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. Rating: 5

    Instead of grating the chocolate, can you finely chop it? I don’t have a food processor and I am paranoid about using a grater.

  2. Rating: 4

    Hi, Ann.Can I use raw cocoa butter instead of freeze dried cocoa butter to temper my chocolate. Is that the same?

  3. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann can you melt chocolate in a ceramic bowl?

  4. Rating: 5

    Hello Ann,
    First of all, I love your videos. Secondly, where could I get “fake chocolate”?

  5. Rating: 5

    I will be back next

  6. Rating: 3

    Hi ,I had melted some compound chocolate and let it set in room temperature . lastly it had firm but why it didn’t be hard like yours ?

  7. Rating: 4.5

    Hi, I’m Glory from Nigeria. I have seen a lot of your videos. Here, it’s quite difficult to get chocolate. We often get cocoa powder. It’s not as scarce and expensive as chocolate bars. Can chocolate be made from cocoa powder?

    • Rating: 2.5

      Chocolate can’t be made from cocoa powder alone, you’ll also need cocoa butter, powdered milk and sugar. Unfortunately even with those ingredients your chocolate bar won’t taste as good as professional bars because the texture will be grainy instead of smooth. This is because professional chocolate makers grind their ingredients for hours and hours until the ingredients are small enough to give a smooth texture and sadly this is impossible to replicate at home.

  8. Rating: 4.5

    I melt my chocolate double boiler, then add grated chocolate and grated cocoabutter and let it come down yi rhe required temp then I bring it back up to the recommended temp to use it my prob is if I have more than one mold to fill I find the chocolate gets thick on me.can I warm it up again or will I knock it out of temper????

  9. Rating: 5

    Hello! I would like to make chocolate truffles this week and put them in the freezer until Christmas. Will that work? When I thaw them will they be covered in condensation? Will that ruin the chocolate? Thanks!

  10. Rating: 5

    Why do I get small dark spots on my cooled chocolate?

  11. Rating: 5

    What is a good source for chocolate?

  12. Rating: 5

    If you are trying to keep chocolate in temper, can you use a porcelain bowl?

  13. Rating: 5

    It needs temper the chocolate if itā€™s contain cocoa powder or real chocolate?

  14. Rating: 5

    I finally was successful in tempering chocolate recently, but now I’m having trouble keeping the chocolate from thickening up as it cools as I work with it. I thought of putting it in a squeeze bottle and placing that in a temperature controlled water bath, but I don’t have any appliance that will keep the chocolate below 90F. The closest thing is my Instant Pot on the lowest yogurt temperature. It would keep the water at about 93F. Any suggestions?

    • I’ve never thought of using a water bath but I like that idea – an aquarium heater might be perfect as they are pretty accurate for the fish and not very pricey, just look for one with varying temperatures.

  15. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann,
    I was wondering if you can use the tabling method on wood or metal. I also do not know if chocolate is hard to clean or if it comes of easily. By the way, you make really good videos and your recipes help me a lot.
    Thank you,

  16. Rating: 5

    Hello Miss Anne!
    I have a few questions about the cocoa butter I would use to temper chocolate. Could I use ANY cocoa butter? Or is there some kinds that shouldn’t be eaten? Does it matter HOW it’s put into the chocolate as long as it dissolves? What brands of cocoa butter do you use–the one you have linked isn’t currently available.
    Thank you!

  17. Rating: 5

    Hi Ann,

    When you temper chocolate with freeze-dried cocoa butter, why do you not use regular cocoa butter? Does it specifically need to be free dried cocoa powder?

    • Hi Daniel, you can use any cocoa butter as long as it is in temper. Obviously if it is not in temper it won’t encourage the rest of the chocolate to form the right crystal structure. Also the freeze dried is in tiny bits so it is easy to sprinkle and add in.

  18. Rating: 4

    I tried tempering 300g of milk chocolate with the freeze dried coco power and it hasn’t worked. I melted it in the microwave in a glass bowl and used a candy thermometer to get it to 36C and then added 1.5 teaspoons of the coco powder. I was wondering if the glass bowl would have effected it, or did i not add enough of the coco powder?
    also is there a temperature the chocolate cannot go over when melting for this method of tempering?

    • Hi Emily, Just to confirm are you using freeze dried cocoa butter (white) or cocoa powder (brown)?

      • the freeze dried cocoa butter, the white one

        • Hi Emily, Great sounds like you’ve got the right thing. This is the method I use every time I temper chocolate because it is so easy – so definitely persist. If it is not tempering the chocolate for you there are two possibilities – one it’s being added when the chocolate is too cold – in that case you’d see the white dots in your chocolate once it sets and you slice through it. Or 2, adding it when the chocolate is too hot – it will completely melt the cocoa butter crystals out of temper so it doesn’t influence the rest of the chocolate to form the right crystals. In that case the chocolate won’t set well. Here’s another video that shows the same process in more detail

  19. Rating: 5

    Is it possible to temper a mixture of milk and dark chocolate together? I love the in between taste. If possible, what temps do I need to reach for best results?

    • Hi Lori, I’ve not experimented with that but I assume it’s possible. Tempering is just getting the cocoa butter to set in the right way and they both have cocoa butter. Try using the freeze dried cocoa powder method.

    • It should be possible to temper a mixture of chocolates but it will affect the temperature you can not go beyond before losing temper. Using the temperatures given in Ann’s video 32C of 100% dark chocolate will decrease with the amount of milk chocolate you add. It may take some experimentation but I would guess that a 50/50 mix of milk and dark would have the ideal tempering temperature at 31. This will get closer to 30C the more milk chocolate you add and closer to 32C with more dark.

      I will admit I have no experience in making tempered chocolate (yet!) but have some chemistry background so if I am wrong apologies.

  20. Rating: 5

    Thank you so much for this post, I can now finally temper chocolate

    • Awesome, glad it helped tash ?

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