How to Temper Chocolate

Learning how to temper chocolate properly is essential when you want to make homemade candies, such as truffles or chocolate bark. Follow this how-to for all you need to know about tempering chocolate.

How to Temper Chocolate

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Tempering Chocolate

Because it is almost Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d share this tutorial on chocolate tempering for anyone so inclined to make some yummy homemade candies. I love this Bittersweet Chocolate Swirl Fruit and Nut Bark, and when you use tempered chocolate the base of the bark has a nice firm feel to it

Tempered chocolate is also great for dipping other ingredients or sweets in to give them a chocolate coating. For example, these Raspberry Vanilla Bean Marshmallows are delicious and so pretty when you dip them in chocolate. You can also make Chocolate-Covered Vanilla Fleur de Sel Caramels, these tasty Chocolate Dipped Nuts, or even a simple batch of chocolate covered strawberries.

Related: Learn How to Make Chocolate Ganache and 5 Ways to Use It

What is Tempered Chocolate?

The gist of the process is to not let the chocolate get too hot.Tempered chocolate will cool into a hardened state with a shiny appearance. When broken or bitten into, it will break with a snap.

Think about the outer shell on a ganache truffle — you wouldn’t want the outer texture of a truffle to be dull, sticky and tacky, would you? Nope. You want it to be a smooth and shiny shell.

By tempering chocolate properly, you are also raising the melting temperature of the chocolate, which makes it so the chocolate doesn’t melt when you handle it or store it at room temperature. If the chocolate gets too hot during the melting process, the crystallization is uneven. Unfortunately, that leaves you with less than attractive chocolate and an odd chewy texture, rather than a silky chocolate that melts in your mouth.

If you you don’t temper the chocolate correctly and it gets too hot in the process, you will also have discoloration and the chocolate will spoil more quickly.

So, to summarize, you would want to temper chocolate for the following purposes:

  • For a shiny, attractive appearance.
  • So you achieve a crisp snap when the chocolate is broken.
  • So the chocolate doesn’t have a tacky or sticky texture.
  • To avoid discoloration, white streaking and blotches (bloom).
  • So the chocolate does not melt on contact when it is handled or stored at room temperature.
  • Longer lasting chocolate.

Tempered Chocolate Ingredients

To temper chocolate, literally all you need is chocolate. You can use this recipe for tempering chocolate chips, like I’ve done in the photos, or you can chop up an actual chocolate bar and temper that.

How to Temper Chocolate

Tempering chocolate is a fairly straightforward process. Here’s how you temper chocolate quickly and easily:

  1. Bring a saucepan filled about halfway with water to a simmer.
  2. Add the chocolate to a heat-proof bowl (or the top portion of a double boiler if you have one), and place the bowl on top of the saucepan of water. 
  3. Turn the heat under the pan off.
  4. Let the chocolate sit in the bowl over the saucepan of hot water until in begins to melt around the edges.
  5. Stir the chocolate until smooth, while monitoring the temperature using a candy thermometer.

Chocolate Tempering Temperatures

Dark chocolate temper point is typically between 88 and 90 degrees F.

Milk Chocolate tempers between 86 and 88 degrees F, though you should always check depending on the brand of chocolate you purchase. It is possible for chocolates to vary across manufacturers.

tempering chocolate over a double boiler

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What Type of Chocolate Should I Use?

You can use dark or milk chocolate with these instructions on how to temper chocolate. I don’t recommend using white chocolate, as that’s difficult to temper.

Tips for Tempering Chocolate

There are a few different methods out there, and some may even include directions for how to temper chocolate in the microwave. But, because microwaves differ so greatly from model to model (as well as depending on how old or new your microwave might be and what condition it is in), I prefer the method of  using a double boiling. I think it is a more consistently reliable method for tempering chocolate.

Tempered chocolate will quickly solidify as it cools, so you’ll need to move as quickly as possible while you’re dipping fruit, nuts, or truffles in the tempered chocolate, while also gently stirring to keep the chocolate fluid.

You can tell that it has gotten too cool by its appearance, which will become matte and thicker when you stir it. If the chocolate gets too cool, just gently rewarm it to the appropriate temperature. Make sure to stir and scrap up the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix the chocolate throughout. Once rewarmed, remove the chocolate from the heat and keep stirring to evenly distribute the heat.

How to Temper Chocolate

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More Kitchen Tips:

Learning How to Make Ganache is just as useful as knowing how to temper chocolate. You can use ganache as frosting, a syrup, and more just by playing around with the ingredient ratios!

Do you know How to Separate Eggs? If not, read this post! It’s a handy skill to have in the kitchen.

I recommend bookmarking this post on How to Make Homemade Buttermilk if you love baking. When I’m out of real buttermilk, this is what I do.

During the holidays, it’s vital that you know How to Freeze Cookie Dough. This is a great trick to have up your sleeve if you know you’ll have lots of friends and family over soon.

If you need a fast breakfast option for busy weekdays, Freezing Pancakes and Waffles is a great idea!

Have you ever tempered chocolate?

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How to Temper Chocolate

How to Temper Chocolate

Yield: 1 pound
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Learning how to temper chocolate properly is essential when you want to make homemade candies, such as truffles or chocolate bark. Follow this how-to for all you need to know about chocolate tempering.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of chocolate

Instructions

  1. Place a medium saucepan filled about half way with water over medium-low heat on your stove. Allow the water to come to a simmer.
  2. Add the chocolate to a heat-proof boil (or the top portion of a double boiler if you have one), and place the bowl on top of the saucepan.
  3. Turn the heat under the pan off.
  4. Let the chocolate sit in the bowl over the saucepan of hot water until in begins to melt around the edges, then stir the chocolate until smooth, while monitoring the temperature using a candy thermometer.
  5. Tempered chocolate will quickly solidify as it cools, so you'll need to move as quickly as possible while you're dipping fruit, nuts, or truffles in the tempered chocolate, while also gently stirring to keep the chocolate fluid.
  6. You can tell that it has gotten too cool by its appearance, which will become matte and thicker when you stir it.
  7. If the chocolate gets too cool, just gently rewarm it to the appropriate temperature.
  8. Make sure to stir and scrap up the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix the chocolate throughout.
  9. Once rewarmed, remove the chocolate from the heat and keep stirring to evenly distribute the heat.

Notes

Dark chocolate temper point is typically between 88 and 90 degrees F while Milk Chocolate 86 and 88 degrees F, though you should always check depending on the brand of chocolate you purchase, because it is possible for chocolates to vary across manufacturers.

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Nutrition Information
Yield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per ServingCalories 303 Total Fat 17g Saturated Fat 10g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 5g Cholesterol 13mg Sodium 45mg Carbohydrates 34g Net Carbohydrates 0g Fiber 2g Sugar 29g Sugar Alcohols 0g Protein 4g
GoodLifeEats.com offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although GoodLifeEats.com makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.

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