What is the reason for adding shortening (such as Crisco) when melting chocolate for making chocolate dipped cookies? I make Ritz peanut butter cracker-like sandwiches and am always concerned about adding the shortening. I appreciate your answers, thank you.
By Joan from Praireville, LA
Shortening has a lower melting point than chocolate, especially dark, semi-sweet, and is also a lot softer and much cheaper.
Because the shortening melts quicker, it will help to distribute the heat more evenly to the chocolate, without getting any parts of it so hot that they "turn". You don't have to be anywhere near as precise and fast as with pure chocolate.
You can use butter instead of shortening, but not a low melting point margarine.
Shortening or butter make it a bit messier on the fingers, but you can reduce that and give it a nicer gloss by adding a touch of lecithin cooking spray and a bit of bees wax.
I just took a chocolate class and we added vegetable oil to our chocolate. Its a way to cheat so you don't have to temper the chocolate. Tempering chocolate ensures that your chocolate rehardens and doesn't have that dull look.
I don't know why, I just follow the recipe directions. But I use regular peanut butter instead of shortening. You can't really taste it once it is mixed but it does give it a richer flavor.
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