Using paraffin wax in making chocolates is a holdover from older candy-making techniques. The paraffin was used to help the chocolate set properly. It was also a somewhat dangerous practice, because paraffin is the same wax used in making candles. Although only tiny amounts of paraffin were used in making chocolates, it is still a substance not approved for human consumption, and you have other options.
Almond bark is somewhat of a misnomer, because no almonds are used in making this product. Almond bark is made of partially hydrogenated vegetable oil. It can be used as a substitute for chocolate itself, to hold confections like gingerbread houses together, or as a substitute for paraffin wax as an additive to chocolates.
Video of the Day
Compound coatings are similar to almond bark. They are formulated by combining cocoa powder with vegetable oil. Like almond butter, this combination has a low melting temperature. The combination is also receptive to other added flavors. Compound coatings can be added to chocolate whenever you're dipping items, garnishing desserts, molding candies and baking.
Common Cupboard Substitutions
A homemade molding compound can be made by adding 2 tablespoons light corn syrup to 1/2 cup melted chocolate. Similarly, because almond bark and compound coatings are made up of vegetable oils, vegetable shortening can be used. Substitute a couple of tablespoons of the shortening for every half bar of paraffin called for in a recipe.
The final substitute is to use nothing. Paraffin, almond bark and compound coatings are used to help chocolate set properly. They are additives that are not needed when the chocolate has been tempered properly. Tempering stabilizes chocolate through a careful process of melting and cooling the chocolate within precise temperature ranges. Although the process is a difficult skill to acquire, when done properly, you don't need to add anything to the chocolate.