I have several recipes that call for gulf wax food grade paraffin - are they serious? I'm sure I eat it all the time on cheaper chocolates but is it really OK to eat? Is there an alternative?
I use food grade paraffin in chocolate candies regularly during various holidays. It was quite common for my mother to use it for sealing jam and jelly jars when I was a kid and we used to chew it when she opened the jar (just to get some of the jam/jelly flavor - kinda like chewing gum). Also, although I haven't seen it for a very long time, holiday novelty treats (especially those prepared for Halloween) have historically been made with food grade paraffin (chewable) wax.
A lot of home cooks use paraffin rather than try to temper the chocolate for dipping. It dries shiny and hard much like well paraffin.
I even saw Paula Deen do it once. There are times when I am glad I own a tempering machine.
Oh, todao, I remember wearing and eating red wax lips but then I remember eating candy cigarettes and bubble gum cigars.
A chocolate tempering machine is around $300 - $400. That's a lot for a device that you use maybe once a month. There are hand tempering methods. Look them up and practice a couple of times. Another method is to start with tempered chocolate. If it is in bar form it is almost certainly tempered. Just barely melt about half of it in the microwave. Use 30 second shots at 60% power and keep stirring. When it is melted, take it out and add the other half and stir it in. Start dipping quickly. You can keep it melted a little longer by putting it in a metal bowl and wrapping a heating pad around the bowl.
You can use rockycats idea with candy melts. The trade refers to that as summer coating. They work. You can buy the stuff at the grocery stores too. They call it bark. Anyway, some summer coatings are pretty good if they are made from a known chocolate maker. It has had the cocoa butter replaced with palm oil that is more stable.
re: Hank Hanover
Yes, Hank. Those were the good old days. I always favored licorice. Anything licorice, real licorice, gets my vote even today.
While we're reminiscing, do you remember those little molded glass figurines (cars, animals, etc.) filled with tiny hard cardamom candies? Had to tear the cardboard seal off the bottom to release the candy. Wish I'd collected a bunch of those.
For Deb's question:
Getting back fo paraffin, "I always find it in the canning section but am not sure how to use it!"
When using it with chocolate it can be included with the chopped chocolate pieces and melted along with the chocolate. But most recipes call for melting the wax first, then adding the chocolate. It takes very little wax to accomplish the goal. Too much was makes for hard and unpleasant bite.
I'ts important to use only food grade paraffin. Make sure the package specifies the grade.
All that said, your creations will always be better using tempered chocolate and omitting the wax.
Here's a link that may help:
One thing I disagree with in the linked post is "...insert the top pot (of the double boiler) into the bottom one so that it is barely touching the water."
I prefer to keep the water below the top of the double boiler for better control of the heat.
I have an old family candy recipe that calls for paraffin. The recipe goes back at least two generations, maybe more. Another relative pencilled in that she uses the candy wafers that Wilton sells rather than use paraffin. Even though I do have a chocolate temperer for this recipe I use the candy melts. They don't really taste all that good but there are so many other ingredients in this particular recipe that the chocolate does not have to shine.
If the chocolate is supposed to be the star I would go to the bother of tempering. If not, go the easy route and buy the candy wafers at Michael's or some other such store. Btw, I think the "dark chocolate" version tastes less bad than the others.