I am planning on making shortbread cookies to give out around Xmas. I would like to dip half of them in chocolate, but have heard that the chocolate will not harden properly without adding some baker's wax or paraffin. Are these my only options? I have also heard about adding some shortening - would this work?
i amke a gingeres shortbread and I simply melt good quality 70% dark bittersweet chocolate and drizzle it over the cookies. It always hardens because it has not been cut with anything. If you were to add cream or some other liquid it would soften the chocolate and it would not set firmly.
my most popular cookies are Mocha Java swirls, a coffee walnut shortbread, piped out,baked and dipped halfway in choc. i have alw used 1/2 sweet butter, 1/2 bittersweet choc.and they freeze, defrost and store just fine. no melty yucky unless they were in the hot sun.
i would NOT use parafin; no need. i also think pure choc is both wasted $ and too hard. the 'ganache' i use is strong choco flavor, but with some give to it instead of hard brittle chocolate covering a cookie.
Adding wax is an old candy makers trick, and yes it does help. However, it is just candle wax no matter what the store calls it, and it has never been proved to be safe. In fact, it is illegal to add candle wax (paraffin, or whatever) to food for human consumption, although I doubt it will cause any real problems, since confectioners use to do it all time.
Just melt the chocolate and go ahead and dip, just make sure you do not heat too much or you will burn the chocolate. This will cause the chocolate to melt slightly in your hands as you hold it while eating it. Note that if you try to save it serve the next day, the chocolate will probably bloom; looks nasty, but actually the taste is not affected. Better to serve it as soon as the chocolate dries out.
If this is a problem, use 'confectionery coating' or 'summer coating'. In fact, this is really fake chocolate, but with the cookie and all, I doubt anyone will notice. With these fake coatings, the 'chocolate' will remain hard and dry even if you hold it in your warm hand, and it will not bloom.
I usually just melt chocolate chips (Ghirardelli, semi or the darker ones) and I haven't had any problems.