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Suzanne Asks:

January 27, 2015
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QHi! I want to make some special dipped chocolates for Valentine’s Day, but I don’t know where to start. Is there anything special I need to know about choosing or melting chocolate for dipping?

- Suzanne


That’s a great idea, Suzanne. I love to bake for special occasions, but I also love the elegance of something as simple as a chocolate-dipped strawberry. Of course, you don’t have to stop with the classic strawberry. In the Test Kitchen, we’ve had fun dipping all kinds of things in chocolate, from dried fruit to marshmallows to caramelized bacon.

Once you’ve decided what to dip, you have two choices for how to melt it. To get that professional glossy finish, you’ll need to temper your chocolate. This just means heating your melted chocolate to a precise temperature, then cooling it down to a precise temperature before dipping. (Get the details here.)

You can also use a mixture of chocolate chips and shortening for dipping. This gives you a little extra leeway in the temperature of your melted chocolate and gives you a slightly softer coating.

No matter which method you choose, you need to watch out for seizing. This is when your chocolate suddenly becomes hard and clumpy as it melts. The addition of the slightest drop of water — even humid air — can cause chocolate to seize. If yours does, don’t despair. Stirring in vegetable oil or shortening should help. Use these proportions:


Stir in this much vegetable oil or shortening

8 ounces

Unsweetened, semisweet and bittersweet chocolate in bars or squares

1 tablespoon

6 ounces

White baking chocolate

2 tablespoons

6 ounces

Semisweet morsels

1 tablespoon

6 ounces

Milk chocolate morsels

2 tablespoons

Good luck and have fun, Suzanne!

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