Melting Chocolate in the Microwave
The microwave is a great tool for melting chocolate. If used properly, it can melt chocolate more quickly than a double boiler with minimal effort and mess. The most critical part of melting chocolate in the microwave is choosing an appropriate container. Ideally, you want to melt your chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl that remains cool or only slightly warm after several minutes of near-continuous microwaving. If the bowl is too hot for you to handle after it has been microwaved, it is too hot for your chocolate. If you have overheated your chocolate, immediately pour it into a cool bowl add chunks of unmelted chocolate, and stir continuously.
It is preferable to melt your chocolate on a low (50%) power setting, to avoid scorching or burning it. If your microwave does not have this option, heat the chocolate in shorter intervals and stir between each bout of heat. Additionally, if your microwave does not have a turntable that rotates the bowl of chocolate, manually turn the bowl each time you stop and stir the chocolate.
It is very difficult to determine exact microwaving times, as it can vary depending on microwave wattage, quantity of chocolate, and even the cocoa butter content of the chocolate. However, as a rough guide, estimate about 1 minute for 1 ounce of chocolate, 3 minutes for 8 ounces of chocolate, 3.5 minutes for 1 pound of chocolate, and 4 minutes for 2 pounds. Run the microwave in 30 second-1 minute increments, stirring in between and rotating the bowl if necessary. Finish heating when most, but not all, of the chocolate is melted. Stir the chocolate continuously until it is smooth, shiny, and completely melted.