The Do's and Don'ts of Coating Chocolate for Strawberry Dipping and Candies

by Natalie Madison

I'm curious...what got you interested in making chocolates and treats? For me, it was sitting at my Grandmother's kitchen table helping her create chocolates in plastic molds. We made shaped solid chocolates, filled chocolates, buckeyes, turtles, and cherry cordials. My FAVORITE part was when she let me splatter colored chocolate into the molds first. ​​​​​​​​

​Hehehe...probably not as pretty as the ones pictured here, but I remember thinking they were BEAUTIFUL! ​​​​​​​​

Here is what I've learned over the years in regards to working with Candy Coating Chocolate.

Not all Coating Chocolate is created equal.  How to get rid of the waxy texture of Coating Chocolate.

I was always a little disappointed in candy melts. What I didn't realize was that my experience had only included cheaper confectionery coating chocolates that contained waxy ingredients designed to help it melt, but that did nothing for texture or flavor.

My opinion? Wax doesn't belong in chocolate.

we prefer coating chocolate that does not contain wax

After a bit of searching, I found two brands in the US that I love.  Both have been around longer than I've been alive, so they must be doing something right!  If you're looking for quality melting chocolate that doesn't have a waxy feel but is still budget conscious, then you'll love Clasen or Merckens. You'll find these wafers do NOT have the waxy feeling of other lower priced confectionery coatings.

Confectionery Coating is Easy - Melt, Pour, Tap, Chill!

Confectionery coating is the perfect chocolate for dipping strawberries or candied apples or for making candies and chocolates in molds because all you have to do is melt it. No tempering required. 

You should still use a candy thermometer when melting Coating Chocolates.​​​​

Confectionery coating chocolate is formulated to skip the step of tempering but it IS HEAT SENSITIVE.

keep coating chocolate between 98 and 102 degrees and use a thermometer

Melt on very low heat to a temperature between 98 and 102 degrees for smooth chocolate ready to pour or dip. If it gets too warm, coating chocolate will suddenly THICKEN. 😱​​​​​​​​
Don't worry though...Paramount Crystals can fix it!​​​​​​​​
All it takes is a few flakes.


"There's something wrong with my chocolate!!" Paramount Crystals SAVE THE DAY!

🦸 If your coating chocolate gets above 102-105 degrees you'll notice it begins to thicken, not loosen up and melt!!!

But, don't throw it away! Add a few flakes of Paramount Crystals (the flakes contain the shortenings that make up coating chocolate) to the mixture and melt and stir it in to thin it down. Continue adding Paramount Crystals a little at a time until you reach the desired consistency.
paramount crystals are used to thin down coating chocolate

Avoid steam or water when melting your chocolate.

Coating chocolate can be melted in the microwave or over a double boiler.

Heat gently until 2/3 of the way melted. Then remove from heat and stir, using the residual heat in the bowl to continue melting the coating chocolate.​​​​​​​​

Prevent steam and water from getting into chocolate. Just a tiny bit of water will cause your chocolate to seize up and become chalky.​​​​​​​​
Uggghhh! 🤦

heat chocolate low and slow

What should you do if the chocolate seizes?​​​​​​

​​​​Already happened? Deep breath! Turn it into ganache instead!

I think it's happened at least once to all of us...that little bit of steam condenses on the melting chocolate and BOOOOM! It suddenly becomes so thick you can barely stir it. And when it cools and sets, it has the worst chalky texture.​​​​​​​​
Chocolate, even Coating Chocolate, is expensive! Don't toss it. Convert it to Ganache instead!​​​​​​​​

seized chocolate can be turned into ganache perfect for cake drip
I personally like to use coconut cream/milk to make my ganache because it adds a little fat and creaminess to the mix. Liz over at the Sugar Geek has a great WATER ganache recipe. Yes, you heard right...water.​​​​​​​​
The trick? Add enough water to go from seize to ganache. Liz explains that the ratio is about 6:1, 6 parts chocolate to 1 part water, or 1 pound of chocolate to about 2.75 ounces of water.​​​​​​​​
Coconut cream has a shelf life of about 5-7 days at room temperature, but water ganache can keep for a lot longer. So turn that that Seized Chocolate into Ganache. And save it for a future project!​​​​​​​​

Eew, is that mold on the chocolate?

