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Discussion Forum

Topic: question on Merckens chips vs. store brand
Ginger9708 10/14/2009 8:56 AM
Is it worth buying these online vs. getting the Wiltons chips or Make n mold from A.C. Moore? I had bought one chocolate & one vanilla from A.C. Moore (they tasted ok) and green & red (Wilton Brand which i didnt try yet) and thought they were ok for my kids to use on their christmas pops for the holidays.

I will also be making the covered pretzels & dipped oreos using the molds which will be my little project and want the best possible result since i may give these as gifts. Would you recommend i buy the Merckens online for those or should i could temper the real chocolate such as Dove brand which is my favorite. The money isnt really a factor i just want a great smooth taste.
I havent tried Merckens but hear everyone speak highly of them. It would be around $25 or $26 for 5 pounds which includes shipping.

Any info you can give me on your experiences would be appreciated.
Jcollazo 10/14/2009 9:14 AM
In my opinion, the Merckens brands is very good. Much better than Wilton and Make no Mold. They melt more smoothly. I have used Wilton and Make no Mold melts. With Wilton and make n mold, I have had to add shortening or oil to thin them out. Plus I think the flavor of the Merckens is better. Is there a cake supplier near you? If there is, sometimes, they will let you sample a wafer. You will notice a difference in flavor. Good Luck.
HomeTown Baker 10/14/2009 9:20 AM
You'd probably do better using the bars (or blocks) than the chips, since chips have a different formulation that affects how they do or don't melt. Look for brands that are 60-70% cocoa.

Since cost is not an issue to you, my favorite chocolate brands to work with are; Valrhona, Callebaut, and Guittard. I usually get these at Whole Foods.

A thermometer is necessary!!! Any really accurate instant-read would work.

If you want beautiful chocolates without bloom, you have to temper the chocolate you use. Chocolate is actually crystals, and when you melt it, they go askew and that gets you bloom. You need to bring it to a specific temperature for the crystals to realign properly so the chocolate regains its sheen and "snap." Just melting it isn't enough (this I know from experience: I made the UGLIEST chocolate-dipped cookies once, using chips and only melting). The easiest way to temper chocolate, called "seeding" is to melt the amount you'll need; melt to no more than 120 degrees F for dark chocolate or 110 for milk or white. Then stir in one-quarter as much (chopped) until it's all melted. Keep stirring until the temperature falls to 85 degrees F for dark chocolate, and to 83 for milk or white chocolate.

To make the candies (pops), chill the molds, pour in the chocolate, let it set briefly, then turn the molds over to drain out the excess. Then turn them back upright to finish setting. The chocolate should set fine at room temp (well, not if it's really HOT in the room, of course) and chilling is only if you want to rush the project. Chilling can make the chocolate more brittle though.

To cover the cookies and pretzels you can use a ganache of equal parts of chocolate and cream.

I hope this helps!
Ginger9708 10/14/2009 2:55 PM
thanks hometownbaker! One question is there a reason for using the cream with the bar chocolates for ganache? Will this make it less rich?
bunnywoman 10/14/2009 7:32 PM
I love the taste of Merkens. Nice rich flavor and they melt very well.

For my dipped Oreos......I use almond bark. Works wonderfully!!!!
LavenderLily16 10/14/2009 8:41 PM
Technically, the little Dove candies are already tempered, and if you don't melt them past a certain point, they wouldn't need to be re-tempered. (Microwave until they're *just barely* melted - still holding their shape - then stir until the residual heat melts them the rest of the way.) It's tough to get it just right, though. I've done molded chocolates this way (with the Dove candies, actually!) and they came out looking okay, but the texture was a little off. Maybe you can add some shortening to the Dove?
Ginger9708 10/15/2009 8:02 AM
thanks lavenderlilly! Ok that explains it. The year before last i had melted the dove chocolate and had piped them onto cookies and it came out great. Last year i dont know why but i had added shortening and that was a big mistake because they came out streaky.