How to melt chocolate without burning it

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HARTFORD - Melting chocolate is not an easy task. Here are some tips to get it just right.

  • Water bath: Fill a large skillet with water, and heat to just below simmering. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl, such as stainless steel, and place the bowl in the water. Gently and constantly stir the chocolate while keeping the water below simmering.
  • Double boiler: Fill the bottom half of a double boiler with water, making certain the bottom of the top half doesn't touch the water. Bring the water to a simmer. Place the chocolate in the top half, and place over the simmering water. Be careful that the water doesn't boil or splash into the chocolate, because any moisture will cause it to seize.

Once you've melted chocolate, use it immediately. If necessary, you can hold chocolate over a bowl of warm water for a short time. But what if you've made a mistake when melting chocolate?

  • Splattering water on melting chocolate or overheating it can be disastrous, causing it to seize. If that happens, here's what you can try: Add a taste-free vegetable oil (canola, not olive) or warm water by the teaspoon to the melted chocolate in a saucepan. Stir constantly until the chocolate returns to a smooth state.
  • Burnt chocolate is another matter. Its harsh, bitter taste will ruin whatever you're making. Discard the chocolate and start again. Microwaves are not ideal for melting chocolate since they burn from inside out and temperatures vary so it does not always evenly melt the chocolate and the taste is not as pure as traditional methods.

Find out more at 'Chocolate Fest'  at Whole Foods Markets.

  • West Hartford, Blue Back Square: Thursday, Feb. 5, 5:30-7 p.m.
  • Glastonbury: Friday, Feb. 64: 30-6 p.m.
  • West Hartford, Bishops Corner: Saturday, Feb. 712-2 p.m.

Tips from Alex Dilling; Healthy Eating Specialist