Sometimes following the package instructions just doesn’t cut it! Case in point: candy melts can be tricky, frustrating, and irritating!
I am going to try to help make candy melts a little bit easier to use by giving you a few tips and tricks that I have learned through trial and error. Hopefully these tips will make your life a little easier!
First, what are candy melts?
Candy melts are made of sugar, milk solids, vegetable oils, flavorings and colors. In addition, chocolate candy melts have cocoa powder added. Candy melts are also referred to as confectionery coating or summer coating. They act a lot like chocolate but do not require tempering like pure chocolate does.
Candy melts are made by many companies and vary a lot in quality and price.
For our purposes, we are going to use Wilton and Merckens since they are the easiest to get ahold of and the most widely used. Candy melts come in many colors which can be combined and melted together.
We are going to make pink melted candy melts today, by adding a little bit of red to a bag of white candy melts. We are also going to use the microwave to melt them, as I find this is the easiest way to melt them.
A few tips to know before getting started
- Get to know your microwave- only heat your candy melts at 30-50% power, not any higher than that!
- Colored candy melts are very concentrated, you don’t need tons of colored disks to get a bright color. Add them to white candy melts to get the color you desire.
- Be very patient while warming your candy melts and plan for them to take about 20-40 minutes to be melted properly.
- You can easily get the candy melts too hot; they will get thicker and clumpier the hotter they get.
- It goes against everything we know about chocolate, but sometimes letting candy melts sit and cool will help more than stirring them.
- It is easier to melt more candy melts at once rather than less.
- Fresh candy melts seem to work better than candy melts that have been stored for a while (3+ months).
Melting candy melts
Place your candy melts in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in the microwave for 1 minute at 50% power.
Stir. They won’t look melted, but that is okay, stir anyway. Place back in Microwave for 30 seconds at 50% power.
Stir again. It will still be thick, but stir well for about a minute. Place back in the microwave for another 30 seconds at 50% power.
Stir again for about 1-2 minutes, then check the temperature on your candy melts. They should not be warmer than your body temperature. If they are warmer, just set down the bowl and let them sit for a few minutes to cool off. There still may be clumps, which is okay, just walk away and let it sit for a few minutes. I know it is hard to do, but it is best.
After a few minutes try stirring again and you will find the clumps are melting and it will be getting thinner.
If the candy melts are cooler than your body temperature place it back in the microwave for 20 seconds at 30% power. Stir, then check the temperature again. Repeat until you have nicely melted candy melts!
Sometimes candy melts do not cooperate the way we want them to. Rather than thinning out and becoming smooth, they clump or have “elephant skin” like the candy melts below.
Shortening to the rescue! If you find your candy melts are too thick, add a spoonful of shortening.
The shortening will be clumpy at first, but once it is stirred in, let it sit for a few minutes. The warm candy melts will melt the shortening, which will in turn thin out the candy melts. It is a beautiful circle! If after about 5 minutes the clumps are still not gone, heat the candy melts in the microwave for another 20 seconds at 20% power.
Now you have thin and beautiful candy coating, just waiting to be turned into modeling chocolate or cake pops, or anything else you can imagine!