and other soft centers in a coating of chocolate adds a beautiful, delicious finishing touch to many candies. The chocolate imparts a good flavor while also adding a protective coating, and dipping candy centers is easy if you follow these basic instructions.
1. Choose Your Chocolate
The big question is, chocolate or chocolate coating? Both options have pros and cons: chocolate tastes better but tempering takes time and can be tricky, whereas chocolate coating has an inferior taste but is fast and easy to work with.
In any case, use the best product you can afford. For chocolate coating, I recommend Felchin Ultra Gloss Dark Chocolate and for real chocolate, I recommend any high-quality chocolate that you enjoy eating on its own. After all, you will be imparting this flavor to all of your dipped candies! If you are using real chocolate, skip step 2, and if you are using chocolate coating skip step 3.
2. Melt the Chocolate Coating
First, the chocolate will need to be chopped
in order to melt evenly. Some brands of chocolate and chocolate coating can be purchased in wafer sizes or bite-sized bars that don't require chopping. However, if you buy large bars of chocolate or bulk chocolate coating, you will need to chop it before melting, so that it will melt at an even rate and not overheat
Place the chopped coating chocolate in a large microwave-safe bowl, microwave it at half-power (if your microwave has this feature) and stir after every minute. Stop heating when most of the coating is melted, and stir constantly until the remaining chunks of coating have melted and the mixture is smooth and even.
3. Temper the Chocolate
For professional-looking dipped candies, your chocolate should be tempered. Chocolate that has been tempered is smooth, with a shiny finish and a satisfying snap. Tempering is not a difficult process, but it can take time and require a few pieces of specialized equipment. For tempering instructions, read how to temper chocolate
, or watch a video showing how to temper chocolate
Note that if you are pressed for time you can simply melt your chocolate with a small amount of shortening to thin it, but the resulting candies will have to remain refrigerated or they will begin to melt at room temperature.
4. Prepare Your WorkstationIt is best to have everything ready before you begin dipping. Place your bowl of chocolate at your clean workstation and set out your dipping tools or dinner forks. Cover a baking sheet with a clean piece of parchment or aluminum foil for placing the finished candies on. Keep your truffles or soft fillings in the refrigerator until right before you are ready to use them.
5. Dip the Centers in the Prepared ChocolateSlide the edge of your fork or dipping tool under the truffle or candy center, and lift it up gently. Drop the truffle into the melted chocolate and push it just under the surface of the chocolate. Lift it out of the chocolate with the fork, and tap the fork several times against the side of the bowl. Slide the bottom of the fork over the lip of the bowl to remove excess chocolate from the bottom of the candy. Place the fork over the prepared baking sheet, and tilt the fork so the edge of the truffle touches the sheet. Smoothly slide the fork out from under the truffle. If you are adding decorations or garnishes to your candies, do it now, when the chocolate is still wet. Repeat the process with the remaining centers and chocolate.
6. Allow the Chocolate to SetIf the temperature of your room is moderately cool (60 to 70 degrees) your candies can be left out to set, but if your room is warm, or you want to speed up the process, you can refrigerate them for approximately 30 minutes to set the chocolate. The exception is untempered chocolate, which should always be refrigerated after dipping.
7. Trim and Store the CandiesOnce the chocolate has set, you might notice a small pool of chocolate forming "feet" at the bottom of your truffles. If desired, you can trim them with a small sharp paring knife. Wear gloves to avoid getting fingerprints on your candies, and place them on a flat surface. Grip the candy in one hand, and use the paring knife to press down on the excess chocolate and cut it off in short clean strokes. Trimming the candies is purely an aesthetic decision, and you can certainly skip this step if desired. Store the candies in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.