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Melting White Chocolate Chips

  • d
  • Deenso Aug 5, 2002 05:00 PM

I have a recipe for peppermint brownies that involves pouring on a semisweet chocolate glaze, then drizzling with melted white chocolate - which is then feathered by dragging a toothpick through it. I have no problem with the concept, but I've had trouble melting the Ghiradelli white chocolate chips I've been trying to use.

The directions for melting the chips are to put them in a double boiler, set over gently simmering water, making sure the bottom of the insert isn't touching the water, and stir frequently until the chips melt. Each time I try this (and I've tried several times), the chocolate seems to start melting, then seizes into a huge clump. I tried reducing the heat under the pot and eventually got the white chocolate to soften up again, but never have been able to get it to the point where I could actually *drizzle* it over the chocolate glaze.

Can anyone tell me what I'm doing wrong?

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  1. c
    Caitlin McGrath

    I have an alternate suggestion: use your microwave. I never melt chocolate on the stove anymore, unless I'm in my mother's kitchen, which lacks a microwave.

    Put the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and nuke it on a medium-power setting for 15-30 seconds at a time, checking it each time. Then whisk it smooth.

    Personally, I've always found that chips don't melt as smoothly as chocolate in bulk or in bars.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

      Don't try melting white chocolate in the microwave - while it is the method of choice for all other chocolates it will seize up the white chocolate instantly.

      With white chocolate you have to
      cut into small slithers or pieces
      melt in bain marie (double boiler)
      stir constantly
      make sure that no steam or water escapes from the
      double boiler

      Using a good quality white chocolate (like calabaut) can help or else use a cheap couveture like the discs they sell in that horrible place in Manhattan (NY Baking Co) They are made to melt so it is almost never a problem (even come in multitude of colors).

      1. re: tigerwoman

        sorry tigerwoman, but respectfully, you are wrong. the microwave works beautifully for white chocolate. using a glass measuring cup will make it easier to see the contents. use your lowest setting in small bursts, whisking after each. if your only intention is to drizzle decoratively, you might add a very small amount of neutral tasting oil (or mineral oil) to it. this'll make it melt more smoothly and, unlike water, will not seize up.i cant tell you how much, as you didnt specify how much you are melting. start with a teaspoon for a small amount of chocolate. i'll only reluctantly second the idea to use fake white chocolate. for decoration, yes (you might still try the microwave plus oil). for any other purpose use the real thing. other posters are right on about chips being formulated specifically so they DONT melt in a cookie, so your best bet is a bar rather than chips. but chips will melt as i suggested above, i do it all the time.hope this helps. joan

        1. re: joan

          Every cookbook I've looked at says DO NOT melt White Chocolate in the microwave.
          Even a quick google search comes up with the same answers.
          This about sums it up...

          "Most cookbooks and cooking professionals discourage you from melting white chocolate in the microwave. If the microwave is your only option, heat the chocolate in very short increments. Place your chopped white chocolate into a microwave-safe bowl. Put the uncovered bowl into the microwave and heat for 20 seconds. Stir the chocolate well and heat for additional increments of 20 seconds until the chocolate is nearly melted, stirring after each interval. Remove the bowl and stir well---the heat from the bowl will finish melting the chocolate."

          Read more: How to Melt White Chocolate | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_4867552_melt-...

    2. I have had this problem many times. When heating the chocolate over a double boiler, stir it constantly and don't let the chocolate get too hot(only about 110F-115F). White chocolate will clump together if it gets too hot.

      1. Are you sure your chips are "pure" white chocolate? I recall using Ghirardelli semi-sweet chips in a recipe with hugely disappointing results, only to find (after reading the ingredients) that there was a bunch of other gunk added. The extra gunk will surely prevent the chocolate from melting smoothly. Try using Callebaut or even Lindt white chocolate bars.

        Also, I don't know about white chocolate, but with milk or dark ANY amount of water (one teeny-tiny little drop) will cause the whole mass to seize.

        1. p
          Peter Hertzmann

          Your problem may be that one (or both) of two things. First, if you get water into chocolate when it is melting it can seize. This is an unrecoverable state. Second, baking chips, such as you are using, are designed to melt at a higher temperature than the type of white chocolate required for what you want to do. This is necessary so the chips hold some of their shape when baked into a cookie. As others have suggested, use a white chocolate coverture such as Callebaut makes. It will melt nicely over 100°F water, off the heat. Don't let the white chocolate go above 110°F. Chop it into small pieces for melting and don't stir it too much or it will be full of air bubbles.

