I'm having trouble getting butterscotch chips to melt. I tried it on the stove with a homemade double boiler, and I tried the microwave. The chips just dried out. I have the same trouble when I try to melt chocolate, too.

I'm having trouble getting butterscotch chips to melt. I tried it on the stove with a homemade double boiler, and I tried the microwave. The chips just dried out. I have the same trouble when I try to melt chocolate, too.

— Sam S., Grants Pass

With the butterscotch chips, the problem might be scorching. Anything made with sugar burns easily. It's particularly a problem with melting chocolate or butterscotch chips in the microwave. Because the morsels are made with stabilizers and because microwaves heat from the center out, morsels hold their shape until they are stirred. When they don't look melted, we keep zapping them in the microwave or raising the heat on the stove.

To melt either chocolate or butterscotch morsels in the microwave, use 50 percent power for 30 seconds at a time, stirring well each time. Repeat until the morsels are mostly melted but a few chips remain. Remove from the microwave, let stand about a minute and stir again to completely melt.

On the stove, chocolate is particularly sensitive to small amounts of water, which causes it to clump or seize. If there is any space at all around the top section of your homemade double boiler, it will allow tiny droplets of moisture from escaping steam to hit the chocolate.

You can fix it by adding a little fat, such as a few drops of vegetable oil or about a half teaspoon of shortening, to smooth it back out. A bit of fat also will help butterscotch melt more smoothly on the stove.

For both kinds of chips, skip the double boiler and use a small, heavy saucepan. Be patient and use low to medium-low heat, stirring frequently.