1 to 2lbschocolate, dark, semisweet, milk, or white, see Recipe Notes
Chop the chocolate into small pieces using a serrated knife. Set aside ¼ for seeding the chocolate later.
Melt ¾ of the chocolate. see the Recipe Notes on methods. Use a digital thermometer to make sure the melted chocolate doesn’t go over 122°F (50ºC) for dark and semisweet chocolate or 113°F (45ºC) for milk and white chocolate.
Once the chocolate is melted, add the reserved chocolate, a bit at a time, and stir until the chocolate cools to 82 to 84°F (28 to 29°C) for dark and semisweet chocolate or 79 to 81ºF (26 to 27ºC) for milk and white chocolate. When the chocolate reaches the correct temperature. it’s ready for use for dipped your treats.
Keep the chocolate in the correct holding temperature range: 88 to 91°F (31 to 33°C) for dark and semisweet chocolate or 84 to 86ºF (28 to 30ºC) for milk and white chocolate. This requires a bit of ingenuity, so see the Recipe Notes for some ideas. Check your temperature occasionally to be sure you’re still within range.
You might be tempted to use chocolate chips instead of chopping a block chocolate but try to avoid that impulse. Many types of chocolate chips have ingredients (stabilizers and preservatives) that interfere with tempering. Best to stick with high quality baking chocolate and leave the chips in the pantry this time.To melt your chocolate, you have a choice of how to go about it. Whichever method you choose, be careful not to heat the chocolate above 122°F or it will burn.
Use a microwave-safe bowl and melt in 20 to 30 second bursts at half powder until the chocolate is almost melted. Remove from the microwave and stir until the chocolate is completely melted.
Use a pan set above 1-inch of simmering water, being careful that the bottom isn't sitting in the water itself and being careful that no water gets in the chocolate.
Use a tempering machine like a KitchenAid Precise Heat Mixing Bowl set to 120°F. Remove the bowl from the machine once the chocolate is mostly melted and stir until it's completely melted.
To hold your chocolate at the correct temperature, there are numerous ways to go. Whatever method you choose, always check the chocolate's temperature with a digital thermometer to ensure you don't go above 91°F. Otherwise, you're out of temper and have to start again. Here are a few ideas:
Use a double boiler or a short burst at half powder in the microwave (maybe 15 to 20 seconds) to warm the chocolate
Place your bowl on a regular heating pad turned to low/medium heat and covered with a dish towel