Merckens Confectionary Chocolates
What is Confectionary Chocolate?
Merckens chocolates are not actually chocolate, they do however melt like chocolate, hence the name. According to the Food and Drug Administration, chocolate must contain both coco butter and chocolate liquor, and Merckens chocolates use vegetable fats. Confectionary chocolate is the term used for this type of easy melting vegetable fat candy that is used to make rich candy coatings.
Benefits of Merckens Chocolates
The benefit to using confectionary chocolate over regular chocolate in general is ease of use; confectionary chocolate melts easier, is more tolerant of heat, and requires no tempering. Merckens chocolates in particular offer vibrant colors of melting chocolates as well as classic white, milk, and dark chocolate varieties; Merckens chocolates do not use any paraffin wax, which makes them taste better than other brands but lowers their heat tolerance.
Using Merckens Chocolates
Merckens Chocolates are sold in wafer form for easier melting and are available in a rainbow of colors; most varieties are vanilla flavored though some are available pre-flavored and would be indicated on the package. Melting the wafers is easy, there are two basic methods to melt them; the first is to use a double boiler and the second is to use a microwave or hotplate. A double boiler is two pans the bottom filled with boiling water set over medium heat to keep it simmering, and the second nest into the first, if there is no such pan available, a glass or metal bowl which will fit on the top of the pan, without touching the bottom works great too.
To melt using the double boiler, place the Merckens chocolate wafers into top pan/bowl and allow to gently melt, stirring occasionally until smooth. To use the microwave, simply place the wafers into a microwave safe bowl, glass works better than plastic, microwave on high heat for 15-20 second intervals stirring each time until completely melted and smooth. It is very important not to over cook, as this will cause the sugar to crystallize causing a grainy texture. If some chocolate is accidentally over cooked do not add more chocolate, start over, there is no saving over cooked chocolate.
There are several applications for Merckens chocolate; it is perfect for candy coating, for making molded candies, and for making molded pops. Because the wafers are usually vanilla flavored, oils may be added to enhance flavor; be careful with flavorings not to use any that contain water, and to only use a few drops at a time until the proper taste is achieved. The easiest way to candy coat objects is to simply use existing foods such as cake pieces or pretzels and dip them into the melted chocolate. Making molded candies and pops is exactly the same with the exception that the pops require a stick; molds should always be clean and dry prior to use, never put in a dishwasher, the residue can stay in the detailed crevasses of the molds design.
After melting the Merckens chocolate pieces spoon the chocolate into the molds filling nearly up to the top, tap the molds gently on the work surface to release any air bubbles; (if making pops now is the time to add the stick) finish filling the mold, place in refrigerator or freezer until set (20 max for freezer 40 max for refrigerator) once molds are set, they should release easily. If the candy doesn’t release from the mold they may not be done cooling, cool longer and try again. Do not use any oils or cooking sprays, as they will ruin the consistency of the chocolate. Store the candy at around 60-66 degrees Fahrenheit in an air tight container.