So many of the foods we gift our loved ones are made from or coated in chocolate. These chocolate treats can be fun to create at home since they are easily customizable. But you do need to know one technique for the very best results: tempering.
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10 ingredients. 45 minutes. Quick, easy, and fresh weeknight recipes.
What Is Tempering?
The cocoa butter in chocolate is composed of six different crystalline molecular structures, each with a different melting point, and tempering is a process of very precise heating, cooling, and reheating chocolate in such a way that breaks down and realigns its crystalline structure so that only the most desirable of the six structures (known as beta crystals) is rebuilt. If the tempering is not done correctly, the resulting chocolate can be soft, mushy, grainy, gray, and/or mottled.
Melted chocolate must be properly tempered in order to develop its characteristic snap, shine, and smooth mouthfeel once it hardens. Once you have the tempering down (see our easy microwave method below), you're ready to make all sorts of chocolate treats. We are partial to chocolate barks.
How to Make Chocolate Bark
Here are a few of our favorite combinations.
- Salty Snack Bark: 2/3 cup crushed kettle-cooked potato chips and 2/3 cup crushed thin pretzels
- White Chocolate–Raspberry Bark: 1/2 cup chopped white chocolate and 1/2 cup crumbled freeze-dried raspberries
- Tropical Bark: 2/3 cup chopped roasted, salted macadamia nuts; 1/3 cup toasted sweetened shredded coconut; 2 teaspoons grated lime zest; and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Everything ChocolateA recipe collection that covers it all—in chocolate. This is the definitive guide to any chocolate treat you crave, for any time of day.
How to Temper Chocolate
Our favorite method for tempering chocolate is a technique called seeding, wherein solid chocolate already in temper is added to melted chocolate and stirred thoroughly and continuously as the melted chocolate cools. The crystalline structure in the solid chocolate will provide a framework or map for the melted chocolate to use as it cools and its crystalline structure resets.
You can use this method to dip (very dry) fruits, cookies, and candies, or to make chocolate bark.
Makes 1½ cups
- 1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine, divided
- Microwave 12 ounces chocolate in medium bowl at 50 percent power, stirring often with rubber spatula, until about two-thirds melted, 1½ to 2½ minutes (chocolate should be fluid but still lumpy).
- Remove bowl from microwave and add remaining 4 ounces chocolate. Stir and mash until chocolate is just melted and smooth, about 3 minutes. (If lumps remain, return chocolate to microwave at 50 percent power for no more than 5 seconds at a time, stirring at each interval, until fully melted.)