What is chocolate tempering?

Tempering is a process that ensures the formation of stable cocoa butter crystals (polymorphism) within the chocolate structure. It is a time and temperature process in which the chocolate is heated to a certain temperature, cooled, and then warmed again to the final application temperature.  The temperature curve for dark chocolate goes to 115 degrees F, down to 84 to 86 degrees F, and finally up again to 90 to 92 degrees F.  The tempering process gives the product a glossy surface, an optimal snap, and the desirable melting property.