To make many recipes, it is important to melt candy correctly. There are several different methods, depending on the type of candy involved.
Chocolate is one of the more common ingredients to melt. First, chop it into small pieces; never try to melt chocolate in large bars. Avoid all contact with water. Melt your chocolate slowly over low heat, stirring frequently. You can melt chocolate in a double boiler, in a non-stick pan, or in the microwave. If you choose the microwave option, use medium heat and be sure to use a microwave-safe bowl to avoid burning the chocolate. If you do not have the option of using a medium heat setting, stop the microwave oven frequently to stir. Cooking time varies depending on your oven and amount of chocolate, but it should be about 1 minute for 1 ounce of chocolate.
Other candy that you may want to melt includes candy specifically designed for melting and decorating, such as Candy Melts. Again, you'll need to make sure you do not get water in contact with the candy. You can melt these candies in the microwave at 40 percent power or using the defrost setting, or you can melt them in warm (not boiling) water by placing them into a plastic bag or bottle for easy decorating options.
To melt hard candy, preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Now it's time to smash the candy. Place the candy into a zippered plastic bag, squeeze out the excess air, then place this bag inside a paper bag. Fold the top of the bag to close. You can now use a hammer or rolling pin to crush the candy. It's not necessary to completely pulverize them; just get them broken into small pieces.
Line your baking pan or lipped baking tray with parchment paper. Spread the crushed candy into a thin layer, then bake for 5 to 10 minutes. You'll need to check the candy at 5 minutes and then every minute or two thereafter to ensure that the candy does not scorch. When you remove the tray from the oven, you can either let it cool in the flat shape or you can lift the paper to form a funnel for pouring the candy into a mold.
If you want to save the trouble of breaking the candy, you can melt whole pieces in the oven until they puddle, then break the puddles which will be thinner than the original shape and easier to break. It does take longer to melt whole pieces, so check them after about 10 minutes.