Candy Melts are a perfect edition to lots of our favorite sweet treats.
A cake pop is not complete without a brightly colored coating of that sweet glossy liquid. Your handmade candies and chocolate bark won’t be finished without vibrant drizzles of melted heaven.
You can use these colorful little candies for everything, from pretzels and lollipops, to cookies and cakes. You can even decorate strawberries!
The key to getting a lovely glossy coating of candy is melting it to perfection. Easier said than done though, right? Sometimes those little candies just don’t want to cooperate, leaving us with a thick, lumpy consistency rather than the sleek liquidy goodness we desire.
As disheartening as it is to get this lumpy candy mess, there are definitely ways to fix it. This involves thinning the mixture out. A key component of learning how to thin candy melts is understanding why it got too thick or lumpy in the first place.
To find out why your candy melts aren’t as thin and luscious as you need them to be, you should first look towards the ingredients list of your candy melts.
Candy melts have a very similar texture to that of chocolate, both when solid and when melted. They give the same glossy, shiny look as tempered chocolate but without the hassle that comes with the chocolate tempering process.
For this reason you would be forgiven for thinking they were made with cocoa butter solids. However, they are actually made with sugar, milk solids and the all important vegetable fats, the most common being palm kernel oil. This mixture of ingredients makes the candies perfect for melting. However, it can take some time to perfect this melting process.
The question that may be on your mind is...
Why Haven’t My Candies Melted Properly?
They may have melted and reformed in storage or transportation
The ingredients in your candy melts are very delicate which means that they are very susceptible to temperature changes. These temperature changes could have happened during storage, transportation or in the store you bought them from.
Continuous warm and then cold temperatures will cause these candy melts to … yes, you guessed it … melt and then harden again.
Over time this will affect the quality of the melts, and may cause them to melt less effectively when you come to use them. As well as this, it may even affect the freshness of them.
To check if this is what has happened to your candy melts you will be able to see whether they are still shaped like round buttons or drops which are the shape they are sold as, or whether they have melted and reformed as a thick block. The latter means that they have already been subject to temperature changes and may be more susceptible to thickening after melting.
When cooking they may have been subjected to inadequate temperatures
The temperature that you melt your candy melts at is very important. Different brands come with different sets of cooking instructions, and these can even vary flavor to flavor.
First and foremost, we recommend that you ensure you read the melting instructions very carefully on all products. A low heat and short intervals is recommended if melting in the microwave.
If using the double boiler method ensure the heat is low but also make sure that the room or the surface is not cold as this can cause it not to melt fully and smoothly, resulting in thick, lumpy candy melts.
The candies may have gotten too moist
As we already know, these little candies are sensitive little things. So much so that even humid air can cause them to seize and stiffen, making our luscious, smooth mixture a thick, lumpy mess.
Any humid moisture in the air can do this to your candies, particularly if you are using the double boiler method or your microwave is too high of a temperature. The higher the heat on both of these methods, the more steam will be produced. In turn this will cause lots of humidity, ruining your candy melts in the process.
Luckily, whatever the reason for your melting mishap, there are things you can do to fix it. Read on to learn how to thin candy melts!
How Can I Thin My Candy Melts?
There are, thankfully, a few methods you can use to thin out your candy melts to gain the sleek, glossy appearance you were striving for.
Some methods are recommended more highly than others but all should do the trick for you.
Given the ingredients of candy melts, an obvious solution you may come up with is to add more oil. Typically, there is palm kernel oil in candy melts so this certainly would work to thin it out. It is recommended that, if you do use this method, you use a form of vegetable oil or coconut oil.
Please bear in mind that too much oil can drastically change the texture of your candy melts, though. For this reason, oil should be added sparingly, no more than half a teaspoon at a time.
As well as this, coconut oil in particular will give a coconutty taste to your mixture which may not be suitable for all recipes.
Too much oil will make your candy melt mixture too thin, presenting the opposite problem and causing it to run off your sweet treats rather than solidifying.
Adding shortening can be particularly beneficial, as you only need to add in a small amount at a time and it tends to be something we all have in our pantry or refrigorator making it a convenient option. The shortening you use should be a white, vegetable-fat based product.
It is a tried and tested method that seems to get excellent results each time.
Add your shortening in gradually and in small amounts. Try adding in a teaspoon at first, stirring gently and then testing the consistency by dipping something into the mixture. If you find you need a little bit more to achieve the smooth consistency you want, add in another teaspoon and check again.
Add in some cocoa butter
Cocoa butter is a luxurious creamy substance with a very recognisable smell and texture...and no, not the kind you moisturize your skin with! You can actually purchase pure cocoa butter from stores which is suitable for cooking.
Adding this to your candy melts will certainly help to thin out the texture, as well as giving it a luxurious taste and feel.
Again, as with the other methods, due care should be taken to add a small amount of the cocoa butter at a time. You should also ensure that it is pure cocoa butter that you buy.
Add some designated thinning aid or crystals
It seems that candy melt creators understand our struggles and have actually devised a product specially made for thinning out our thick candy melt disasters.
Every brand uses slightly different ingredients but all consist of some kind of vegetable or plant oil. Some brands have liquid dipping aids, whereas others have a solid crystallised form (typically made from hydrogenated palm oil).
For this method you should add the thinning aid in gradually and in small amounts until the desired consistency is achieved. Because this product is formulated with thinning candy melts in mind, this is a very successful method.
Whatever brand and type you use, ensure to follow their instructions carefully for a perfectly glossy candy melt mixture.
As you can see, no matter how bad you think it looks, a lumpy and thick candy melt mixture is not an instant baking fail. There are ways to prevent this happening in the future, but most importantly, if it does happen there are many things we can do to try and reduce the thickness, to get that desired glossiness we all want.
Remember that with whatever method you use to thin your candy melts, all of them should be done sparingly and carefully, following any instructions given. The heat you use should be low, and the equipment used should not be cold.
Learning how to thin candy melts is easy. Make sure you follow our guide, and you can take your dessert making disaster and turn it into sweet treat serenity!