Real Chocolate vs. Chocolate Coatings

Although Merckens chocolate and coatings (called confectionery or summer coating) may look similar, they are different.

Coatings do not contain cocoa butter; but rather, the cocoa butter has been substituted with vegetable fat. For candymaking, this means that coating and chocolate must be handled differently.

  • Coatings need only be slowly melted to a temperature of 90-110F before molding or dipping. This can be done in the microwave.
  • Chocolate, due to the cocoa butter, requires more painstaking preparation. When chocolate is melted and then cooled, the cocoa butter may re-crystallize in two different forms, called alpha and beta. The alpha form is unstable and will rise to the surface of the chocolate, resulting in unattractive, grayish-white streaks (called "bloom"). To get the desired beta form requires careful melting and conditioning by the process called "tempering".
  • Briefly, tempering is accomplished by carefully melting most of the chocolate to be used, then adding a small amount of grated or chopped solid chocolate in order to "seed" the mixture with beta crystals. You may use the double boiler method or chocolate tempering machine. Any book or video on working with chocolate should explain this process in greater detail. A tempering thermometer would be useful so that you can monitor that chocolate is between 88°F - 100°F.