Top Tips for Working with Chocolate
Does chocolate inspire you? Work with it more often! Our DIY kitchen tips will help you create delicious desserts and tempered treats from chocolate bars and baking chocolate. By understanding chocolate’s flavor profiles and chemistry, you’ll appreciate its benefits and beauty. It’ll also help you make your favorite chocolate recipes.
Get to Know Chocolate
The more you know chocolate, the more you appreciate it. People have been consuming chocolate for thousands of years. In ancient times, it was considered the food of the gods. Over time, cultures experimented with chocolate and created more recipes. Today, we still make chocolate from roasted cacao. Pure cacao is a rich source of the plant alkaloid theobromine. Quality plant based chocolate can help to nourish the mind and body. It’s also undeniably delicious. Take a bite, and you’ll notice the rich and creamy tastes of cocoa powder and cocoa butter.
Dark chocolate features pure cacao and has the most cocoa solids of all types of chocolate. Milk chocolate has less, while white chocolate doesn’t have any cocoa solids at all. Instead, white chocolate combines cocoa butter and milk sweetened with sugar.
Use Quality Chocolate
Every chocolate recipe is better when you choose quality chocolate. So, how do you know which product is best for you? We like to use organic and plant-based chocolate, especially from those manufacturers that make non-GMO bars and guarantee 100% traceability of their cacao. Quality chocolate makers care about the origins and flavors of their products, so shop around to discover brands with sustainability programs and diverse flavor profiles. You don’t have to settle for the milk chocolate bar on the store shelves. After all, products with unnecessary additives can affect the taste of your treats.
Thankfully, you’ll find quality flavors for every recipe. Chocolate tarts often call for lush, fruity bars to enhance the other ingredients. If you’re making a new chocolate cookie recipe, you may include nutty or citrusy treats. Chocolate has the flavor complexity of wine, making it a delight to incorporate craft chocolate bars and baking chocolate into your donuts or hot cocoa. Quality chocolate can also help to elevate everyday favorites like chocolate cake icing or chocolate-covered strawberries.
Take Your Time
Working with chocolate requires patience! Give yourself ample time to melt chocolate or temper it for your recipe. If you rush this part of the baking process, you may not melt the chocolate properly. You’ll also risk the delicious flavor and texture of your dessert. Make sure your chocolate melts before you add it to batter. Chunky chocolate can give cookies or cakes an uneven taste and consistency. Don’t forget to take time to measure your ingredients. Even the slightest ingredient adjustment in baking can throw off the entire recipe. Eventually, the melting and tempering of chocolate will become second nature. Many chocolate workers find that they memorize the temperature and look of the chocolate as they make it.
Learn How to Temper Chocolate
If you like working with chocolate, tempering is a fundamental skill. It may sound complex, but you can easily do it at home. Tempering is a way to heat and cool chocolate. The method stabilizes the product for making confections but also gives your treats an impressive look and texture.
Lightly tempered chocolate is a softer bite with a dull appearance, while heavily tempered chocolate is firmer and glossier. By controlling the melting point and temperature of the chocolate, you can make a delicious treat or dessert. There is more than one way to temper chocolate, so find the one that works for you and your recipe. The microwave method is convenient but best for making smaller chocolate quantities.
Chefs and bakers with a marble tabletop can use it to turn melted chocolate into a tempered delight. The seeding method is another popular technique using a double boiler. When you “seed” your chocolate, you slowly add solid baking discs to smooth melted chocolate. Whatever method you choose, follow a guide for your chocolate’s melting and cooling temperatures. It’s also important to know the product’s working or reheated temperatures.
Have the Right Tools
It’s much easier to work with chocolate when you have the right tools, so collect your kitchen essentials. Every chocolatier should have a double boiler for melting and tempering chocolate. It’s also helpful to have a candy thermometer for melting and cooling temperatures. A palette knife will help to smooth chocolate on a marble tabletop. It also prevents lumps on cake frosting and in chocolate batter.
Candy molds make it possible to craft fun and tasty confections. Spatulas of different sizes will help you transfer smooth chocolate for various recipes. Don’t forget your whisk for making ganache and rich chocolate fillings. Piping bags and plastic funnels make getting chocolate into molds and small spaces more manageable.
Protect the Chocolate
The chemistry of chocolate can change quickly. Protect the flavor and texture of your confections by keeping your chocolate dry and at room temperature. Ensure that steam and moisture from your double boiler don’t affect the consistency of your melted chocolate. Keep your ingredients away from sinks and other wet kitchen areas. Have a kitchen towel handy for removing drops of moisture and liquid from tabletops and bowls.
When you work with chocolate, don’t use cold tools. The frigid temperature may cause the chocolate to seize up, which turns it from smooth to grainy. If you store your chocolate bars or baking chocolate, keep them in a cool, dry place with a warm ambient temperature.
Make Delicious Chocolate Recipes
Working with chocolate requires knowledge and patience but is worth the effort. Once you learn the art of chocolate making, you can create the world’s most delicious recipes. Unlock endless tasty options, from chocolate-covered fruit to towering layer cakes and warm hot cocoa.