"Food-grade" paraffin wax?

My wife recently acquired a recipe for Buckeyes Peanut Butter Balls that says to melt chocolate in a double boiler with 1/4 pound paraffin wax (for dipping). I googled, but only came up with more recipes; I’m curious about the following questions:

Is the wax necessary?
What does the wax do?
Is there a substitute?
Where does one buy food-grade wax?

Misc. Candy

Some more info

My mom made jelly once. She poured the hot jelly into Mason jars and poured melted paraffin on the surface to immediately seal it before airborne germs could drift in and spoil it. You can find parrafin on the same shelf as Mason jars in most grocery stores.

I’m pretty sure that’s no longer modern canning procedure, however. New canning guidelines came out from the FDA in 99, I think, and there’s no paraffin involved. If you heat process properly and get a good seal with your snap-lids, there’s no need for anything else. Assuming you followed the proper recipe for the acidity of the foods you’re canning, of course - non-acid foods require a pressure canner.

Thank you all. Due to the information provided, my wife found some in a nearby Meijer by the canning goods section; Wal-mart didn’t carry it. Otherwise, she probably would’ve paid much more at a specialty shop.

According to one of the links above, the wax’s purpose is to give the chocolate a “sheen”. Is the only reason to add it to enhance visual appeal?

My guess is that it is cheaper than other options such as making them of all chocolate. There was a candy maker on letterman once and she had a contraption that mixed the chocolate with air and gave it a glossy look and gave it a melt in your mouth texture. The contraption was expensive and she said hobbiest often chose to use parrifin instead, but that it would not taste as good, partially because it has a higher melting temperature than the cocoa butter.


This has more information, it is nto a matter of air it seems.

Regardless of that, I just got back from the grocery store, where I checked. My locally-owned grocer does indeed sell boxes of paraffin alongside other canning supplies, most likely because your average grandmother does it the way she always did, and doesn’t keep up with FDA guidelines too closely.

My mother used paraffin to seal her jars of homemade jams and jellies as recently as the late 1980s, when she was in her 40s (not a grandma yet). The nice thing about using paraffin is that you can then just top the jar with an ordinary screw-on lid. Of course, jam and jelly were the only things she topped with wax. Canned vegetables were always vacuum sealed - I remember listening for that distinctive “pop” that told us the jars were sealed.

Lots of cheaper chocolates are cut with paraffin. You can taste it. Urgh. Sure, wax is cool if you’re six years old and eating wax lips, but anyone that recommends you mix wax with chocolate is a heathen. Use a high quality chocolate and forget the wax.

Trust me, there is a huge difference between high quality chocolate and the garbage sold in most supermarkets made by the large corporations whose names we all know. Splurge a little and try some real chocolate.

Scharffen Berger Chocolate

Felchlin Chocolate

[/chocoholic rant]

In addition to giving the chocolate a shiny sheen, paraffin will raise the melting temperature of the finished candies. You may want that in the summer, or if you keep your house unusually warm in the winter.

Some of the very best tasting chocolate truffles are made with part tropical oils that have a lower melting temperature than cocoa butter. This makes them melt deliciously the moment they get in your house, but these are very messy.

If your wife hasn’t made the recipe yet, may I suggest that she reduce the amount of wax she puts in? I have made what I suspect is the same recipe, and the wax was noticible as far as taste and ‘mouth feel’. I haven’t experimented to find what the best amount is, but less would almost definitely be better.

I would think for Buckeyes the reason you need the wax is so the chocolate is soft enough to not require a bite that would smoosh the entire candy (it’s chocolate covered peanut butter balls for those of you who don’t know) but the chocolate still has to be firm enough to hold it’s shape around the PB.

I’ve tried to make buckeyes just with my own recipe off the top of my head. I first tried with just melted chocolate bars but they made too hard of a shell. Chocolate cut with butter was too soft. I kept thinking I probably needed Crisco for some reason but now I think parafin would do it.

Mmmm… wax lips… parrafin with a slight, yet oddly addictive, flavor… <drool>

The wax helps the chocolate to set. If you only used the chocolate, it wouldn’t harden around the food you dipped into it. That, and it would melt in anything over 65 degree temps.

You can always experiment, but I highly recommend reducing the amount of wax, as well. It only takes a little bit to a cup of chocolate (think 2 scraped up tablespoons to a cup of melted chocolate) to do the job, unless you plan on keeping your Buckeyes under a heat lamp.

I do recommend using the wax, though. It also lengthens the shelf life of dipped candies.

I do not find the name “Felchlin Chocolate” appetizing. In fact, I find it terrifying down to the core of my being. :eek:

Come on! “Splurge a little!”

Yeah, choice of wording and nomenclature leaves something not to be desired.