Technique: Double Boiling
A double boiler is used when you need a very gentle heat source. This method is often used for melting chocolate or making sauces that contain eggs. It helps avoid scorching or burning.
While there is an actual double boiler that you can purchase (a pan specifically designed to fit inside a slightly larger pan), you can do the same thing with a heatproof bowl and a saucepan. Use a bowl with a rounded bottom that, when set on top of a saucepan, sits at least 3 inches above the bottom of the pan. Place about 2-inches of water in pan, set the bowl on top, and place your ingredients in the bowl. Bring the water to a simmer (just below boiling) and use the heat from the steam to cook your sauce or melt chocolate.