What is the difference between tempered and untempered chocolate?
If you walk into a candy store and glance into the case and see those beautiful shiny truffles staring back at you...those are made with tempered chocolate.
Tempered chocolate hardens to a glossy and firm finish. Tempered chocolate sets quickly at room temperature. Tempered chocolate has a snap when you bite into it and has a smooth mouth feel.
Untempered chocolate dries slowly, it does not harden fully and it has a dull blotchy finish. Many times it will have white streaks or spots called "bloom". Untempered chocolate has a soft and chalky mouth feel and it melts easily.
Tempered chocolate looks better and has a longer shelf life than untempered chocolate. Tempered chocolate melts at a higher temperature than untempered chocolate, so it holds its luster and shape longer at room temperature (and won't melt quickly in your fingers).
Tempered chocolate also shrinks as it sets, so it will release easily when using molds (untempered chocolate will be difficult to remove from molds).
If you want your chocolates to make a good impression, you want to use tempered chocolate.
Note: Most commercial chocolates are already tempered, but once you melt the chocolate it is no longer in temper (it is now untempered chocolate). Simply melting chocolate, dipping your items, and letting it harden does NOT temper the chocolate. Chocolate needs to be melted and tempered to get a glossy firm finish!