Paramount Crystals - What It Is and How to Use It
crystals are chips of partially hydrogenated
palm kernel oil combined with lecithin and citric acid (as a preservative)
for the use in confectionery coating and chocolate work. When used, it
keeps the chocolate fluid. Used similarly to cocoa butter and shortening in chocolate
work, except paramount crystals have virtually no flavor (tasteless) - and much less expensive than real cocoa butter.
Paramount crystals keep for one year when stored in a cool, dry place.
They may melt and reharden if stored in temperature extremes, but it can be broken off or cut up into smaller pieces easily. Every confectioner will have their own ratio, but a standard guide is to work in a tablespoon into the melted chocolate and see how it performs for you, adding a tablespoon at a time - roughly 1/4 cup per pound - until you get the consistency you need. You can always add more when needed - too much makes a mess.
Paramount Crystals vs. Cocoa Butter vs. Shortening
Paramount crystals are used the same way as shortening and cocoa butter in keeping chocolate fluid and keeping it smooth - with three main advantages. The first is the consistency. The palm oil in paramount crystals keeps it hard when cold, unlike standard shortening which stays soft when cold. It won't change the consistency. The second is flavor. Paramount crystals virtually has no flavor, while shortening and cocoa butter will have a slight inherent flavor. The third is cost. While cocoa butter remains hard at room temperature like paramount crystals, it is much more expensive. You wouldn't want to waste your cocoa butter in standard chocolate wafers, so if you have the real stuff, keep the cocoa butter with 'real' chocolate tempering.