Here's How To Save Chocolate That Has Seized

Melting chocolate appears to be a pretty straightforward task on the road to confectionery nirvana, but anyone who has found themselves staring at a gritty, curdled mess instead of the perfectly smooth, molten sweet they were expecting knows that this technique can be a little trickier than it seems.

According to Food52, chocolate can seize for two reasons; you either overheated and burned it or somehow a little bit of moisture snuck in. If your chocolate seized because you burned it, unfortunately, this is probably the end of the road for your treat and you will have to start over. 

If you are dealing with the second situation, however, fear not! There is hope for your dessert yet. Respected author and food scientist Harold McGee describes the way chocolate reacts to liquid as being similar to flour. McGee states that chocolate, like flour, contains no moisture in it at all, so if you add a little bit of liquid you end up with a thick paste, but if you add the correct proportion you will achieve a smooth, luxurious texture.

You can repurpose seized chocolate for other uses

So your chocolate seized, but it was definitely because you mistakenly got some water into it and not because you burned it — now what? Cook's Illustrated offers an easy solution to fix seized chocolate once you've made the error. They state that you simply need to add enough additional liquid, bit by bit, to reverse the seizing process. To reverse seized chocolate, vigorously stir in boiling hot water one teaspoon at a time until your chocolate has returned to a desirable consistency. Be aware that this will make your chocolate thinner and more diluted than it would have originally been, so unfortunately you won't be able to use it for baking. Cook's Illustrated suggests repurposing this liquidy chocolate for hot chocolate, chocolate sauce, or dribbling over the tops of cookies.

Food 52 states that if you are not ready to immediately repurpose your seized chocolate, you can scrape the grainy chocolate spread onto parchment or wax paper and allow it to dry. Once the seized chocolate has hardened, it can be stored safely until you are ready to use it, allowing you to restart a new batch of melted chocolate for the recipe you were initially going to use it in without wasting the chocolate from your original attempt.