When melting chocolate or confectionery coating, there are a couple major league don'ts. Don't let water or other liquid come in contact with it, or it will seize; And don't allow it to get too hot. Excess heat will both cause the chocolate to separate, rendering it unusable.
You can check the temperature of the chocolate by dabbing a small amount of it on your lip or the inside of your wrist. It should feel warm, not hot.
Coating chocolate and some brands of couverture come in small discs for easy melting. If you're using a large block of chocolate, chop it into small pieces so that it melts evenly. The easiest way to do this is on a cutting board, using a serrated knife.
To melt chocolate or confectionery coating:
In the microwave: This is a very easy way to melt chocolate: place it in a microwave-safe bowl and zap it on high power at 10-second intervals, stirring each time, just until it's completely melted.
In a slow cooker: A slow cooker, set on low heat, is perfect for melting chocolate and keeping it at just the right temperature while you work. All you need to do is stir it occasionally and keep an eye on it to make sure it's not getting too hot. If it does get too hot, turn off the slow cooker, remove the insert, and stir in a couple of pieces of unmelted chocolate to cool it down quickly.
In a double boiler: This method allows you the most temperature control, and is best for higher-quality chocolate. Set up your double boiler with a small amount of water--the water should not be touching the top pan--and warm it over medium-low heat. Melt chocolate, stirring occasionally, just until the mixture is smooth, then remove the pan from the heat.
Once the chocolate is melted and smooth, you can spoon it into clean, dry plastic squeeze bottles. Set the bottles in a pan of warm water to stay at just the right temperature while you work. Be sure to dry the bottles before using the chocolate.