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
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All recipe quantities in the book are in grams, ounces and cups.

256 Comments View Comments

  1. Would the freeze dried cocoa butter replace cocoa powder in a recipe?

    • Hi Katie, No it is not a suitable replacement.

  2. Hi!
    Could coins of cocoa butter be used for tempering? And if so – how?
    Should I grate it / freeze it / use it as in the block seeding method?
    Thanks a lot!

  3. Hi Ann what if the chocolate has both cocoa butter and vegetable fats? This is the case for cadbury’s dairy milk here in the UK.

  4. If you have tempered chocolate and it sets up again, do you need to temper it again the next time you melt it? Thank you!

    • Hi Jamie, I think I understand what you are asking. If your chcolate has set then you will either need to re temper it next time you melt it or ensure it doesn’t go out of temper- that means not to heat it to much. Ann describes this well and how to keep it in temper.

  5. Hi Ann, Would this cocoa butter be suitable for tempering? Thanks!

    • Hi Jamie, It looks very suitable, though I have not tried that brand.

  6. hi ann i have a question, what method do you use when you temper your chocolate for truffles,.i,ve tried the tabling methlod but it didn’t work and in my country i can’t find cocoa butter and i want my chocolate to be shinning

  7. Hi Ann! Does real chocolate set at room temperature?Is most chocolate real or fake?

  8. Hi Ann, I’m looking to use the freeze dried cocoa butter option but I’m not sure how much chocolate you used when adding one teaspoon of the powder. Basically I was just wondering what the ratio of chocolate to powder should be. Thanks!

  9. hi ann cane actually tell if your chocolate is properly tempered or is it just luck

    • Hi Elena, you can tell once it sets – is it firm and shiny? Then it is tempered. If it has swirls of white over the surface it is partly tempered but not mixed enough so areas are not done and the fat blooms to the surface. If you want to test put a small amount on the corner of some baking paper or spread thinly on the counter and check it sets up at room temperature.

  10. Hi ann, how long can I keep moulded tempered chocolate?

    • Hi Saanisa, if the chocolate is kept in a cool dark airtight container it should keep for some 4-6 weeks. If your chocolate has other fresh ingredients added, then it will generally ned to be consumed within the time period suitable to prevent the ingredient from spoiling.

      • Rating: 5

        Thank you

        Much appreciated

  11. Hi Ann, I was wondering if I could use a fondue pot for melting the chocolate and for keeping it warm while I work the molds. I have tried the tabling method and it is a ton of fun but the chocolate cools to quickly. I don’t own a microwave and thought the fondue pot might work but I am afraid of overheating and having to retemper. What are your thoughts? Thanks for everything, keep up the awesome videos

    • Hi Luis, Ann thinks that using a fondue pot will definitely lead to overheating. You can’t really control the temperature.

    • i did exactly the same thing and my chocolate just set creamy and soft so wouldn’t recommend it

  12. what about if we want to make chocolate cheesecake or brownie or something like that, can we use compound chocolate instead of real chocolate? will it make a huge different aside from its taste

    • Hi Fitri, in a cake it shouldn’t make a lot of difference. If it is in something that melts in your mouth like a c cheesecake you might notice the flavor is not as chocolatey.

  13. Where do you get the freeze dried cocoa powder

    • Hi Barbara, Ann provides a link to a supplier in the recipe.

  14. I am having grating issues with my chocolate. I noticed your food processor grated the chocolate without an issue. Mine made it a melted mess. Did you start with cold chocolate? Any particular amount as well?

    • Hi Amy, It is best to use chocolate that has been chilled so it is quite firm and do it in small batches. If your equipment gets hot and the heat comes into contact with the chocolate, it will soften. Processors vary so experiment to see what works best with your machine.

      • Thank you!

  15. Sorry I have another question
    I don’t have frozen cacao butter. Can I just grate cacao butter to temper my chocolate?

  16. Hello and thank you for your videos.
    My chocolate doesn’t harden. I put it in the fridge then it hardened but as soon as I took it out it melted.
    What’s the problem?

    • It sounds like the chocolate is not in temper. If it is not in temper, you can harden it in the fridge, but it will soft at room temperature.

    • Hi Flo, That would suggest that the chocolate isn’t tempered properly.

  17. Hi Ann,

    When I melt chocolate in the microwave, it gets too lumpy and if I microwave it more, it would start to get hard. Do you you know what’s happening?

    • Hi Mimi, it sounds like you are over heating and burning the chocolate. I know after the first 30 seconds it looks like it’s not melted and so often people chuck it in for another 30 seconds and then another. But really you want 30 sec stir, 20 sec stir then 10 sec bursts only.

  18. Which taste Fake/ real chocolate????

    • Real chocolate always tastes better Aysha.

  19. Rating: 5

    I love your blog, your you tube channel and all of it. You make things so simple and are an inspiration. Could you please help and teach us how to make sugar free chocolates? I’d like to make some for my grandmother who is diabetic. Thanks for everything.

  20. What is the difference uses between fake chocolate and real chocolate?


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