So... a while back I was going to do this big test of 5 different candy melts and a bunch of cake pops and see if it was the candy itself that led to cracking pops. It was an ambitious goal that I failed at... It was just too much to do. Too many supplies, too many pops, too many variables. Sorry.
What I did instead is melted 3 popular candy melts and judged the melting consistency and temperatures. This is not rocket science, but there were some parameters.
I tested Merckens White Chocolate, Wilton's White Candy Melts, and Make N' Mold Melting Wafers.
Using my scale, I weighed 6 ounces of each candy.
Using a 1000 watt microwave, I started off with 45 seconds at 70% power for each bowl of candy.
The Merckens and Make N' Mold only needed one time in the microwave. The Wilton's needed a bit more to fully melt. I should have taken my own advice and been a bit more patient, because I did get the Wilton's too hot.
My humble opinion (if ya got two cents):
Pros: Smallest wafers which may have led to quicker melting and a smoother consistency.
Melted smooth without being too runny. I prefer a thicker coating. The coating stays put and does not drip down stick or make funny "tails" on the pops.
Overall the best tasting coating of the three.
Cons: Not sold in craft stores. Must order online or find local baking supply store.
Price: $3.80 -$4 per pound. Discount in bulk purchasing
Wilton's Candy Melts
Pros: Cheapest and most easily found in craft stores (or even Wal-Mart).
Cons: Thickest coating. Too thick in my opinion. The thicker the coating the more likelihood of it pulling the cake pop off the stick. Largest wafer size takes longer to melt.
Price: $3 for 14 oz bag. Can be found on sale for $2
Make N' Mold Melting Wafers
Pros: Of these three, I thought this had the best dipping consistency and was the easiest to work with.
Cons: Somewhat difficult to find (locally at A.C. Moore only or online)
Price: $3.30 for 14 oz. bag online. Discount in bulk purchasing.
All in all, the pops looked the same. I could see no difference in the final product. I think it comes down to your preference and your budget. For me, Wilton’s is fine when it’s on sale :) and I am lucky to have Merckens and Make N’ Mold within an hour drive of my house.
Have fun creating!