What kind of chocolate do I want for making barks and for dipping? We usually then ask if they just want the kind that you melt down and use and almost always the answer is yes. If this is the case, then we suggest the chocolate candy coating or confectionery coating. If the customer is less concerned about the ease of use and more so about the flavor, then we show them to the real chocolate which requires tempering for molding, dipping, and making barks.
Can I use chocolate chips instead of candy coating in my candy making? Chocolate chips are designed to hold their shape. They may not melt down smoothly or set up properly to use them for candy making.
I have chocolate candy coating left over from last year. Is it still good? The answer to this question is a little tricky. Technically chocolate should be used within 3 months for best results. However, it may be kept for several months without going ‘bad’. The older the chocolate is, the less likely it is to melt down smoothly so that you can make candy with it. Older chocolate may require the use of paramount crystals to help thin down the chocolate.
How many pieces of candy can I cover or dip with one pound of chocolate? Of course the number of items is always going to depend on how thick or thin the chocolate is that you’re working with. Also the size of the item being dipped or covered will affect the number as well. Here are some basic guidelines for common candies and treats made this time of year.
- pretzel rods – about 50
- pretzel twists – 125
- bon bons – approximately 60, 1″ balls or 1 pound of candy center
- long stem dipped cherries – 40
- caramel pecan patties – about 100, 1½” size
- sandwich cookies – 30
- crackers – 45
How do I melt the chocolate candy coating? Candy coating can be melted in the microwave or a double boiler. To melt in the microwave, put one pound of chocolate in a microwave safe dish and microwave for 40 seconds. Stir. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stir. Continue microwaving for a few seconds at a time, stirring after each interval until the chocolate is completely melted. To melt the chocolate using a double boiler, you fill the bottom pan 1/2 full of water and bring it almost to boiling. Take the pan off stove. Put chocolate in top pan and set on lower pan. Stir until chocolate is fluid.
How should I store my unused chocolate? Store any unused chocolate in an airtight container at room temperature. Some people may choose to freeze their chocolate, just be aware that moisture that is drawn to the chocolate may cause the chocolate to become sticky and could ruin the chocolate. Chocolate stored in the freezer should be well sealed and should remain sealed until brought back up to room temperature.
How should I store my homemade candies? Store molded and dipped candies in an airtight container at room temperature. Items not completely coated in chocolate should be sealed well as they could become stale. Beware of any perishable ingredients like milk or cream that are in the candies and may reduce their shelf life.
I melted my chocolate down and it seems thick. Candy coating that is older, may be thicker once it is melted down. Colored coating wafers or coating that coloring has been added to can also be thicker. To help thin the chocolate out, add 1 to 2 tbs. of paramount crystals to one pound of thick chocolate.
What is the ratio for making bark? We recommend using 2 parts of chocolate to 1 part crunchy food product (i.e. nuts, crunches, dried fruit). You do not necessarily have to follow that but keep in mind that the more you add to the chocolate, the more difficult it will be to spread out into a thin layer.
My chocolate has a white film on the top. If your chocolate has a white film covering it, it’s likely that chocolate has bloomed. Bloomed means that the oils or fats have separated from the chocolate and rose to the surface causing white patches on the chocolate. Blooming occurs when the chocolate has been exposed to changes in temperature. Bloomed chocolate can still be used, but may be more difficult to melt down and may have lost it’s creaminess. If the bloomed chocolate no longer will melt down smooth enough to be used for molding and dipping, try mixing it with nuts and drop it by the spoonful into candy cups or onto parchment paper. Help avoid your chocolate from blooming by keeping it stored in a cool, dry place at a consistent temperature.