Ann Reardon

Chocolate Secrets Revealed

how to temper chocolate decorations

Everyday on How To Cook That there are hundreds of comments, requests and questions. Lately there has been a groundswell of questions all about chocolate. What chocolate should I use? How do I temper it? Can I temper in a double boiler? What is tempered chocolate? This video reveals the answer to all of your chocolate questions so you can make beautiful truffles, giant chocolate bars and chocolate decorations at home.


How I can find out if I have fake chocolate or real chocolate?
If it contains cocoa butter it is real chocolate
If it contains vegetable fat then it is compound or fake chocolate.

Can you eat fake chocolate?
Yes you can 😀

If I have to temper chocolate is it real or fake?
Real chocolate or chocolate that contains cocoa butter needs tempering. Fake or compound chocolate does not need tempering.

What is the difference between tempering and melting your chocolate?
If you just melt it and then leave it at room temperature it doesn’t set (see the video for an explanation and footage of the difference)
Tempering allows it to set at room temperature and gives it a good shine and snap.

chocolate truffles video recipe

Tempering in the microwave

One cheats way is just to keep it in temper. Finely grate chocolate put it into a microwave safe plastic bowl, and microwave on high heat for 20 seconds then stir, 10 seconds and stir, 10 seconds, 10 seconds stir.  See video for explanation of how this works.

How do you know if you’ve overheated it? Is there a certain temperature it could not go past?
That’s correct you need to keep it under a certain temperature, after that it will melt the cocoa butter completely. The temperature is different for milk, dark and white see the video for more information.

Instead of grating the chocolate could I use powdered chocolate? Like ovaltine or nesquick? Can I use nutella? hersheys syrup?
These are chocolate flavoured, but they are not chocolate. You can’t use them to make chocolate decorations.

What if you don’t have a microwave, can you use a double boiler?
You can’t use a double boiler to keep it in temper because it makes that chocolate too hot and melts all the cocoa butter particles. But you can use one of the methods below to temper it instead.

chocolate birds nest

Tempering chocolate using freeze dried cocoa powder

See the video at the top of this post for a demonstration
Completely melt your chocolate either in the microwave or over a double boiler.
Then cool it until it comes down to about 97F (36.11 degrees Celsius), this took about 10 minutes. Use a candy thermometer to check the temperature.

Add in a teaspoon of the freeze dried cocoa butter per 200g (7.05 ounces) of chocolate and stir it though.  You can purchase freeze dried cocoa powder here, it is not cheap but you don’t need much.

If you add it when the chocolate is too hot you will completely melt the cocoa butter particles so it won’t help temper it at all. If you add it when it is too cold the freeze dried cocoa butter won’t mix in and you’ll get little white dots on your chocolates.

chocolate scrabble how to cook that ann reardon

Tempering chocolate using the tabling method

See the video at the top of this post for a demonstration

Completely melt your chocolate.  Tip out 2/3 of your chocolate onto a cool surface, stone or marble are best (melamine will not work as it is not cool enough).
Spread out the chocolate to cool it down and then bring it back into the middle keep doing this until you get ribbons on top.  Scrape it into the bowl with the rest of the chocolate stir through.

chocolate peanut dessert recipe reardon

Tempering chocolate using block seeding

See the video at the top of this post for demonstration

Melt your chocolate, cool to 97F (36.11 degrees Celsius) then add in a chunk of tempered chocolate. Keep stirring it around with the chunk in it until it comes down to about around 91F (32.78 degrees Celsius) then take out the chunk and you’re good to go.

Do we need to temper compound chocolate?

No compound chocolate does not need tempering you can melt it in the microwave or double boiler, spread it out or mold it and it will set at room temperature and have a nice shine. It is very easy to use.

Can we just use compound or fake chocolate for everything?
Yes you can but it does not taste as good as real chocolate.

What can go wrong?

Seized chocolate
If you get water in your chocolate it will seize. Your only hope is to add more liquid like cream or milk and stir it in then push it through a fine sieve to make a ganache instead.

Burnt chocolate
If you don’t stir or overheat your chocolate it can burn. When it is starting to burn it will go into a thick crumbly paste – if you keep heating it will go black and start to smoke.

by Ann Reardon How To Cook That

My Cookbook

ann reardon crazy sweet creations cookbook
Stores that sell my book listed by country:
All recipe quantities in the book are in grams, ounces and cups.

256 Comments View Comments

  1. Greetings Ann! Hope your day is going well…
    First off, I’d like to present you with a forewarning: This might be quite a long comment, I just have so much to say! Also, I just love all your videos, you put so much effort into them and they’re all great!

    Anyway, I’m sure you’ve seen more chocolate questions than anyone normally encounters, and I’m sorry to present you with another one, but I just can’t get chocolate off my mind, I’m sure you can relate 🙂 My question is what is your tempering method of choice to get the chocolate to a more liquid consistency? I’ve tried to temper multiple times before, but it comes out too thick for my purpose. I notice in your videos the tempered chocolate is always beautifully thin and silky smooth, and I’d like to replicate that in my creations.

