Properly tempered chocolate appears shiny and smooth, and is ideal for dipping or decorative purposes. The act of tempering chocolate causes the cocoa butter to break down and suspend evenly in the chocolate. This prevents the white bloom that appears on chocolate when it's exposed to temperature changes. Always use high quality chocolate when tempering to produce the best possible product. With the right technique, you can temper your chocolate to create a deep, glossy shine.
Cut the chocolate with a knife into small pieces.
Fill the saucepan halfway with water, and place it on the stove over medium heat.
Place half of the chocolate into the bowl, and set the bowl over the saucepan when the water is hot, not boiling. Adjust the heat if necessary to prevent the water from boiling or simmering.
Stir the chocolate constantly with a spoon until it melts. Check the temperature of the chocolate with the thermometer. For dark chocolate, the temperature should be 115 degrees Fahrenheit. For milk or white, the temperature should be 110 degrees.
Remove the bowl from the heat carefully using a towel. Dry the bowl to make sure no water comes into contact with the chocolate.
Stir the chocolate with a spatula, and add small amounts of the reserved chocolate while stirring constantly until it melts. Add more and keep stirring until all of the chocolate is smooth and melted.
Check the temperature of the chocolate. For dark, it should be 90 degrees. For white or milk chocolate, it should be 88 degrees. Test the tempered chocolate for hardness and shine by dipping a clean, dry spoon into the chocolate and placing it in the refrigerator for about five minutes.
Maintain the temperature of the chocolate over the saucepan, and stir it as needed to keep it smooth while working. The temperature should range between 88 and 92 degrees.
Tempering chocolate requires patience and constant stirring. If the chocolate isn't glossy enough, stir the chocolate longer and test it again.
Dip fruits, nuts, marshmallows or pretzels into tempered chocolate. Experiment with different combinations.
Keep water and moisture away from the chocolate. It prevents the chocolate from tempering and setting properly.