Even though the composition of vegan chocolate is slightly different, you can still melt it for recipes or dipping chocolate just like chocolate with dairy in it. Vegan chocolate is made without dairy either by replacing it with plant milk (such as oat milk) or -in the case of dark chocolate- leaving milk out altogether.
There are a few different ways to melt chocolate. The type of chocolate and your preferences in the kitchen will dictate which choices are available to you. Here we’ll explore methods to melt vegan chocolate, how to manage dry or burned chocolate, and alternatively if freezing vegan chocolate desserts is possible.
How Do You Make Vegan Chocolate Melt
Whatever method you choose to heat your chocolate, using chocolate chips or chopping your chocolate into smaller pieces will help it melt more evenly. Once you’re ready to melt the chocolate, you can choose to heat it in either the microwave or on the stovetop.
In the Microwave
Due to its speed and easy cleanup, melting chocolate in the microwave is probably the preferred method for most. However, there’s a greater danger of overheating with the microwave method, so make sure to monitor your chocolate as it’s heating. Here are the simple steps for microwave heating vegan chocolate:
- Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe dish.
- Heat in 20 to 30-second increments.
- Stir between each heatin gperiod until the chocolate is fully melted.
- Do not allow chocolate ot overheat or boil.
On the Stovetop
While heating directly in a pan on the stove will heat the chocolate, a better alternative is a double boiler. This will melt the chocolate slowly and prevent overheating. Don’t worry about buying a double boiler insert if you don’t have one, to make a double boiler, you’ll need a bowl or pot that can sit on top of a medium pot. Next, follow these steps:
- Add water to the medium pot (fill less than halfway) and bring to a simmer on low heat.
- Place your chopped chocolate or chocolate chips in the other pot or bowl and place on top of the “boiler”.
- Keep on low heat and stir the chocolate until melted.
Dark Chocolate vs. “Milk” Chocolate
Dark chocolate tends to have a higher melting point (approx. 90-95°F) than lighter chocolate (approx. 85-90°F) and can withstand higher temperatures (up to around 115°F) without burning. This means it’s best to keep a closer watch on the temperature of non-dairy “milk” chocolate to avoid burning.
Lighter chocolate will also, therefore, melt faster than dark chocolate, so the stovetop double boiler method may be preferable to allow it to heat slowly.
Troubleshooting Dry or Overcooked Chocolate
If you accidentally overheat or dry out your chocolate in the process of melting it, there are a few fixes. Adding a small amount (a few drops) of coconut or vegetable oil to the chocolate can help get back some moisture. If the chocolate doesn’t taste burnt, you can also stir in new chocolate to help cool the mixture and mediate any texture issues.
Unfortunately, if your chocolate already tastes burnt, it’s best to toss it and start over. If you’re worried about subsequent burning, add in a bit of oil before the heating process to help prevent burning.
Can You Freeze Vegan Chocolate Cake
Once you’ve used melted chocolate in a recipe (or bought a dessert with cooked chocolate in it), you may be wondering how to store it. Refrigerating or freezing vegan chocolate is a fine way to save the dish longer.
Desserts put in the freezer can last from 3 months to a year, while refrigerated cakes will only last 3-4 days. If storing slices of vegan chocolate cake, use a hard container or wrap in several layers of plastic wrap or wax paper, aluminum foil, and a zip-top bag.
It’s important to be aware that freezing chocolate may sometimes cause a white coating or crystals to form. Upon reheating or bringing to room temperature, you may also notice a small texture change. This occurs when cocoa butter and sugar come to the surface of the chocolate due to the cold temperatures.
To defrost a frozen cake, move it to the fridge for a couple of hours or place it in a room temperature setting for a quicker thaw (it should be ready in about 15 minutes depending on ambient temperature).