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Help! My chocolate has seized: Part 1: Burnt Chocolate

Burnt chocolate can be a frustrating experience for any chocolate lover. It can turn your delicious and indulgent dessert into a bitter, smoky mess. However, the good news is that burnt chocolate doesn't have to be the end of the world. With a few tricks and tips, you can still salvage your dish and enjoy a tasty chocolate treat.
Help! My chocolate has seized: Part 1: Burnt Chocolate

Who doesn't love chocolate? It's one of the most delicious treats out there, but things can quickly go downhill if you end up burning it. We've all been there - you're trying to melt some chocolate, and then you get distracted watching adorable cat videos on your social media feed. Before you know it, your house smells like a bonfire.

In this post, we'll chat about why chocolate burns, what temperature it burns at, how to prevent it, and what you can do with burnt chocolate. 

Burnt chocolate in a bowl


So, why does chocolate burn? Well, it's all because of its delicate composition of solid, fat, (sometimes) milk, and sugar. Here are the three main reasons chocolate will burn:

ONE: Too high of a temperature

If you are using high heat, you are going to speed up the whole melting process. By doing so, you also increase the chances of your chocolate overheating and becoming a thick, lumpy mess. 

If you are one to get tasks done in record time, it is doable. You will just need to stand nearby the chocolate and stir regularly. If the chocolate sits in one spot for too long, you may run into issues.

TWO: A lack of stirring 

If you have your chocolate melting on even the lowest of settings but choose not to stir in regular intervals, it will eventually burn. For this reason, we like to set a  timer so we are reminded to check on the chocolate.

THREE: Too long of a time on a heat source

You can stir as often as you like, but if you are not mindful of the time the chocolate is on a heat source, you are going to have some burnt chocolate on your hands. When it is near or just melted, remove from heat.


Cocoa butter portioned out in a glass jar


If you are dealing with dark chocolate, it is very likely that the cocoa solids are responsible for burning. Especially if your dark chocolate is solely made with cocoa solids, cocoa butter and a form of sweetener. The cocoa butter has such a high burning point it isn't the cause of concern.  

If you are melting milk or white chocolate, the milk powder is most likely to be the culprit, as its burning point is far lower than cocoa butter or cocoa solids.


At what temperature does chocolate burn? It depends. Let me explain.

If you are using dark chocolate, chances are there is no milk powder listed as an ingredient. If this is the case, your dark chocolate can withstand higher temperatures before burning. Anything above 150°F (65°C) is a cause for concern so aim to get it off the heat source well before then.

If you are using milk or white chocolate then your burning point is lower due to the presence of milk powder - around 130°F to 140°F (54°C to 60°C), which is far lower than the boiling point of water. So, be sure to keep an eye on your chocolate when you're heating it up.



Let's be honest, sometimes things don't go as planned, and your chocolate still ends up burning. What can you do with burnt chocolate? Well, you can try straining it through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any burnt bits, and adding a bit of cream or butter can help it become smoother and more spreadable. This chocolate is best used in baking such as your favourite brownie recipe, rather than as a chocolate bar.


Brownie made using burnt chocolate


So, there you have it! Now you're all set to make sure your chocolate stays delicious and doesn't burn. But hey, if it does, don't worry - there are still ways to save it and make something extra special.

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