Is that MOLD on my Chocolate??? NOPE! Safe to say it is not. THAT greyish white coating is Fat Bloom! It is still perfectly good. It will taste amazing and perform the same. Bloom happens when the chocolate gets a little warm and the fats rise to the surface. Those fats will melt right back into the chocolate.​​​​​​​​

That is not mold on your chocolate, it is sugar bloom
Sugar Blooming, another form of "dusty" film, can also occur in humid conditions. Again, melting the chocolate will cause the sugar to be reabsorbed.​​​​​​​​
Sometimes the white marks are simply scuff marks that are caused during shipping and bagging. Don't toss that chocolate out. Heat it and use it!​​​​​​​​

Extreme Fat Blooming is actually quite pretty, isn't it? This is a layer of melted chocolate on a sheet pan that got too warm. The fat deposits rose to the surface in uneven patterns. It is pretty...but probably NOT the desired effect for your candies and chocolates. Be sure to stay in the 102 degree safe zone when working with your coating chocolates, never higher, to prevent fat blooming once the chocolate sets.

How do you flavor or color coating chocolate?

"Is it safe to flavor and color Coating Chocolate?" Yes, but only if you use oil based products. Choose oil based candy colorings or fat soluble dry powders to change the color of your chocolate. And when adding flavor, use concentrated oil based flavors instead of water based extracts. We recommend LorAnn Oils.​​​​​​​​

oil based coloring for chocolate by artisan accents


What do you do if chocolate is too thick to drizzle?

Have you ever melted confectionery coating chocolate to dip your strawberries or pretzels, only to find that it's so thick that it gobs on instead of forming a delicate thin layer?​​​​​​​​
The confectionery coating can be saved and thinned to a beautiful dipping, drizzling, and streaming consistency.​​​​​​​​
Add Paramount Crystals to candy coating to help thin it!​​​​​​​​

use paramount crystals to thin coating chocolate to make drizzle

Unlike other shortenings, Paramount Crystals are the same oils used IN the Coating Chocolate. So it retains that crisp "snap" to the chocolate. Other shortenings soften the chocolate and you lose that desired "snap"!​​​​​​​​

When should you NOT use Paramount Crystals?

​​​​​​​​The ONE item that I don't use Paramount Crystals in? Cake pops! Paramount Crystals strengthen confectionery coating and makes it firmer and snappier. Normally, this is a desired trait.

But, this means that chocolate containing Paramount does NOT expand - not even a smidge. As your cake pop filling batter warms to room temperature, it expands.  If the chocolate can't stretch a little, you coating chocolate shell may crack. ​​​​​​​​
In this ONE instance, I use Coconut Oil to smooth chocolate for cake pops. It's a firm oil that "gives or moves" just enough as the cake expands, yet it's firm enough at room temperature to ensure that your pops set up nicely​​​ and aren't tacky to the touch.

we don't use paramount in chocolate for cake pops

How can you get the high shine on basic Coating Chocolates?

One of the things I miss about using tempered chocolate (the real stuff) is that beautiful shine when the chocolates are popped out of the molds.  Confectionery Coating Chocolates are always just a bit more matte finish.

But you CAN achieve a high shine.  I use 2 products: PME Clear Glaze Spray or Poppy Paints Super Shine. Love them both! Super Shine leaves an almost glossy varnish finish. PME is a more subtle shine.

use confectionery glaze to get a high shine on coating chocolate


I think that finishes up most of my Confectionery Coating Choc Tips and Tricks. I'm sure I've missed some things.

  1. If you want high quality results, choose a high quality chocolate.
  2. No, that isn't mold.  That film is probably sugar bloom or fat bloom.  Don't toss it.
  3. Melt low and slow.​​​​​​​​
  4. Like gremlins...don't get water in it.​​​​​​​​
  5. If you do get water in it, turn it into ganache.​​​​​​​​
  6. Keep it at 98 to 102 degrees Fahrenheit and use a thermometer.​​​​​​​​
  7. If it gets too hot and thickens, add paramount crystals​​​​ to save it and thin it.​
  8. But don't use paramount crystals for cake pops.​​​​​​​​
  9. Need to thin the coating chocolate more for drizzle and decoration? Add more paramount.
  10. Use only oil based colors and flavorings.​​​​​​​​
  11. Make it shine with PME Clear Glaze Spray or Poppy Paint's Super Shine.​​​​​​​​

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