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Old 10-14-2005, 01:09 PM   #1
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Having a problem with chocolate covered strawberries.

argh. i make chocolate covered strawberries all the time. usually i take a bag of semi sweet chocolate chips, a pat of butter, melt them on low heat in a pan, wash some strawberries, pat them dry, and dip em. works every time. so this time i have this 10 lb bar of milk chocolate that i chopped some small chunks off of... same procedure. the chocolate immediately turned grainy, like it does if you accidentally get water in the mix... but i there was no water. it never really melted either, went straight from solid to a sort of fudge consistancy. what gives? i tried it again, same thing. is it that the chocolate is milk and not semisweet? the bar is of high quality, so that should not be an issue. very frustrated here, i have a dinner party tonight and i picked chocolate strawberries because they are so easy! any tips?

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Old 10-14-2005, 01:41 PM   #2
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Sorry you had such a bad experience! Do you think there was some residue in the pot from the last thing you used it for? Maybe the burner heat was higher than you intended? I've also had that problem when I try to microwave chocolate to melt it--I know some people swear by that method but I've never had good luck with it (I have a very basic, cheap microwave) so I stick with the traditional double boiler method. Was there any moisture on the chocolate (if it had been refrigerated perhaps)?

Hopefully Michael in FtW will see this post. He should have some solutions!
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Old 10-14-2005, 02:43 PM   #3
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Av-Did you use the Ghirdelli (sp?) 10 pound semisweet bar? That is what I have and I have dipped strawberries, though I think I did add a little corn syrup. Not sure why, the recipe called for it.

I have experienced same thing you have, but I can't seem to remember if it was when I used the 10 pound bar or chocolate chips or something else. For the longest time, I thought it was just that I didn't know how to melt properly.

Can this happen if heat is too high? Or somethine else to do w/ temp?
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Old 10-14-2005, 02:49 PM   #4
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its guittard chocolate (my dad works there, lucky me!) i have only had this happen when i didnt dry the strawberries well enough.... a bit of water got in the mix and after dipping a few berries the chocolate turned grainy. this time i hadnt even dipped yet... i never even got to melted. the pan was dry... i suspect the chocolate. just sent my other half out to pick up a bag of semi sweet chips and i will try again. lol, if that doesnt work then i must be doing something wrong!
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Old 10-14-2005, 03:32 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyAvocado
its guittard chocolate (my dad works there, lucky me!)
Yes, you are very lucky!

I forgot to mention in my last post that I have used milk chocolate before without problems.

Hope you have better luck the second time around!
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Old 10-14-2005, 03:33 PM   #6
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PA Baker is putting way too much faith in me for this one!

We need Audeo here - this is her area, not mine!

Okay - the milk chocolate block you have is already tempered - so all you need to do is melt it, cool it, and then reheat it (basic tempering procedure). For milk chocolate - only heat it up to about 114-118 F (a couple of degrees lower than semi-sweet) while stirring. Add chips/shavings/bits of room temp chocolate, while stirring, until it comes down to 80-F, then reheat to 85-86 F - then dip away. Shirley Corriher devotes several pages to this in her book CookWise - more than I can post here.

But - just for grins - try it again and don't add butter to the chocolate. One drop of water will cause chocolate to get grainey - and butter is 19% water!

We had a thread on tempering chocolate not too long ago ... here.

And - I have just told you everything I know about chocolate.
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Old 10-14-2005, 04:25 PM   #7
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great, thanks for the tips. off to read those threads, and i will try leaving out the butter... i was taught to use butter when making this, but if there is one thing that i have learned in cooking its that there are about a million ways to do everything!
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Old 10-14-2005, 07:37 PM   #8
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I think Michael's right - between the water content of the butter, and milk chocolate being a little fussier when melting, you've got your culprits!
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Old 10-14-2005, 08:43 PM   #9
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i used semi sweet chips, no butter, and they came out beautifully. i also did some frozen bannanas on sticks dipped in chocolate with chopped walnuts. im going to try again some day with the milk chocolate without butter. thanks for the help.
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Old 10-15-2005, 07:53 AM   #10
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Remember milk chocolate melts at a lower temp than semi or bittersweet.


You might also want to try the microwave method of melting the chocolate, especially the milk - I do it all the time!
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