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I melted chocolate to put on top of some caramel flapjacks. The chocolate wasn't very runny so I added a little bit of olive oil. However this made it grainy and lumpy as if I had added water.

Should I have used vegetable oil instead, or should this have worked as I expected?

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4 Answers 4

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If the texture changed immediately, then that sounds like seizing to me. Chocolate shouldn't seize if you add fat (oil) to it, particularly if you add it after the chocolate is fully melted. Only water will cause that.

Olive oil varies significantly in purity and quality, so cheap olive oil may actually be worse for this application than a purer, cheaper cooking oil (such as peanut or corn oil). There may have been impurities or even trace amounts of water in the bottle. Or it could be that you just tried to melt it too fast, or you accidentally got some water in there from some other place (condensation is a common source).

If you melted it directly in a pan, as in your comment to Kyra, and continued to apply heat after adding the oil, then it's also possible that it didn't really seize at all and that you just tried to melt it too fast.

If it did seize, then there is a cure - perhaps counter-intuitively, adding more oil could help you. Using roughly a tablespoon for each ounce of chocolate will help smooth out any lumps. Add and whisk it very gradually. Of course, this will only work if the oil itself is reasonably pure.

Note: In this case, I would guess that the use of low-quality chocolate isn't your problem if you successfully melted it (albeit to a thick consistency) before adding any oil. Significant impurities in the chocolate itself would lead to seizing during the melting process.

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That happened to me with margarine instead of olive oil. My question is here, but basically Aaronut told me 3 reasons why chocolate seizes.

  • Using too high a heat. Double-boiler is the safest, but you can use a saucepan on very low heat.
  • Sugar bloom and other impurities. You shouldn't get this with baker's chocolate, but if you use any lower-quality chocolate, this can seep into the melting chocolate and cause it to seize.
  • Contact with moisture! Even a tiny amount will cause it to immediately seize, and it's difficult to recover at that point.
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Ahh, this makes sense. I was using a mixture of chocolates, some of which was low quality, plus I was trying to do it quickly so just used a pan on what I thought was low heat - maybe it wasn't low enough. Thanks. –  Bluebelle Aug 20 '10 at 17:24
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I always have bad luck when using vegetable oil and chocolate. I know it's not supposed to matter, but I always have better luck with butter.

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If nothing else, it's at least going to taste better. –  Aaronut Aug 20 '10 at 20:29
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i used olive oil and it worked out fine D: its the type of olive oil for baking that i used, so maybe thats why.

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What is this "type of olive oil for baking" that you speak of? I don't believe that I've ever seen such a product. How is it different from regular olive oil? –  Aaronut Jun 3 '12 at 21:56
    
second pressing or extracted using heat or chemicals. Raw extra=virgin isn't always necessary; I bake scones with the cheaper oil. –  Pat Sommer Jun 4 '12 at 2:43
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