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Aug 5, 2002 05:00 PM

Melting White Chocolate Chips

  • d

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 |

    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.