Most of us love chocolate and during the holidays we are usually making something with chocolate. The semi-sweet, bittersweet, and unsweetened chocolate are all different and you should use the type of chocolate called for in a recipe. The unsweetened chocolate or baking chocolate is very bitter and milk chocolate is used in candy bars, but it is not used very often in cooking.
Melting chocolate can be a bit tricky. It is easy to melt, but it is also easy to ruin it. If it gets to hot it will scorch and it tastes very bitter. Since you are melting the chocolate over water, be careful that you do not get any water in the chocolate. Do not cover the pan because drops of water may form and drop into the chocolate. If water gets in the chocolate, the cocoa butter and the cocoa powder will separate. If it separates, you can try and add a teaspoon to a tablespoon of solid vegetable shortening, or vegetable oil, to the saucepan and stir it well and see if the chocolate goes back together.
If you have a Farberware Classic Series 2-Quart Saucepan with Double Boiler Insert and Lid,
put water in the bottom and bring the water to a simmer on your stove top. The water should not touch the pan that fits on the top of your double boiler. Add your chocolate into the top pan and stir the chocolate constantly until it is melted. If you break up the pieces into smaller pieces, it will melt faster.
If you do not have a double boiler, you can take a larger pan and put water in the bottom pan and set a smaller pan inside of it. Be careful not to splash the water because you do not want to get water into the chocolate.
Chocolate can also be melted in the microwave like the Panasonic NN-SD697S 1300-Watt 1-1/5-Cubic-Foot Stainless-Steel Microwave Oven. Put the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and use medium power for about 30 seconds, rotate the bowl, and microwave for another 30 seconds. The chocolate will not be liquid, but it will be shiny and soft to the touch. Stir the chocolate. If the chocolate is not melted, return the chocolate to the microwave for 15-second intervals until the chocolate is melted.
You have to use the melted chocolate right away. You can keep it warm for a short time by sitting the bowl or pan over warm water, but it is best used right away.