When a recipe calls for melted chocolate, savvy cooks know that a pot on the stove is not the only way to melt chocolate. The key is to melt chocolate slowly over low heat. High temperatures will certainly melt the chocolate, but what you gain in speed you lose in smoothness.

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A pan on the stove is just fine, as long as you keep the temperature low. Break up pieces of chocolate into a pan and place it over a burner on low heat. As soon as the chocolate begins to melt, begin stirring with a rubber spatula. Remove the pan from the heat just before the chocolate is completely melted and stir until the mixture is smooth and shiny.

A double-boiler offers ideal conditions for melting chocolate. Fill the lower pan of your double-boiler with water and bring it to a simmer, then remove it from the heat. Place broken-up pieces of chocolate into the top pan and place it over the bottom pan. The top pan should not be touching any water in the bottom pan. Stir the chocolate constantly until it is completely melted.

The microwave is the fastest method to melt chocolate. Place chocolate pieces into a microwave-safe glass bowl or large glass measuring cup. Set the microwave oven to defrost or half power setting. Microwave the chocolate for 30 seconds, then stir. Microwave for another 30 seconds, then stir again. Continue to microwave at 30-seconds intervals, stirring after each session until the chocolate is melted completely.

Melt large large amounts of chocolate in a slow-cooker. Set your slow-cooker on low. Add the chocolate and stir occasionally until melted. When the chocolate is almost melted, turn off the heat or keep it on low until you’re ready to use it.