Sweet colorful goodies that melt and shape into whatever you want them to be! Candy melts are to bakers what watercolor is to painters. They also bring a splash of color and life to goodies like cookies, cake pops, doughnuts, and other molded sweet treats. I love using them as edible decorations to match the theme of my favorite desserts. I used candy melts to make my adorable Heart-Shaped Brownies, Starbucks Cake Pops, and Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies. They are easy to melt and fun to use, especially when you want to have a lovely bonding time with your kids in the kitchen.
But what are they really made of? With their sweet taste and melty texture, one can easily say that they are tiny round colored chocolates. Though there are similarities in taste and purpose, candy melts are not chocolate, and this article aims to give you the difference between the two. But first, let us get to know these fun and colorful goodies.
What are candy melts?
Candy melts are a type of compound chocolate. These mock chocolates use less expensive ingredients to mimic the real thing. Some may call them confectionary coating, candy coating, candy wafers, or confectionery melts- they are all the same and has the same function. They are confectionery treats mainly used for baking and decorating desserts and other goodies. They melt well and harden smoothly within minutes, making them ideal for molding and creating beautiful structural embellishments.
What are candy melts made of?
The main ingredients are milk solids, vegetable or palm kernel oil, and sugar. The usual flavoring used to make them is vanilla; however, you may come across some that are flavored with peppermint, strawberry, and chocolate. They are dyed in a myriad of bright and pastel colors that you can choose from.
Candy melts vs. chocolate
Since most get confused between these two, especially white chocolate, here’s a rundown on their differences:
- Ingredients Used: what separates real chocolates from candy melts is the use of cocoa butter. Some candy meats contain a small amount of cocoa as flavoring; however, the amount is not enough to consider them real or couverture chocolate.
- Texture: tempered chocolate has the same consistency as melted candy melts, but you will see the difference in texture once they harden. When tempered chocolate hardens, they are still creamy, while candy melts will feel waxy.
- Pricing: this is a no-brainer! Since candy melts use cheaper ingredients, they are much more affordable than chocolates.
- Melting Procedure: candy melts are super easy to use and are novice-friendly. All you have to do is place them in the microwave or over hot water. Melting chocolates requires an additional step called tempering. This requires a specific temperature to melt chocolate and give it a smooth and glossy finish.
- Purpose: you can use both candy melts and chocolate for coating and dipping. However, candy melts are used for this purpose only, while chocolates can be used for flavoring and other functions.
How to use candy melts
They are super easy to use! When melting small amounts, we suggest placing the candy melts in a microwave-safe bowl and heating for a minute or until melted. Depending on how much you are melting, you can add 30 seconds intervals until you get the right consistency. You can melt different colors at the same time to save energy too.
However, when melting larger amounts of these chips, you can melt them over boiling water instead. Place your candy melt in a medium bowl and place it over a bigger bowl filled with hot water. Just stir until fully melted. Once you mold or decorate your goodies, put them in the fridge to harden. The time depends on how big of a surface you are coating. Once melted, you can use them for dipping, coating, drizzling and molding into your desired shapes and characters.
How long do candy melts last?
A package of candy melts should be good for a year, up to a year and a half after the manufacturing date. Since they melt quickly, it is always better to store them in a cool, dry area. Once the pack has been opened, make sure to reseal it properly or transfer them in a ziplock bag.
Leftover melted candy melts can also be stored a reused. Just makes sure that it is free from any crumbs and let it cool before placing it in a plastic bag or lidded bowl. Do not refrigerate them.
How to color candy melts?
Though candy melts come in a lot of different colors, sometimes, you just need to get the perfect hue to capture the theme of your desserts. There are two ways to get the perfect color you need- either you mix two colors together, or get bright white candy melts and use food dyes.
To mix two or three colors, just place the chips in a bowl and melt them together. This will require a lot of testing to get your perfect blend. You can also melt them separately and mix them as you go.
A more straightforward method is to melt bright white candy melts and add drops of food dye until you get the perfect color you are after. Start with a few drops, mix and check before adding more to reduce error and wasting your melts.
HEATHER'S HELPFUL HINT
My favorite tye of candy melts are the Wilton brand. They come in so many different colors, and I find the taste to be superior to other brands. You can find them in stores like Michaels and Hobby Lobby.
While the process of making your cakes, cookies, and other goods is important, how you present them is the initial way to entice people to try them. An artfully designed dessert is always an excellent way to get your goodies noticed. Using candy melts to make a colorful tray of cookies, perfectly smooth cake pops, craftily dipped pretzels, or donuts is so easy and fun! Let your creativity and imagination run free!