The microwave option requires the chocolate to be heated in short increments of 15 to 30 seconds, which will effectively melt the chocolate to the proper temperature of 90 degrees Fahrenheit, explains Kitchn. While there can be certain issues depending on the quality of chocolate, the accuracy/age of the microwave, and the bowl that is being used, this is a relatively reliable method that often scores high points from restaurant chefs and home cooks alike (via Kitchn). It’s also important to use a spatula when mixing, as well as a reliably accurate thermometer. If not using chips, be sure that the chocolate is chopped well (via Food52).
Callebaut notes that tempering is the process of “pre-crystallizing the cocoa powder,” which helps to stabilize the crystals and ensure the end result is satiny, smooth, and hardens properly on the dipped product. Essentially, you’re safely melting the chocolate and then bringing the temperature down a few degrees prior to coating or glazing. If you don’t have a super-sharp knife or chocolate chips, another great tool to have on hand is a food processor, according to Food & Wine, which will help to make relatively uniform tiny shards of chocolate that’ll melt more easily. Also, there are different temperatures depending on the kind of chocolate you select.