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Compound Chocolate: What are Chocolate Melts?

Sephra Belgian and Premium chocolates aren’t just delicious covering various dipping treats from a Sephra chocolate fountain. They are also ideal for making that perfectly delicious cup of hot chocolate as the weather turns colder!

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October 3, 2015 at 4:25:26 PM PDT October 3, 2015 at 4:25:26 PM PDTrd, October 3, 2015 at 4:25:26 PM PDT
What are chocolate melts? We receive many inquiries each day regarding the differences between couverture chocolate and compound coating. Simply put, Compound chocolate uses vegetable fats in place of the cocoa butter used to make 'real' chocolate. Given the common reference to both as 'chocolate,' it is important to make the distinction between 'real' chocolate and chocolate melts. In this article, we will highlight the unique characteristics of chocolate melts and their most suitable applications. [caption id="attachment_3153" align="aligncenter" width="1675"] Key Differences between Couverture and Compound Chocolate[/caption]

Defining Compound Chocolate


Understanding Chocolate Regulations

  The FDA stipulates that to bear the label “chocolate,” the product's fat must derive solely from cocoa butter and dairy fat. This ensures that 'real' chocolate possesses the distinctive “melt-in-your-mouth” sensation due to cocoa butter's unique melting point. By U.S. standards, only products with cocoa solids, cocoa butter, and dairy fat earn the chocolate title. However, the European Union's regulations diverge, allowing up to 5% of alternate vegetable fats in genuine chocolate.  

The Lowdown on Compound Chocolate

  Compound Chocolate stands apart, opting for vegetable fats over cocoa butter. Frequently employed fats include the semi-solid varieties like coconut oil and palm kernel oil. This choice significantly reduces costs since vegetable fats come cheaper than cocoa butter. Notably, compound chocolate requires no tempering, sidestepping challenges like fat bloom, which mars the appearance of untempered true chocolate. Despite these advantages, it doesn’t mirror the lustrous finish of genuine, tempered chocolate. Compound chocolates share a foundational recipe: cocoa solids, vegetable fats, and sweeteners. Milk varieties integrate milk solids, with some variants also including added flavors, colors, and essential emulsifiers to maintain consistency.  

White Chocolate vs. White Chocolate Coating

  In a twist, “White Chocolate” isn’t true chocolate, as it lacks cocoa solids. Instead, a "White Chocolate coating" comprises sugar, vegetable fat, milk, whey, emulsifiers, and flavorings. Primarily, chocolate melts are presented in forms such as chips, melts, or discs, ensuring efficiency in packaging, marketing, transportation, and consumer application.  

Handling, Storage, Heating and Use of chocolate melts

  At a glance, chocolate melts bear a striking resemblance to genuine chocolate chips or discs. Please note that tempering isn't a requirement for compound chocolate. Additionally, their distinct texture differs from the coveted "mouth feel" true chocolate enthusiasts seek. This distinction arises because the fats in chocolate melts possess a notably higher melting threshold. For optimum storage, place chocolate melts in an environment that is both cool and devoid of moisture, steering clear of any extreme heat and dampness. A word to the wise: refraining from refrigerating or freezing both couverture and compound chocolates is imperative. Doing so risks condensation, leading to moisture infiltration, which can compromise the chocolate's integrity, making it gritty and uneven upon melting. Diving deeper into specifics, compound chocolate has a melting curve that's marginally elevated—about 5-10 degrees Fahrenheit—compared to couverture chocolate. This curve ranges from 103 to 108 degrees, peaking at 118 to 123 degrees Fahrenheit. Maintaining this temperature spectrum over a prolonged duration is feasible; however, periodic agitation is crucial to circumvent any charring or uneven heat distribution. If one employs the melts in a chocolate fountain, agitation becomes redundant. But, a caveat with couverture chocolate: the milk and white variations demand extra caution since their dairy elements render them susceptible to scalding under intense heat.  

Chocolate melts ingredients



Sugar is a sweetener. It also adds texture and body to a recipe in which it is an ingredient. The word “Sugar” implies derivation from cane or beet sources.

Vegetable Fat

Replaces the cocoa butter used in couverture chocolate. The substitution of vegetable fat for cocoa butter results in a considerable cost savings. Vegetable fats used may include coconut oil and palm kernel oil.


The cacao tree produces a dried, partially fermented seed essential for chocolate making. Cocoa is a robust powder, obtained by grinding these seeds and separating the cocoa butter from the dark, bitter solids.

Milk Powder

This is the “milk” component in milk chocolate melts and a primary ingredient in white coating chocolate. This is an animal product with implications for those with milk protein allergies, vegans and vegetarians.

Soy Lecithin

Used commercially in products requiring a natural emulsifier and/or lubricant. Lecithin is the emulsifier that keeps cocoa and cocoa butter in a candy bar from separating.


Vanilla is a generic term describing the flavor essence associated with the pod of certain orchids of the genus vanilla.  

Uses of Chocolate Melts

  Compound chocolate is a favorite in the chocolate world, especially for molding candies. Its affordability and ability to set without the need for tempering make it a top pick for hobbyist chocolatiers. While its flavor might not match true chocolate's richness, its taste remains appealing. In chocolate fountains, compound chocolate stands as a viable alternative to couverture chocolate, offering notable cost savings for businesses like catering services and restaurants. Its use mirrors that of couverture chocolate. For confectioners and bakers dipping items, such as strawberries or cookies in chocolate, compound chocolate is the go-to. It's unique in that it hardens into a shell at room temperature, eliminating the need for tempering. However, in baking, it doesn’t retain its shape like commercial chocolate chips designed to withstand oven temperatures.  

Sephra Chocolate Melts

  Sephra coined the phrase "chocolate melts" for our compound coating range. Both to distinguish them from our Belgian and Premium couverture chocolate ranges, and to highlight their perfect suitability for use in chocolate fountains, candy-making and dipping. You can taste the difference yourself over at our website - sephrausa.com