Fill bottom saucepan of your bain marie with 1 cup water. Bring to a simmer over low heat. Place bain marie insert in the sauce pan and add chocolate. Steam from the bottom sauce pan will heat the bain marie allowing the chocolate to slowly melt. Stir occasionally until the chocolate is melted. Remove bain marie from the saucepan and use melted chocolate for your recipe.
Makeshift Double Boiler Method
In a medium sauce pan, bring 1 cup of water to simmering over low heat. Place a glass bowl (metal works too, but use an oven mitt) on top of the pot so it rests above the simmering water, but doesn't touch it.
Place chocolate chips in the bowl and allow the steam to heat the bowl and melt the chocolate. Stir occasionally until the chocolate chips are melted. Once melted, remove the bowl from the pot and use the melted chocolate for your recipe.
Place chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Place the bowl in the microwave and heat for 1 minute at 50% power level. Stir the chocolate and return it to the microwave. Heat again at 50% power level for 20 second intervals, stopping to stir every 20 seconds. Once melted, remove the bowl from the microwave and use for your recipe.
Reheating melted chocolate: If your chocolate hardens after you melted it, return it to the pot of simmering water and allow it to melt once again. You can also return the bowl to the microwave and heat it in 20 second intervals at 50% power level.Tips for melting chocolate:
You can also use baking chocolate squares. Chop it up into uniform pieces to guarantee even melting.
Never add water to melted chocolate. The chocolate will seize up and you will no longer be able to work with it.
If you need to thin out melted chocolate, add a tablespoon of shortening for every one cup chocolate.
Suggested tools for melting chocolate:
Double boiler or bain marie - This handy kitchen tool makes melting chocolate a breeze! Seriously, you'll never burn chocolate again thanks to the ceramic bottom. This works well for making custards and delicate sauces too. Available on Sur la Table and Amazon.
Medium saucepan and glass bowl - Use both of these to make a makeshift double boiler. The glass bowl works for the microwave method too.
Dipping tools - These tools help for dipping truffles and candy into melted chocolate.