If you love chocolate and you do nothing else, read this article. Mattie at Veganbaking.net did us all a great favor, here. Really. Read it all (that means read and click the link at the end). Really.
How to Temper Chocolate
My love affair with chocolate comes from many things: The smell of rich cocoa that fills your nostrils upon opening a box of chocolate; the numerous shapes and sizes and the way the light reflects off their glossy angles; the fillings that lurk within certain chocolates, waiting to be discovered; the snap when you bite into it, sending a shockwave throughout your mouth that signifies that the rush of chocolate flavor has been unleashed to your senses. This telltale snap is like a magician quickly withdrawing a velvet cloak, exposing the magic below.
Fascinated by this experience, long ago I set out to make my own chocolate bonbons with good quality store bought baking chocolate. I’d melt the chocolate and use it to coat some fillings and everything would be great. I could pack them up for Mom and she would be astounded when she learned that I had done this all myself.There was only one little problem though.
Once I had given a full day for good measure, to give the chocolate a chance to solidify around the fillings, I grabbed a bonbon to survey it. Surprisingly, they weren’t as glossy as the ones I was trying to replicate from the professional chocolatier. They had more of a flat, blemished appearance with a mysterious white powder that I don’t remember dusting them with. Then I took a bite. Astounded would be the proper word to describe what I was feeling, but not in the way I had hoped. There was no snap and the chocolate crumbled and gave way like a landslide, filling my mouth with chocolate dust that turned from a sandy consistency, into a strange gum before finally melting away. The lack of the snap was like the magician was tripping and falling flat on his face before even getting up to the stage to do the trick.
It turns out that in the chocolate world, there is a difference between solidifying the right way and solidifying the wrong way.