          1. I have a lot of experience with chocolate, I go through 10-15Kg each Christmas making truffles as gifts (Valhrona and El Rey), so here goes.

            White chocolate isn't real chocolate, however, that's a technical point. White chocolate burns at 110 while dark and milk burn at 120. You may be getting it too hot. Always melt in a double boiler (I'm assuming you wouldn't be asking this question if you had a tempering machine.) White, milk or dark will seize with the tiniest amount of water added (even steam).

            White, milk or dark will go out of temper (the cocoa butter molecules go independent, they're no longer team players) if melted and cooled. If you have ever seen chocolate with a white haze on it, making the texture crumbly, this is chocolate out of temper. Unless combined with something else, or brought back into temper, real chocolate shouldn't be melted and then used. So my suggestion is to use 'fake' chocolate like the Merkens disks. It tastes like chocolate (plenty good for brownies, cakes, etc.. decorations), but can be melted and used without tempering. If in doubt go to a baking supply store and ask if the chocolate needs tempering. If they say yes, find another package until they say no. It is also cheaper then real chocolate.

            Good luck!

            PS - Coveture is dark chocolate with a very high percentage of cocoa (70%+) and is used to enrobe truffle centers or cover other candies. Its advantage is that it can cover in a very thin layer. Coveture as it has been used in these threads is chocolate used to cover other stuff and I've seen the term used similarly before. I only mention this because if you go to a place that sells good chocolate and ask for coveture, you could wind up with some excellent chocolate, but not what you need.

            1. My first attempt at melting white chocolate chips in the microwave, failed. I put too many in the bowl and cooked it too long, not in 15 minute increments, instead I went by 1 min increments. I tried it again but this time I checked and stirred every 15 secs. I only put half the bag in at one time. On the 4th 15 sec increment, it finally melted somewhat. I stirred it until it all melted together. I used it to coat cookies. I would say that the melted chips took about 15 mins before it started to harden. P.S. I tried using a pot of water with another pot (with chips in second pot) of chips floating in it (no double boiler) for about 10 minutes. Chips were still hard.

              1. It sounds like you may have gotten water into the chocolate. It only needs a drop to ball up like that.

                I melt white chocolate in the microwave but I do it carefully. Short bursts at fairly low power. Also it won't look like it has melted. The only hint will be it jiggles a tiny bit so stir fairly often.

                The double boiler works too. Most people recommend that technique.

                Unlike, good bar white chocolate, chips have stabilizers in them to help prevent them from melting in say ..chocolate chip cookies. That may have contributed to your difficulty melting them.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Hank Hanover

                  After reading through this thread, i successfully melted small Whole Foods 365 white chocolate chunks in a microwave. i did 1.5 ounces, covered, at 20, 20, 35 seconds, level 4. no worries. added it to hot heavy cream and then added green tea powder( experimenting with cookie filling). Couldn't believe how horrible sweet the white choc is. Gross. Took aLOT of green tea powder to overcome that cloying sweetness- 2- 2.5 teaspoons!

                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                    Yeah.. white chocolate is pretty sweet. I'm having a hard time imagining it mixed with green tea powder but... as long as you're happy.

                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                      I used to dislike white chocolate too because of the cloying sweetness you mention, until I came across one I really like. It's made by Felchlin, a Swiss company. It may be hard to find, and is expensive, but is well worth it. They also make really good dark chocolate, from different countries and cocoa percentages.

                      1. re: souschef

                        thx so much. that is sooo helpful as i am experimenting with it as we speak. I''ll look for felchlin

                  2. I, too, have been 'experimenting' lately with the white chocolate chips and the microwave. I have found that a small ceramic ramikin and 1/4c chips with a small teaspoon full of vegetable shortening/oil put into the microwave (mine is 1100watts) on POWER LEVEL 4 works best. I check & stir every 20seconds and it takes between 2-3 minutes til it gets thin enough to drizzle over popcorn. The ramikin holds a bit of heat and helps the meting. One 20 seconds too many and it will seize up. I still have to use a tiny infant-sized spoon to make it drizzle over the popcorn. I think I saw the info about adding veggie oil on the Ghirardelli website somewhere. I haven't done it with any chocolate but white, as I don't care for any other.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: mooksmom

                      I add virgin coconut oil, because I think its flavor blends nicely with the white chocolate.

                      I have not tried this with white chocolate, but have read a recommendation to use the warming plate of a drip coffee-maker to melt chocolate that has been placed in acovered metal or glass bowl.

