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 šŸ˜€

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. Ā 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 underĀ a certainĀ 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?Ā 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 useĀ 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. Ā 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 theĀ tabling method

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

Completely melt your chocolate. Ā 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 middleĀ keep doing thisĀ until you getĀ ribbons on top.Ā  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 toĀ 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.Ā 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 aĀ 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. Hi Ann, I have just started making my own chocolates after years of purchasing rediculously delicious and expensive chocolates from chocolatiers! Are you able to direct me to a website where I can purchase good quality chocolate as an alternative to purchasing chocolate from the supermarket?

  2. How will you find out if a chocolate is compound chocolate or not.
    And how will you find out if a chocolate is fake or not.
    Thank you~

  3. Hi Ann! What tempering method do you prefer? šŸ™‚

    • Hi Line, Ann prefers using freeze dried cocoa butter.

  4. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann,
    I love your videos and I watch them all the time, You make all of it look so easy! But I do have a question about one of your tempering chocolate strategies. When you add a chunk of chocolate to the melted chocolate does it have to be compound chocolate or real chocolate or can it be both?

    • Hi Kalena, When you seed chocolate to temper it you need to use real chocolate.

  5. How much chocolate per teaspoon of freeze dried cocoa butter should I use? How much does a teaspoon of freeze dried cocoa butter weigh?

    • Hi Joseph, one teaspoon of freeze dried cocoa butter weighs just under 1 gram. You could use 1g as a guide. Ann would usually add 1/2 a teaspoon of the freeze dried cocoa butter to about 300g of chocolate.

  6. Rating: 4.5

    Hey Ann,
    I’ve been binge watching lots of ur videos which soon brought me to start searching for real chocolate near my place. However, the ones I can buy conveniently has both cocoa butter and vegetable fat in it. Does that count as real chocolate or compound chocolate? Do I need to temper it?
    Lots of love,

    • Hi Aqilah, if it has both you would use it like fake chocolate.

  7. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann.. I love making your recipes especially the chocolate truffle ones, but can you tell me what brand of chocolate do you use. I always used Cadbury for milk. What do you use for milk/dark/white? Thanks so much

    From Malaysia šŸ™‚

    • Hi Jeremy, Ann doesn’t recommend a partular brand but always prefers real chocolate for the taste.

  8. Rating: 4

    Hi Ann
    Just one thing I am confused about, keeping the chocolate in temper, how do you do this with a microwave if you want to make multiple eggs in one go, and don’t want the chocolate left over to set before making the next egg? I don’t have a candy thermometer either. Have watched the video a few times but stuck on this point! Thanks.

    • Hi Sairz, Ann tends to solve this problem by doing two things. Firstly don’t put your bowl on a cool bench. Sitting it on a towel or similar will slow down the cooling process. The second thing she does is take a good spoon full of the tempered chocolate out and put it in a separate bowl. It will be quite gloopy. Then the remaining left over chocolate she will reheat in the microwave in bursts of 5 seconds till it is in a useable state. Then she puts the spoonful of gloopy tempered chocolate back into the bowl with the warmed chocolate and mix. The portion of tempered chocolate will seed the remainder.

  9. there is one way to defer with choc melts. the small droplet ones are usually always have cocoa butter while the button shaped drops usually have vegetable fat

    • Hi Shazza, that unfortunately not true of all brands in all countries.

  10. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann, thank you very much for the great video and explanations!
    I make chocolate at home using cocoa butter, cocoa powder and maple syrup. Can I temper this kind of chocolate and if yes, what would be the best method? I am thinking of trying the tabling method as I wouldn’t want to “contaminate” the pure ingredients with store bought chocolate. For this method would it be wrong to do it on a plastic mat if I don’t have a marble or stone slab?

    • Hi Carly, You wont be able to temper your chocolate as you have added liquid to it- the maple syrup. It may not set very firmly either.

