The Easiest Way To Melt Chocolate For Endless Chocolate-Covered Treats

Photo: Courtesy of Food52.
For the safety of your chocolate, bring your hair dryer out of the bathroom and into the kitchen.

Okay, let me step back. I’m on record as preferring the water bath for melting chocolate, but others opt for a double boiler or use a microwave. Any way you do it, you must avoid contact with moisture and excessive heat. New cooks are often daunted by this task; experienced cooks find it a chore. Here’s another way that’s clean, quick, and safe, with no water baths, double boilers, microwaves, or stove tops involved — only a hot tool better known for keeping your flyaways in check. 

Photo: Courtesy of Food52.
Here's how to melt chocolate with a hair dryer:
Make sure your hands, cutting board, knife, spatula, and bowl are completely dry. Chop or break the chocolate into pieces — no need to chop finely — and put them in the bowl. Hold a hair dryer eight to 10 inches from the chocolate, pointing it straight down into the bowl. Turn it on and move it around to warm the chocolate, stirring from time to time, until the chocolate is melted and smooth.

I don’t think more needs to be said. Couldn’t be easier.

P.S. This is terrific way to whip up dessert in a dorm room. 
Photo: Courtesy of Food52.
So, you've got some melted chocolate. Now what? Try this easy and adorable recipe, even if you're your own Valentine this year.

Chocolate-Coated Lavender Caramels
Makes 28 1-inch caramels

3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp full-fat milk
1 cup lavender sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 tbsp water
1/4 cup golden syrup (or corn syrup)
1 cup 56% dark chocolate, melted

For The Lavender Sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp fresh or dried lavender (with or without stems)

For The Lavender Sugar
1. Layer lavender with sugar in a clean jar.

2. Close the lid tightly and shake jar a couple of times to release oils.

3. Let stand for 1 day. Can last for up to a year if stored correctly.      

For The Candies
1. Line and butter 6-by-6-inch square baking pan and set aside. 

2. Sift the lavender sugar into a saucepan using a large mesh sieve or fine colander. Don't worry if some of the lavender falls through.

3. Clip a candy thermometer to the saucepan. Add cream, milk, brown sugar, salt, butter, syrup, and water and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.

4. Whisk constantly so that the mixture doesn't burn, until the caramel reaches 246° F (25 minutes), just above the soft ball stage.

5. Remove from heat and pour into lined dish. Tap the pan to help smooth the top, set aside to cool for 15 minutes, and then place in the fridge for 1 hour.

6. Immerse your knife in boiling water to make cutting easier. Cut the caramels.

7. Place melted chocolate in a glass and drop the caramels in the chocolate to coat. Gently pick up the caramels with a fork, sprinkle with lavender, and place on parchment to cool.

8. Store in an airtight container for up to 10 days.


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