Chocolate derives from the cacao tree. The tree's beans are fermented, dried, cleaned and roasted. The shells of the beans are removed to expose the cacao nibs, and then the nibs are ground to make the chocolate. Chocolate chips were not invented until the 1930s, when they were first used to make chocolate chip cookies. Chocolate chips can be melted to add to desserts and to make sauces. The melting process must be done carefully to keep the chocolate smooth and soft.
Pour the chocolate chips into a microwave-safe bowl.
Reduce the power on the microwave to 50 percent. This will prevent scorching or burning the chocolate chips. If you cannot reduce the power, microwave the chocolate chips in shorter intervals, such as 15- to 30-second increments.
Microwave the chocolate chips in one-minute increments. Stir the chocolate chips between each increment, and continue to microwave them until almost all of the chocolate chips have melted.
Stir the chocolate chips until they have a smooth and shiny texture. Place the microwave-safe bowl in a baking dish filled with warm water, or place the bowl on a heating pad turned to a low setting.
Create a double boiler to melt the chocolate chips. Fill a saucepan halfway with water, and place a glass bowl over the saucepan so that it fits snugly. Do not allow the bottom of the bowl to touch the water in the saucepan.
Place the double boiler over low heat on the stove top. When the water simmers, turn off the stove and pour the chocolate chips into the bowl. Do not allow the water to boil. If any form of water comes in contact with the chocolate, seizing may occur. When chocolate seizes, it becomes hard and grainy and nearly impossible to melt to a smooth texture.
Melt the chocolate chips in small batches. Once the first small batch melts, you can add more chocolate chips. Stir the chocolate chips as they melt. You may need to turn on the stove again and simmer the water if the chocolate no longer appears to be melting.
Remove the bowl from the saucepan when almost all the chocolate melts. Stir the chocolate chips until they have a smooth and shiny texture. Place the bowl in a pan of warm water or on a heating pad so that the chocolate remains soft.
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Angela LaFollette holds a Bachelor of Arts in advertising with a minor in political science from Marshall University. LaFollette found her passion for writing during an internship as a reporter for "The West Virginia Standard" in 2007. She has more than six years of writing experience and specializes in topics in garden and pets.