                      1. re: greygarious

                        Alton Brown swears you can melt them with a bowl wrapped in a heating pad and if you can keep the temperature down below about 98 - 99° F, you have a pretty good chance of keeping the temper that was originally in the chocolate.

                        1. re: greygarious

                          YUMMMMMM! The virgin coconut oil sounds perfect! I will try it soon...thanks! I was talking to someone about this in a kitchen specialty shop and they told me to use mineral oil. It is tasteless and harmless to the human body. I haven't had time to try it, but I think that I WILL try the coconut oil 1st and bet it will work just great!

                          1. re: mooksmom

                            Remember VCO's properties, so that they don't work against whatever you are making.
                            It liquefies above 78 degrees F. At lower room temp, it is as firm as refrigerated butter. Refrigerated, it is as firm as frozen butter.

                        2. re: mooksmom

                          In South America, pouring sweetened condensed milk over popcorn is popular. I have never tried it but the white chocolate sounds pretty close.

                          1. re: Hank Hanover

                            OH my! the sweetened condensed milk over popcorn sounds interesting. I will have to try a bowl of that soon. I've gotten the microwave and white chocolate down to an art! If I get busy or the phone rings and I go over 1minute increments of heat, even at power level 5, the white chocolate will freeze up from too much heat. It IS still edible but not as good when not on popcorn. I also made it once with Andes mint chocolate pieces and that was yummy, also! I had some canola oil to use up, so I've been using it and it helps melt and thins the white chocolate and allows EZ drizzling.

                            1. re: mooksmom

                              Natural virgin coconut oil, which melts at 78F, is good for thinning any kind of chocolate and if, like me, you like coconut, the tiny bit of flavor it adds is a plus,

                            2. re: Hank Hanover

                              As is pouring sweetened condensed milk over shaved ice. Yuck.

                          2. I can't for the life of me find the post about using the coveted Trader Joe's white chocolate chips.
                            They were touted as being so much better than other brands for flavor, not coating tongue as much as whatever. Anyway, tired of looking for that thread and sorry for being off topic here.
                            But..................Trader Joe's white chocolate chips are only available around the holidays if at all.
                            not all TJ's have them every year, mine for instance got none this past season.
                            so I couldn't use to make the office manager her cookies.
                            sorry but had to add that.

                            now about melting, my Dracula Eyeballs call for melting white chocolate for the eyeball look and no matter what, I have problems and the eyeballs are mis or mal shaped due to weird melting and how long it stays melted before hardening.
                            even the white chocolate discs at Michael's do the same thing for me. :(

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: iL Divo

                              I live near Boston and saw the white cc's in my TJ's last week. I'll probably go there again the last week of March and would be happy to get some for you if they still have them. My contact info is on my profile.

                              1. re: greygarious

                                gregarious, very kind of you.
                                can you tell me city of your TJ?
                                I'll call them and see if they can send a couple of pkgs to my TJ or directly to me. it doesn't hurt to ask.
                                thanks Gregarious

                                1. re: iL Divo

                                  Burlington MA 781-273-2310 They also have a regional office in Needham MA 781-433-0234 - they might perhaps be able to help you.

                                  1. re: greygarious

                                    hi gregarious, thank you so much for that info.
                                    your store no longer has any. > I asked Carrie (who answered) and when I thanked her and said I'd call corporate-she seemed puzzled.
                                    I called corporate (the linked phone number is no longer valid) but I was able to google them. talked to the lady at customer relations who told me no stores will get them anymore. they've been discontinued company wide.
                                    waaaah.
                                    thank you for trying for me. my husband had surgery this morning and I'm lying by his side=thinks I'm nuts for being this crazed by a desire for white chocolate chips. "men" ;:~\

                            2. Since I've discovered the chocolate melting pot marketed by Wilton's and sold not only on their site but at any locations that sell their cake decorating supplies, I haven't looked back as far as melting chocolate. In fact, I only have only one now but eventually want to own several by the holidays when I start to do gift baking and decorating. It has a melting temperature and then you can set it for hold. It's perfect for not only melting the chocolate but keeping it at the perfect temperature for dipping and other uses. I usually use the weekly coupons at both AC Moore and Michael's Craft Store to purchase items like this. (I'm a tightwad, I never pay full price for anything over $10 anymore at these stores.) Just checkout their websites for their coupons and sign up to receive them weekly. There's not cost to do this and each store will accept the other store's coupons (one good thing about capitalism and competition).