By Bobbi Burger Brunoehler of BobbisBargains.
I make hundreds of chocolate-dipped pretzels and candies each year as presents, saving me many hundreds of dollars. Because I make handmade candies, I can be very generous in my gift giving and participate in food swaps. A new tool has made my gift-giving process significantly quicker (and time is money).
I have always used my microwave to melt chocolate. In fact, melting chocolate was one of the few reasons I owned a microwave. But melting large quantities of chocolates in a microwave is not very efficient and it lessens the flavor of the chocolate. I was on the lookout for a used double boiler because I certainly didn’t want to pay retail.
Last week, I was at my local farmer’s market and, ta-da, there was a gently-used double boiler waiting for me to buy it for $15. Now, having acquired this new kitchen tool, I was inspired to make a triple batch of my famous chocolate covered cookie dough balls.
I couldn’t believe how beautifully the chocolate melted. The taste was more intense. The texture was creamier. It was much, much easier to dip the cookie dough balls into the chocolate. It cut my preparation time by more than half! Oh yes, I am a double boiler convert.
A double boiler is two pots fitted snugly together. The lower pot has an inch or two of water that you bring to a boil. Water changes from a liquid to a vapor at 212F. The steam heats the top pot, creating the best method for melting chocolate, making delicate sauces or warming milk, which burns easily.
What if you don’t have a double boiler? Make your own.
- Use a standard pot for the bottom of your double boiler.
- Get a slightly smaller pot or an oven proof bowl for the top.
- You want the top pot or bowl to fit snugly into the bottom pot without touching the bottom. You need room for water to boil. Only steam should hit the bottom of the top pot.
- Make sure you put in enough water that it won’t all evaporate. Otherwise you will burn the bottom pot AND the ingredients in the top.
- Make sure that water does not get into your top pot. Especially if you are melting chocolate. Water in melting chocolate ruins the chocolate. It turns grainy.
What else can you do with a double boiler? I found this amazing list of over a hundred double boiler recipes. Included in this list are recipes for bread pudding, perfect alfredo, frozen vanilla custard, and holly wreath Christmas candy. Is anyone else in love with their double boiler?