3 lbs. chocolate Note: Go for a chocolate that you really love the taste of and stay away from those choco-buttons in party shops! They are often not even chocolate!

1200 watt microwave
Large tempered glass bowl
1 silicon spatula
Candy thermometer, if you have it, if not you can use a meat thermometer
Hammer or a knife


1. Chop chocolate into chunks, roughly, 1-2 inches each. Note: I prefer a good whack with a hammer, but to each his own on that one.
2. Toss 2/3 of the chunks in a thick tempered glass bowl (this helps with even temperature distribution), reserving 1/3 for seeding.
3. Put the bowl in the microwave and set it for one minute. When it’s done, take it out and check to see if there are any hot spots forming, or any melting occurring. If so, take you silicon spatula, and stir.
4. Place back into the microwave for another minute, and out again to stir, until chocolate has reached a mostly liquid form. Note: It’s best to go in increments like this, as chocolate has a tendency to burn. A little careful watching, though, and you’ll be fine.
5. When chocolate has reached a primarily liquid state, place it on the counter, and begin to “seed” the hot chocolate with the reserved chunks, stirring all the while. Note: The term "seeding" simply means to add cold chocolate to hot liquid chocolate while agitating. Stir until chocolate chunks are completely dissolved, then add some more. Repeat this process until your seeding chocolate has been used up.
6. As you stir, you should notice the temperature of the chocolate begin to cool by feeling the side of the bowl. Keep seeding and stirring until the chocolate feels cooler than your skin temperature. The desired temp is between 88-89 degrees. The rule of thumb is that you should be able to put your finger in the chocolate and it should be slightly cooler than your finger. If you don\'t feel comfortable with that method, grab your meat thermometer, and stir until chocolate reaches about 87-88 degrees. Remember, cool to the touch is best.

Recipe courtesy of Hallie Baker, Turtle Alley Chocolates, 2009
Most people shudder at the thought of hand tempering chocolate. With a little attention to detail and patience, it is ultimately no more difficult than anything else one attempts in the kitchen. Really!

When tempering chocolate, technique is important, but equally as important is the atmosphere in which the tempering goes on. Chocolate doesn't like heat or humidity. It's happiest in a dry, cool environment. Bearing this in mind, let your kitchen cool down if you have been cranking the oven all day, or get the AC going. Better yet, temper chocolate in the cool of the morning, or in the cooler months.

Lastly, remember that if a stab at chocolate tempering does not succeed, you can always go out and get more chocolate, heat up the failed temper, and re-seed until you get it right. The proportions for tempering are simple: 2/3 hot chocolate to 1/3 seeding chocolate.
Tempering Chocolate
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