8 Tools You Need
Melting Minutes Chocolate Academy - Lesson 1
The Melting Minutes Chocolate Academy series is a great place to start if you’re new to tempering chocolate. Your reward will be delicious homemade chocolate candy made by YOU!
In The Three Fundamentals of Tempering I talk a little bit about my laser infrared thermometer (shown below). I like that it doesn’t have to even touch my chocolate because let’s face it, it’s nice to have one less thing to clean once the chocolate fun is over. The con of this style thermometer is that it reads the surface temperature of food. This gives it limited use for meats, but works perfect for chocolate since it is constantly being stirred.
There are many other good choices out there when shopping for thermometers. Although a mercury version would work fine, I find that digital thermometers are faster, slightly more accurate, and convenient. I like that I can also switch from Fahrenheit and Celsius with a click of a button, depending on the recipe I’m using. This link is an example of a less fancy but reliable digital thermometer that will meet your chocolate making needs.
There are three options when it comes to chocolate molds: plastic, silicone and polycarbonate. Here are some pros and cons of each:
My preference is polycarbonate due to its durability and the fact that they produce professional looking chocolate. Their price tag is a bit steep ($15-30), compared to plastic (about $3-8). You can find any design under the sun in plastic so it’s really unavoidable…especially if you think you would only use it a few times. I’ve never tried silicone molds but perhaps one day I’ll bring myself around to considering it.
3 & 4. Offset Spatula & Bench Scraper
This isn’t really an either/or thing. Once you pour the chocolate over your mold, you’re going to need the bench scraper to remove the excess chocolate. On the final coat, you’re going to love how the offset spatula smooths over the bottoms of your chocolates.
5. Wooden Spoon
The best way to remove bubbles in your chocolate is to tap them out with a wooden spoon. I have a bamboo one that I love because it doesn’t chip as easily as a regular wooden spoon can.
6. Parchment Paper
Chocolate is much easier to clean and save if your spills are on parchment paper. I don’t know if you’re like me, but I’m a messy cook! This stuff is my secret weapon. The chocolate pops off easily and I can either toss it in my resealable bag for remelting or directly into my mouth (which is what tends to happen).
7. Piping Bags
Piping bags are the best way to fill chocolate cavities. I use disposable ones, but you can also use good old parchment paper and tape.
8. Something to Melt Chocolate In
Depending on how you decide to heat your chocolate, you will need either a double boiler (stove top), plastic bowl (microwave), or a KitchenAid Precise Heat Mixing Bowl (for use with KitchenAid Mixer). Everyone has their preferred way of tempering, so it is recommended to try more than one method before you select your favorite. If you don’t have a double boiler, a metal bowl that fits over a pot works beautifully. Just make sure there is at least a couple inches of clearance from the water’s surface in the pot and the bottom of the bowl. For more information, we discuss these methods in detail in Lesson 5. It’s worth noting that there are other methods of tempering, but for now we’ll stick to the ones that are favored most by home cooks.
So there you have it! Now go and dig through your cupboards or start shopping (you can thank me later for giving you a reason). I’d love to hear your comments about which method you plan to try first to heat your chocolate. If you already have experience tempering, which method is your favorite?
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