Looking for chocolate melting tips!

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I saw a video on making homemade peppermint patties a couple weeks ago. Looked super simple. My middle and I decided to make them.

It was fairly simple. There are only a handful of easy ingredients – the filling was just sweetened condensed milk, powdered sugar and peppermint extract. We had to play with the amount of powdered sugar a little to make it workable. We rolled the dough into balls and flattened them instead of rolling the dough and cutting out into shapes like the video. We followed some reviews and experimented which would work better by leaving half of the patties to air dry a little at room temperature for a couple hours and the other half we put in the freezer to harden/freeze.

And then came the dreaded part for me – melting the chocolate for dipping. I am seriously horrible at melting chocolate. I’ve tried for literally decades to get this down. I improvise a lot when recipes call for melting chocolate and dipping (I struggle through, use my hands a lot, sometimes brush chocolate on, give up, etc.).

I know one has to go slow and can’t heat the chocolate too quickly. I’ve tried short bursts of low temperature on the stove. I’ve tried real double boilers. I’ve tried a bowl sitting over a pot of simmering water (not touching and not boiling).  I’ve tried the chocolate package instruction, youtube tutorials, cookbook instructions, online tips and instructions. I’ve tried microwaving for a minute. I’ve tried microwaving for 15 seconds at a time. I’ve tried microwaving for 30 seconds and then 15 seconds. I’ve tried microwaving at half power and full power. I’ve tried heavy bottom and cheap pans. I’ve tried many brands of chips, bars of chocolate, wafers of chocolate, high quality and low quality chocolate, and even chocolate specifically for melting. I’ve tried putting in butter and even bought shortening specifically to try. I’ve tried adding in cream, milk and condensed milk. I’ve tried melting small batches, medium size and large batches. Nothing has worked to make a smooth drippy dip-able dunk-able chocolate. Sometimes I can get it that way nice and smooth for a minute or two, I start dipping, and when I need to stir, to redistribute the chocolate for full coverage dipping, it seizes up.

Mostly, my chocolate “seizes” and goes from looking like it’s melting and then suddenly becoming “gritty” and unworkable. I always thought I was burning the chocolate, but it doesn’t make sense based on using low heat. There is something about the chocolate refining process and moisture/water getting in that makes the chocolate seize. I try to be careful to not let a drip of water in.

What I learned this last time, is that oil can help, it wasn’t great/smooth dipping chocolate like the video, but allowed us to revive a bowl of seized chocolate and dip some patties this time! I added a couple teaspoons of canola oil to the seized chocolate and heated a little, and it definitely smoothed out some.

The peppermint patties, by the way, definitely don’t taste like store bought patties, and if not comparing them to the store bough patties are okay. They aren’t as delicious as the reviewers tout, but we may have to play with the amount of extract. I’ll post a recipe if we refine it!

I’d love any chocolate melting tips!!! We really want to make buckeyes again (peanut butter balls), but don’t want to struggle with the chocolate part!

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