Chocolate freaks out when it’s melted,
but this doesn’t mean you have to.

Untempered, unhappy chocolate

Chocolate gone wrong

On this fascinating post, I’ll explain what it means to temper chocolate, and WHY it’s so important for chocolate decorating.

WHY do you temper chocolate?    

  • So it will harden properly and have a nice perky snap. You want your decorations to be as firm as possible
  • When molding, your confections will release from the mold with effortless ease
  • It will give it a pleasing appearance, your chocolate will be shiny and uniform in color
Happy tempered chocolate decorations

Happy tempered chocolate decorations

When you melt chocolate, the cocoa butter crystals become unstable, and separate (think oil and water). Tempering is the process of red stablizing the chocolate/cocoa butter back into its proper format, so when it hardens back up again, it looks like it did before the big meltdown.

You temper by performing a series of steps that include heating and cooling the chocolate to very precise temperatures, as well as continuous stirring to keep the cocoa butter crystals happy.

Candy thermometer for tempering chocolate

Candy thermometer for tempering chocolate

There are two ways to temper chocolate:

  • By hand.  You have a few different options for tempering by hand, the “seeding” method is most common for home chefs, with this method you need a candy thermometer.
  • With a chocolate tempering machine.  This is how I temper chocolate, and at some point….  you probably will too. It makes tempering a breeze, but the machines can be pricey

Tempering affects the appearance of chocolate, but not the taste

Let’s Recap, shall we?

    •  Chocolate freaks out when it’s melted
    •  Whenever you make fancy chocolate decorations, you need to temper your chocolate first
    •  There are several ways to temper chocolate, including by hand, or with a tempering machine
    •   Tempering chocolate insures it will harden properly and have a pleasing appearance
    •   You’ll be screwed if you don’t temper your chocolate, because it will be spotty, limp, and unmanageable.  It will stick to your molds, and you’ll want to throw the whole kit and kaboodle right out the window
    • End of story

And that my friends, is WHY you temper chocolate.

Until next time,

Peace, Love, Chocolate,

The Chocolate

NOTE: please understand that I am an academically challenged right-brainer, and forgive any typos, grammatical faux pas, and things that don’t make sense.