    You have inspired me so much and I can’t thank you enough for sharing your talent with the world!
    Much love from the US. <3

    • Hi Rebecca, If you want that type of consistency, don’t use the microwave method. My favourite is the freeze dried cocoa butter method.

  2. Thank you, this is so helpful! I have tried tempering chocolate before… and have failed. You are extremely informative and have so many methods and ideas. Ann, you’re my idol!

  3. Where do I put the chocolate to cool in the fridge or out. And where do I store it to

    • Hi Jessica, If it is real chocolate let it cool on the bench and then when fully cooled and set it can be stored in an airtight container. If it is fake/compound chocolate you will need to cool it in the fridge.

  4. Hi
    Good morning
    I am writing this to know about how to start a chocolate business what are the basic steps which I have to keep in mind . I would like to start a home based business . I hope you understand my doubts as clear . waiting for your reply . I would like to start with 3 products at first

    Anil kamath

    • Hi Anil, Perhaps start by working out who you will be able to sell to initially. Make a sample batch of you product, and see what people think of them.

  5. u said chocolate 73 times ann

    • Hi Makayla, it’s a lot isn’t it.

  6. Hi Ann,
    I’ve counted how many times you said Chocolate and its: 73 times

    Thank you Kaylet

    • ** Kayley

  7. Hi ann as u know that my little 11 year old brain is always curious about chocolate. Thx for the video and one question, are Cadbury and bourneville compound or real chocolate . Pls replay soon!:)

    • Hi Anjishu, Those are brand names and they produce a variety of products. The best way to assess whether something is real or compound chocolate is to loo at the label. If the ingredients include Cocoa butter it is usually chocolate. If there is no cocoa butter then it is usually fake or compound chocolate.

  8. I can’t thank you enough. Tonight I tempered chocolate. I have watched so many different videos on it and have wasted so much chocolate. You are my hero, homemade easter treats here I come!

  9. Hey Ann 😀
    I have a little request. Could you show us how to do CAKE POPS? I would be soo glad. ^^
    And thank you for being such a good instructor! Honestly, you are the only one who gives perfectly accurate proportions in recepies.
    Thanks for all what you are doing for us! *^*

  10. interesting post! loved it

    • Thanks Kelsey!

  11. Hi Ann,
    Thanks for your video! I have watched it and you said that the cocoa butter will completely melt if the temperature goes over, 29º, 30º and 32º. The problem is that I live in Singapore and the temperature is usually 28º – 32º. Is there any other way so that the cocoa butter won’t melt in this temperature?

    • Hi Charlene, You can’t change the melting point of chocolate. The only alternative is to use compound chocolate (fake chocolate) instead.

  12. Aff qual é fica escrevendo em ingles so pra ela entender -.-

    • Oi lovatic, obrigado, há um botão traduzir para este website. Você vai encontrá-lo na coluna do lado direito .

  13. Thanks for the great explanation of tempering chocolate! No wonder I have never had much luck melting chocolate. I always overheated it in a double-boiler.

  14. Hi Ann, loved your video!
    I was wondering if i have to temper the chocolate that contains both cocobutter and vegetable oil??
    It doesn’t say which one has more in it 🙁

    • Hi Elena, if it has vegetable fat and cocoa butter treat it as compound chocolate – ie don’t temper it.

  15. From where did you get your candy thermometer?

  16. Hey I was wondering on the poppin cookin make your own instead of 10 boxes can u please give me the quantities of the ingredients for one?

    • Hi Kiki you could divide the ingredients by 10, however I am not sure if you’d be able to get such a small amount to process properly in a blender.

  17. Ann, thank you for this wonderful video on chocolate! I’ve watched more videos than I care to count to help me understand chocolate and how to temper it. Yours is absolutely the best–plus, no other one has mentioned the freeze dried cocoa powder. Appreciate the information! Finally, I appreciate that you not only explain what happens to chocolate but also illustrate it using Lego blocks. Thanks again!

    • Thanks for your lovely comment Deb I am glad it helped you 😀

  18. Wow, this is a really informative how-to video! You’re becoming Alesah’s new favourites and Julie’s getting a bit jelly, LOL. Great work, keep it up!!!

    Julie & Alesah
    Gourmet Getaways xx

    • lol thanks Alesah and Julie 😀

  19. Hi Ann, thanks to your wonderful chocolate info . I avoided making anything involving chocolate till now.
    I have made some chocolate decorations and some chocolate ganach and modeling chocolate.
    Now that I’m understanding chocolate better , I look forward to making so much more thank you

    • wonderful sheiba09 I am glad it helped

  20. Ann you are making lent so hard for me this year! I I’ve gone off chocolate and YouTube… At least I can still make hundreds off wonderful chocolate free recipes on your website, and look forward to Easter for a whole load of chocolate!
    Btw, love you & what you do, lots 🙂

    • thanks Jeanne, fasting chocolate – must be hard

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