Practical tips on how to harden candy melts for your next candy making project and what to do if your candy melts won’t harden. To make sure that your candy melts behave the way they should – melt, harden and stay set, you need to store your candy melts correctly and at the right ambient room temperature.
Do you put candy melts in the fridge to harden?
The quickest way to harden candy melts after you’ve used them for your cake pops, dipped strawberries or pouring them into the mould is indeed to put them in the fridge.
Saying that, you need to make sure that you don’t leave candy melts in the fridge for too long otherwise the humidity and water condensation in the fridge might spoilt your candy melts.
They can also absorb very easily any smell from other food, especially if they are strongly flavoured. Making sure that you have a clean fridge space (at least one shelf) is always a good idea. You should also cover all other food with sealed lids or cellophane plastic.
How long should candy melts stay in the fridge for?
This very much depends on the size of your candy melts. The thinner or smaller your candy melts shapes are, the shorter amount of time they need to be in the fridge.
5-10 minutes – dipped strawberries, pretzels, drizzled candy melts on already set cake, candy melts chocolate truffles rolled or dipped in candy melts
15-20 minutes – cake pops dipped in candy melts, smaller cand melts shapes, smaller – flatter candy melts bars
20-30 minutes – large shapes, medium sized Easter Eggs or thicker candy melts bars
30 minutes or longer – large candy melts projects
30 minutes or longer – for any candy melts thinned with oil (as they can be quite runny)
When to put candy melts to the fridge?
Ideally, you want to finish smaller candy melts project – for example dipping strawberries or pretzels and put them straightaway in the fridge. I usually wait until I fill one tray and then put the tray straight into the fridge.
If you are working on something bigger, such as a large Easter Egg or a very thick and large candy melts bar, I would wait 3-5 min before placing the candy melts to the fridge. This is because you don’t want to give your candy melts too much of a temperature shock and let the candy melts to harden gradually.
Leaving candy melts to harden in a room temperature
Candy melts and candy melts substitutes will also harden if left in the room temperature, but it takes a lot longer (2-3 times longer depending on your room temperature).
Try to work out which part of your kitchen (or other room) is cooler and at least move the finished candy melts project to the cooler part of your kitchen. Even 1-3 degrees will make a difference in setting time.
You can also look into setting your candy melts in other cool rooms, out of the way of a direct heat (like a radiator, oven or light) or direct sunlight. Room that doesn’t get much sun, is automatically going to be colder if you are not too sure.
Tips for cooling down your finished candy melts if you don’t have an access to a fridge
- Place your candy melts on a colder surface such as marble, granitte board or kitchen worktop
- Take out ice cubes (wrapped in a plastic bag), cooler packs or even any food items that you want to defrost. Make sure everything is wrapped and place your candy melts on the top
- Move your candy melts to a cooler room or cooler part of your kitchen
- Put your airconditioning on very low (if you have any)
Setting candy melts in the freezer
If you are short of time, you can also use freezer to speed up the setting time of your candy melts. You need to be a bit careful with this method though as freezer can produce even more humidity and condensation on your candy melts than a fridge.
I usually start with setting the candy melts in the fridge for 5 minutes or so and then place the in the freezer for further 5-10 minutes maximum. This way, the candy melts won’t get too much of a shock when their temperature suddenly changes from room temperature (say around 18-23 C or 64-75 F) to fridge temperature (3-5 C or 37 – 41 C) and then freezer (-18C or 0 F).
You can see it’s quite a dramatic change in temperatures, which is why gradual change works better than a sudden, which could cause your candy melts to bloom or get spoiled.
If you are very pushed for time, you can try to go straight from room temperature to freezer, but don’t leave your chocolates there for a very long time and keep checking on them regularly.
What to do if your candy melts won’t harden
The only thing you can do is to leave your candy melts to harden for a little longer. If you need to speed up the process, place them in the freezer for 5-10 minutes and check regularly.
Candy melts will eventually harden, although candy melts stay good for a while after they have melted, but if they have been overheated (right at the beginning when you were melting them), they might take a lot longer and when they set they might not look great. If you get white streaks or white patches across the candy melts, that means that the candy melts have been definitely overheated.
You could try to melt them down again very carefully, then stir them for a while (to sort of replicate a bit of chocolate tempering to re-crystalise some of the vegetable oil) to cool and then pour again.
What to do if your candy melts are setting too quickly
If you are using your candy melts to dip cake pops or chocolate truffles in, you might find that the candy melts do start to set or even seize, which makes it difficult to dip the next cake pop or truffle in.
The solution to this problem is to keep your candy melts warm enough so that the constant dipping of a colder cake pops or truffles won’t cool down the mixture too much.
Here is what you can do to keep your candy melts warm:
- Place a teatowel under the candy melts bowl
- Use two bowls (one inside the other) with a teatowel in between (optional)
- Reheat gently the candy melt mixture every time it starts to get a bit colder (using bain marie, double boiler, microwave, heat gun, hairdryer)
- Use something warm underneath your candy melts bowl (warm hot waterbottle, electric warm plate etc