Hilliard's System

Little Dipper - Refurbished & New

Donna Smith
Little Dipper - Refurbished & New
by Donna Smith - Wednesday, 7 September 2011, 12:45 PM


I bought my first Little Dipper in the fall of 2007. I had just started business. I didn’t have a lot of money, but at the PhiladelphiaCandy Show, I had seen the Little Dipper in operation, and I had read an article about James Bourne, the company president of Hilliard’s Chocolate Systems in Manufacturing Confections magazine, a freebie we got at the show.

I was impressed with the fact that Jim Bourne had spent his whole career life at Hilliard’s, then was asked to take over the company. I had seen the tempering machine in operation.

Since I’m a home manufacturer, I wouldn’t have room for anything but a table-top tempering machine on the counter. I emailed Jim Bourne after the Candy Show.

I was able to get a refurbished Little Dipper at a reducedrate. I did have to pay for shipping, since I wanted the machine for theholiday season, and I live in PA, and Hilliard’s is in MA.

It arrived in great condition, and I’ve been really happy with it. It’s simple and easy to use. Sometimes, creative people are not too technically oriented. This is great for non-techies.

The re-furbished version is louder, I think, because it’s older. It’s not a digital switch, but a dial. To maintain, it’s fairly easy to take apart and clean if necessary, and put back together. It only takes two 100-watt light bulbs, and it’s easy to change them. You just unscrew the back and replace the bulbs.

I honestly really like this machine and would recommend it to anyone wanting a tabletop professional machine. It holds temper well, and does a great job. It’s easily moved around, easy to clean, although it takes about a half hour.

I’ve used my re-furbished Little Dipper fairly hard since 2007. I don’t change the type of chocolate I use in it, except when I got a new Little Dipper this past January. I used the refurbished machine for 3 years and melted and tempered dark chocolate, now it's dedicated to milk chocolate.


I liked it so well, I bought a new one this past January (2011) to melt and temper dark chocolate. I use the new one for dark.

I really like the new one as well. The fan is quieter, and more efficient. It melts chocolate considerably faster than the older, refurbished model. Because it’s new, it has a digital thermometer, so you can set it for the precise degree you want, right down to the tenth of a degree. I like my dark chocolate slightly under the top range of 90°. I set my new Little Dipper at 89.1°. I noticed that it actually melts and tempersquickly, and keeps a ‘range’ from 88.8 to about 90.5 when it’s keeping temper.


Overall, I really like my two Little Dippers. They each serve their purpose well, are mobile, and do up to about 20 pounds per day. I’m not sure I’ve done capacity yet, but I have come close around Valentine’s Day.

I would recommend the Little Dipper to anyone just starting out with either a small shop or a home-based business, like mine. I never considered the Revolution machines, as I read comments from users that theyweren’t terribly accurate in keeping temper.

I also was trying to look ahead at the possibility of someday moving out of the house into a small retail/manufacturing facility. I knew these are a great starting point.

Another thing I like about Hilliard’s. Jim Bourne, the company president, is very accessible and very helpful. I contacted him directly in purchasing both my machines. I got a great deal on my new machine,because I picked it up at the Candy Show in January. That’s the best way to go. Contact the company, reserve the machine, so to speak, with an intent to purchase. They bring it to the Show, and at the end, you pick it up! Mine was actually being used by the Wilbur booth at the Show. They cleaned it up for me, and helped me take it to my car trunk.


I use my Little Dipper for nearly everything. I dip centers, make shells, bars, truffle bottoms, and drizzles. Its best use is dipping, but will work well for making shells. I pour excess chocolate from the molds into a different pan to let it set, however, rather than make a mess attempting to shake the chocolate back into the Dipper.

Depending on air quality and conditions, I will sometimes dip and/or cover pretzels, although I have had challenges with them. I prefer to hand temper in a double boiler for those, because I feel I have more control. Since I mostly make things in small batches, the Little Dipper works well for me.