To melt chocolate, chop it into large chunks, place the chunks in a heavy saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring occasionally. Be sure your pan and utensils are dry because even a little water will cause the chocolate to seize, that is, become stiff or lumpy. If the chocolate seizes, remove the pan from the heat and stir in a little bit of water, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring until the chocolate is smooth and shiny again. This restored chocolate will be fine to use in a frosting or filling, but you won’t be able to use it in a recipe where the chocolate must set up.
You can also melt chocolate in the microwave. Chop the chocolate into large chunks and place them in a microwave-safe dish. Microwave the chocolate at MEDIUM for 2 to 3 minutes, checking it after 1 minute. Keep checking every 30 to 40 seconds to make sure it doesn’t scorch. When the chocolate looks shiny and softened, remove it from the microwave. It won’t melt completely, but it will become smooth and liquid when you stir.