  11. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann,

    I have been experimenting with different tempering methods, and I discovered just now that it is possible to melt chocolate on a double boiler while keeping it in temper!!!! It is a bit tricky – I didn’t let the water boil or even simmer, just kept it pleasantly warm, I was stirring the chocolate (dark couverture btw) continuously, and I would place my bowl of chocolate over the pan of water for a few seconds at a time, then remove it from the fire, measure the temperature and stir it, and back on the water pan again. The result was ok, it had a bit thicker consistency than what I’d have liked, but had a nice glossy finish.
    This is probably more trouble than it’s worth, however if someone does not have a microwave or is really bored to grate chocolate (guilty!) or make a mess by tabling, it can work.

    Keep it up!!! šŸ™‚

    • Wow, Maria you must have a great touch to be able to manage the temperature so well. Well done.

  12. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann,
    Do you ever mix together and temper different amounts of white, milk, or dark chocolate to get different shades? I am planning a monochromatic design by mixing various ratios of chocolate types. I do not want a marbled effect, I am aiming for solid colors as my result. I will use the microwave method to temper, and will use the lower temperature of the two chocolates that I mix.

    • Hi Erin, Because the types of chocolate, reach temper at different temperatures, you will likely need to temper the types of choclate seperately and then mix to get the result you want. If you mix the types together first and try to temper you may find the tempered chocolate too thick to work with to create your designed result. It will depend on the qualities of the chocolate use.

  13. Hi Ann, can you recommend a good choc colouring and flavouring to use, there are just so many out there but not sure of the differences, also how do you encase liquid liquor chocs? Thank you

  14. Rating: 5

    Hii Ann
    If the chocolate contains vegetable oil and coco butter at the same time , is it fake or real?
    And can i use coco bowder instead of grating chocolate ???

    • Hi Dyala, You can’t use cocoa powder instead of grated chocolate. If vegetable oil is listed in the ingredients, then treat it as fake chocolate.

  15. Hi there I have enjoyed your videos a lot Question is what would the % of cocoa butter I could add to compound to mimic real chocolate??

    • Hi Lisa, You can’t add cocoa butter to compound and chocolate and mimic real chocolate. The fat in the compound chocolate will work against the process.

  16. for the one with the block of tempered chocolate, can I use fake chocolate instead?

  17. hi ann – thank you for ALL your informational videos. they are so helpful. you are so talented and it’s wonderful that you are so willing to share your skills.

    I have been watching your videos on chocolate after having made some dk chocolate/white chocolate bark over the holidays, I realized I had a lot to learn about tempering. I melted the chocolate thinking it could work just like candy melts and it set up alright, but of course was not shiny and did not taste good! kinda crumbled…

    anyway – I see where you list the temperatures for milk, dark, and white chocolate when KEEPING already tempered chocolate in temper. I’m intrigued by your seeding and freeze dried cocoa butter methods. you mention adding the seed or FD cocoa butter when the chocolate is at 97F degrees. what type of chocolate is that temperature for? does it work for all three? if not, what are the correct temperatures for adding seed and FD cocoa butter for milk, dark, and white chocolate?

    thanks again!!

    jodi from atlanta, ga

    • Hi Jodi, If you are using freeze dried cocoa butter, it is the same temperature (97F) for all the types of chocolate. If you are using the seeding method, it is more forgiving with regards to temperature.

  18. What does temper mean? What is tempered chocolate?

    • Hi Diya, Ann explains this in the video. Tempered chocolate will stay set at room temperature and will snap when you crack or break it. Untempered choclate will go soft and lose shape at room temperature.

  19. Hi Ann,
    I have white compound chocolate at home which I bought from a wholesaler (checked the ingredients and has veg fat). I melted the chocolate and then spread it out and it set but it was still soft no snap, shine etc. Could you think why this might have happened?

    • Compound chocolate doesn’t set, if you watch the video it shows that, It is better to use real chocolate if you re trying to make it set.

    • To have a good shine and snap, you need to use real chocolate not compound.

  20. hi ann i have been watching some of your chocoIate videos and i was wondering that when making a white chocolate ganache can you colour the cream with a drop of liquid food colouring to then change the colour of the ganache completely?

    • Hi Joe, Yes you can. Either liquid or gel colours will be fine for this.

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