Tempering -- a technique that stabilizes chocolate -- creates a glossy sheen and a crisp snap in the finished confections.
- 3/4 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped, divided in portions
Place 1/2 pound chocolate in a metal bowl. Bring a saucepan with 2 inches of water to a simmer, then turn off heat. Set bowl with chocolate over a saucepan, and let melt, stirring gently with a rubber spatula until chocolate registers 118 degrees on a candy thermometer. (Watch the chocolate carefully, as heating and cooling times can vary.) Remove bowl from saucepan.
Add 1/4 pound unmelted chocolate to bowl, and stir, until chocolate cools to 84 degrees. (Remove any unmelted pieces with spatula.) Return bowl to saucepan, and let stand, and stir until chocolate registers 88 degrees to 90 degrees. Use immediately.