If you want to coat or dip anything in chocolate you need to melt it first and in doing so, you change the formation of the crystals in the chocolate. In order to reform the crystals so it has an attractive glossy finish and is crisp when you bite into it, you need to heat and cool it to the right temperatures. This is called Tempering.
A medium saucepan, a metal bowl larger than the saucepan, in order for it to sit on top, a silicone or rubber spatula, a digital cooking thermometer.
Chocolate that contains cocoa butter but no higher than 70%
(According to David Lebovitz “higher percentage chocolates (and some artisan bean-to-bar chocolates) can be quite acidic, and may behave differently”.
I like using dark chocolate as in my opinion it looks better. Use a king-size block of chocolate or chunks, don’t use chocolate chips or chocolate that has additives as they will behave differently.
Step 1 Heat the saucepan, with about 3cm (1 inch) of water to simmering point, sit the bowl on top but don’t let the bowl sit in the water.
Step 2 Add 2/3 of the chocolate, when it starts to melt stir gently but consistently. With your themometor, heat the chocolate to 115º-120º F (46º-49ºC.)
Step 3 Remove from heat, add the rest of the chocolate and stir through letting the heat from the chocolate melt the remainder. Let the temperature drop to 80ºs F (27ºC). Keep stirring.
Step 4 Place back on heat and bring the chocolate temperature back to a temperature between 88° and 91° F (31º-32ºC.) Keep stirring.
Step 5 It should look silky and glossy. You will have a few minutes to dip or coat, before the heat drops and you will need to raise the temperature again.
Warning Do not get any water into the bowl as it will cause the chocolate to seize, meaning it will lose it’s glossy shine and will be thick and lumpy. If this happens, you will need to start again from scratch.
So what can you coat or dip in chocolate?
Ingrid’s chocolate bombs, strawberries, almonds, truffles, cake pops, candied orange peel, dried apricots, cherries, dried pineapple (think pineapple lumps).