Confectionery coatings, which contain a vegetable fat other than cocoa butter, have become very popular with home cooks and confectioners in recent years because they are so versatile and easy to use, even in warmer weather. These chocolate look-alikes contain cocoa powder, vanilla, fruit or peanut flavorings, sugar, milk solids, and lecithin, in vegetable-oil base (usually palm kernel oil) that does not require tempering. Though they resemble chocolate in appearance and usage, confectionery coatings have a weaker chocolate flavor and aroma, melt at a higher temperature, and cost less than most brands of real chocolate. Many leave a waxy residue in the mouth, which is caused by the melting qualities of the fats they contain-not by the presence of paraffin (which is not an ingredient). Never combine confectionery coating with chocolate, because the fats are incompatible. Doing so will cause a discoloration to appear on the surface of the chocolate.
Confectionery coatings come in a variety of shapes, colors, and flavors. Since they do not contain cocoa butter or significant amounts of chocolate liquor, they cannot be called chocolate, and are instead identified as confectionery coating, compound coating, pastel coating, summer coating, or chocolate-flavored coating.