

I go to Trader JoeÂs all the time, and buy their Pound Plus Milk chocolate for eating, I wonder why I never thought of melting it!? I will try their bittersweet for the Christmas cookies and nuts. Is there another TJ variety that is especially good? (Is there a difference between semi-sweet and bittersweet?)

I think I need a new double boiler now. I need it for other things anyway. I wonder if you can just buy the top part or have to get it as a set with the pan that goes underneath? I think the rim that held it in place is also what stopped the steam from coming up the sides.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 6:39PM
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sheshebop

Also, you don't have to boil the water in the double boiler. Just get it almost to a boil and turn it down low. Higher heat causes increased steam which you do not want.
Good luck.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 7:28PM
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publickman

The bittersweet is a bit firmer and of course less sweet and darker than semi-sweet. I prefer bittersweet for candies because the fillings are so sweet that they need the balance of the bittersweet chocolate. BTW, I meant to say I had NO problem instead of "to" problem, but I guess you figured that out! I found the Pound Plus chocolate to be the best buy for candy making, and I usually buy two at a time.

Lars

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 7:36PM
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althetrainer

I have never used a double boiler to melt chocolate. But I have read somewhere about melting chocolate in a double boiler. I believe they said to heat the water temperature just high enough to warm the upper pot but not to boil the water. Plus, the water shouldn't touch the bottom of the upper boiler. Steam occurs when the water is boiled... so if it's not boiling there won't be any steam and your chocolate should stay dry. I have not tried it but it sounds pretty logical to me.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 7:49PM
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cookie8

I don't know if you have Bulk Barn where you are but the belgium white chocolate disks from there melt very well. They are close to double the price of the little candy rounds though. Those little ones are very frustrating with their little "problem" aren't they.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 10:11PM
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colleenoz

White chocolate is a tricky beast. I buy the kind I would eat, and melt it in the microwave on the defrost level. After about two minutes, check it by actually stirring it with a dry spoon. It may look still solid but may well be melted. Cotinue zapping at defrost level in short bursts until melted.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2009 at 3:38AM
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