Sometimes you want to melt chocolate to drizzle over your ice cream or baked treats, or to stir into a muffin or cake batter..but the thought of melting chocolate can seem daunting. I'll show you that it doesn't have to be difficult and how I do it easily with no fuss!
We all need a little bit of melted chocolate in our lives sometimes.
Drizzled on ice cream or muffins or scones...
...or stirred into a brownie or cake batter.
Melted chocolate can be a beautiful thing.
And even though the idea of melting chocolate can seem daunting sometimes, I'm here to show you that it can actually be quite simple!
Keep in mind that I am not talking about tempering chocolate, which has very specific uses and requires much more finesse in creating. This post is not about melting chocolate with the intention of turning it into candies or bars or anything fancy.
It IS about showing you how I figured how out to easily melt chocolate to drizzle on your favorite desserts or to use in simple baking applications.
Let me quickly cover the other ways to melt chocolate before I get to how I do it...
The Most Common Methods
This method involves placing a heavy sturdy bowl (often glass) over a pot of simmering water on the stovetop. The heat from the simmering water heats the bowl and melts the chocolate. It yields fairly perfect results in getting smooth melted chocolate.
However, you always have to use a pot holder or mitt to hold the bowl steady while you stir because it will be burning hot from sitting over a pot of boiling water! There is also the hot steam from the boiling water, and the risk of too much steam possibly causing water to get in your chocolate, which leads to the chocolate seizing...which is not a good thing.
Even though you get beautifully melted chocolate, I find dealing with the pot of boiling water and hot heavy bowl to be too cumbersome and just plain daunting.
Another common method to melt chocolate is to microwave it, microwaving the chocolate in 30 second segments until the chocolate is melted. In a pinch, this can work, but the power of your microwave can affect the amount of time it takes to melt and you can accidentally burn the chocolate.
And yes, you can actually burn chocolate! The chocolate loses its silky smooth sheen and becomes thick and dull, and in the worst cases, the chocolate gets too hot and separates into black cocoa bits and liquid.
The Simple Way I Melt Chocolate
One might say that this way of melting chocolate is not "proper" or that it is not using the "right technique". However, I find it SO much easier and less daunting while still getting very good results. It is a take on the double-boiler method and still involves hot water, but what I'm about to show you is much simpler and, in my opinion, safer and less of a hassle.
Firstly, place your chocolate in a bowl that can rest on the rim of a measuring cup or pot. Break the chocolate into similar sized pieces.
Boil water in a kettle and pour the hot boiled water into a measuring cup or pot to a height that almost touches the bowl with the chocolate...but doesn't actually touch.
Place the bowl on top of the measuring cup or pot and let it sit for a few minutes. Again, be sure that bowl is close but does not actually make contact with the hot water. The steam from the hot water is going to heat the bowl which will melt the chocolate!
Obviously, the bowl will become hot...but nothing as burning hot as having it sit over a pot of simmering water on the stovetop!
In no time, you will start to see the chocolate starting to melt.
Stir the chocolate and then let it sit again for a minutes or two.
Continue to do this a couple of times until the chocolate is completely melted.
And that is it!
If you're not ready to use the chocolate immediately, leave the bowl over the hot water so it stays warm and melted.
No scorching hot bowl.
No scorching hot pot.
No hot steam.
No burnt chocolate.
Just melted chocolate goodness!
Commonly Asked Questions
Does it work with chocolate chips?
Yes! Chocolate chips may take longer to melt than a broken pieces of a bar of chocolate, but they will definitely melt. Stirring it occasionally helps the chocolate chips to melt easier.
One thing to note with chocolate chips is that they often contain emulsifiers, which is what helps them retain their shape while baking. So melting chocolate chips may yield a thicker consistency than if you melt pieces of chocolate that do not contain emulsifiers.
Can I add cream, butter, or oil?
Yes! I have added cream or oil to chocolate chips and heated them together in the bowl without any issue. Adding just a bit of cream, butter, or oil will help the melted chocolate flow or drizzle better.
I have found that melting pieces of chocolate does not require any oil or cream to thin it out for drizzling.
Add coconut oil to the chocolate and you've got "magic shell"! Drizzle or spoon some of the melted chocolate over ice cream or coat strawberries and the chocolate will harden into a shell!
Can I melt a bunch to use later?
I would advise against melting more chocolate than you need to use right away for a recipe or for drizzling. Because this is simply melted chocolate, the consistency and texture will change once the melted chocolate is cooled. So I only melt the quantity that I need to use.
Another nice thing about this method is that you can melt a small amount of chocolate very easily with no fuss. I've melted as little as a couple squares of chocolate for drizzling over Buttery Tea Scones or ice cream. I've also melted a larger amount for swirling into my Flourless Chocolate Swirl Blondies or for making Chocolate Coated Rice Cakes and it works well every time.
So if the double boiler method seems too difficult for you to tackle, or you've had mediocre results using the microwave, give my method a try. Melting chocolate won't seem so scary or overwhelming any more and you can melt chocolate easily any time you want!
How To Melt Chocolate
- Chocolate pieces or chips
- Hot just-boiled water
- Add your chocolate chips or pieces to a bowl that is big enough to rest on the rim of a measuring cup or bowl that will contain the hot water.
- Boil water in a kettle and immediately pour into the measuring cup or bowl.
- Place the bowl of chocolate or chocolate chips over the hot water, makgin sure the bottom of the bowl does not actually touch the hot water.
- Let the chocolate sit for 1-2 minutes to melt slightly and then stir.
- Continue to stir the chocolate very 1-2 minutes until it is completely melted.
- Leave the bowl of melted chocolate sitting over the hot water until it is ready to use.
- I boil the water in a kettle and pour the hot water into the measuring cup or pot.
- Fill the water in the measuring cup or bowl high enough so that it almost touches the bowl with the chocolate chips, but does not actually make contact.
- The more hot water your measuring cup can hold, the more heat/steam it will create and the longer it can maintain enough heat to melt the chocolate.
- If you are melting a larger quantity and use a pot to hold the hot water, I would still use a kettle to boil the water first before adding it to the pot. Boiling the water directly in the pot will end up making the pot scorching hot, leading to some of the same issues as if you use the double boiler method.
- Works with chocolate chips or chocolate pieces.
- Melted chocolate chips will likely be thicker than melting chocolate pieces.
- Add a small amount of neutral-flavored oil to the chocolate to make it easier to drizzle.
- Stir some coconut oil into the melted chocolate to create a "magic shell" chocolate coating for ice cream or for dipping strawberries.
- Only make as much melted chocolate as you plan to use right away.