Melting Chocolate 101

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After years, literally, of watching him suffer over burnt chocolate, I finally piped up last night as I watched my husband scar another batch of his beloved all-purpose dessert topping in an innocent little pot on the open flame.

As cute as he is stirring away and mouthing off in his French Chef accent as the boiling charred bits fly onto his sleeves and he licks them off gleefully, I wanted to gently share a little technique in the hopes of broadening his horizons.

The key is using a double boiler. This doesn't mean some fancy new kitchen item has to be bought. Any heatproof bowl such as stainless steel or glass will do, just nestle it over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl.

To melt chocolate of any variety, chop it into small pieces, if it isn't already (as in chocolate chips), and place it in the bowl, stirring over the simmering water until almost entirely melted. Be sure not to let any water splash into the bowl, otherwise the chocolate will "seize" and your result will not be very nice.

As for my little French Chef, it was too late in last night's case, to rescue the chocolate sauce, but I'm hanging onto hope for next time. Given his sweet tooth, tonight could be my lucky night.


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Sara Kate is the founding editor of The Kitchn. She co-founded the site in 2005 and has since written three cookbooks. She is most recently the co-author of The Kitchn Cookbook, to be published in October 2014 by Clarkson Potter.