Tips for working with chocolate

Tips for working with chocolate

Using chocolate in the kitchen can be quite intimidating. Use these tips when working with chocolate and remember to have fun! 

What is chocolate?

The two main components of the processed cocoa bean are cocoa butter and cocoa solids. Cocoa solids are responsible for the dark, rich flavour. Cocoa butter is partly responsible for the smooth texture.


Understand percentages

Percentages basically indicate how much chocolate versus sugar is in each bar of chocolate. The higher the percentage, the less sugar.

Melting chocolate

Chocolate melts at between 40-45°C. Chop chocolate finely and to the same size pieces for quick and even melting. Chocolate can be melted in the microwave for about 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. If melting in a double boiler (bowl set over simmering water), lift the bowl occasionally and feel the base – you should be able to hold it in your hands without burning. Don’t allow the water to touch the base of the bowl. Make sure you don’t get any moisture into the chocolate. Melt until there are a few pieces of chocolate left – the remaining heat in the melted chocolate will melt this.


Do not allow chocolate (or your tools) to come in contact with steam, water, or any moisture. A small amount of moisture will seize the chocolate.


Use clean and dry knives, cutting boards and cutlery. Glass and stainless steel are best as they won’t give off odours like wood.

Saving seized chocolate

Remove from the heat. Stir in 5ml sunflower oil at a time until smooth. You won’t want to use it for dipping, but you can use it when baking brownies, cakes or cookies.


Nolwazi Dhlamini

About Margie Els-burger

Food Editor at Your Family - Margie Els-Burger won the 2018 Avo Ambassador as well as the Galliova Egg Champion. She also walked away with the 2019 ‘Galliova Food Writer of the year’ award! She is a sweet-oholic and equally loves exotic salts. Her superpower is raiding the fridge to whip up (and use up!) easy meals. If she’s not busy cooking up a storm and making food look pretty, you’ll find her out searching for new (and old!) restaurant gems - or hiding with a tin of caramel treat.


Send this to a friend