Have you ever tried to coat something in chocolate, like strawberries, nuts, bananas, homemade truffles, etc. only to find that what looked pretty and shiny directly after it was dipped, while the chocolate was still wet, ended up looking rather dull and streaky once the chocolate had solidified? Speaking of solidifying, it probably seemed like that darn chocolate would never harden if you didn’t put it into the refrigerator or freezer didn’t it? Well the reason you had this trouble is because you did not temper the chocolate.
Tempering chocolate is not all that difficult in practice. It is simply a matter of heating the chocolate to a certain temperature, cooling it to a certain temperature, and then heating it again to a certain temperature. The scariest part of this process to most people is the precision required. How on Earth are you supposed to keep track of exact temperatures? How difficult is it to hit these temperatures without screwing it all up? This job does require one piece of special equipment. A thermometer. Once you have one, the tempering process really is quite easy. You do have to hit certain temperatures (usually give or take a degree) but this, you will find, is easier than you think. In fact if you temper chocolate a lot you can develop a feel for the the process and can even learn to do it without a thermometer. Until then though, go get a thermometer. Most people opt for a candy thermometer and this would be my suggestion as they would typically be pretty accurate, but I actually use a digital meat thermometer, which is not all that accurate, and I do just fine.
Click here for more: http://thecookinggeek.com/tempering-chocolate/
If you temper chocolate regularly or just want to get perfect results without the hassle, you may want to consider investing in a chocolate tempering machine!
Compare machines here: http://www.chocolatetemperingmachines.com/compare/chocolate-tempering-machines