After developing these recipes, we’d say the crucial ingredient to candy making is patience. Here are answers to common chocolate questions.
What’s the trick to achieving a good temper?
The viscosity of the chocolate is key, and if you work with chocolate often, you’ll be able to rely on sight and touch to determine when it has reached perfect temper. When you first try tempering, pay close attention to your thermometer and be sure to hit the exact temperature you are aiming for. Here are some other tips:
1. Work on a cool, dry day. Chocolate behaves best in a room-temperature environment (mid-60s to low 70s) with average humidity (around 50 percent).
2. Read the recipe through completely before you start.
3. Use high-quality ingredients.
4. Have all equipment and ingredients on hand before starting.
5. Give yourself plenty of time; you can’t rush this process.
If the chocolate falls out of temper, can you retemper it? Or should you just use it in recipes that don’t require tempering?
As long as the chocolate is clean and has not exceeded 120 degrees Fahrenheit (see below), it can be retempered over and over again. Be sure to go through the whole process of melting and cooling again, because it’s the only way you can be sure to get good crystallization.
When the chocolate exceeds 120 degrees Fahrenheit, is it truly no longer usable for tempering? How about for use in recipes in which tempering isn’t required?
Somewhere between 120 degrees Fahrenheit and 130 degrees Fahrenheit, chocolate separates and burns. There is nothing you can do to repair burnt chocolate.
What does it mean if your chocolate comes off in one piece (like a shell) as opposed to sticking to the filling?
This happens when the interior (candy center) is too cold and the chocolate sets too fast and cracks. When testing, we found that having the candy centers cold made our candy bars easier to work with. However, the dipping worked best when the filling was only slightly below room temperature, which is why we put the candy centers in the refrigerator and not the freezer. If you freeze the filling, the chocolate coating will set too quickly and the interior will form condensation, eventually pushing the chocolate coating off.