Few things in the world can compare to the sheer decadence and indulgence of chocolate. Whether used to add depth and richness to a dish or enjoyed on its own as a treat, chocolate has an almost magical ability to make us feel good.
But cooking with chocolate can be tricky. It’s easy to burn or seize, and not all chocolates are created equal. In this post, we’ll explore the different types of chocolate and techniques for cooking with them.
Types of Chocolate
When cooking with chocolate, it’s important to know the differences between the types of chocolate available. Here are the most common types:
Also known as baking chocolate, unsweetened chocolate is pure chocolate liquor with no added sugar. It’s extremely bitter and not meant to be eaten on its own. Unsweetened chocolate is best used in baking where sugar is added separately.
Bittersweet chocolate is similar to unsweetened chocolate, but it has some sugar added as well. It has a strong, intense flavor and is often used in baking.
Semisweet chocolate has more sugar added than bittersweet chocolate, making it slightly sweeter with a less intense flavor. It’s the most commonly used type of chocolate in baking.
Milk chocolate is made with milk powder or condensed milk, giving it a creamy texture and sweeter taste. It’s not typically used in high-end baking, but is great for making candy or adding a touch of sweetness to a baked good.
White chocolate isn’t technically chocolate since it doesn’t contain any cocoa solids, but it’s still a popular choice for baking. It’s made with cocoa butter, sugar, and milk solids, giving it a sweet, buttery flavor.
Cooking with Chocolate
Now that we’ve covered the types of chocolate, let’s dive into some tips for cooking with chocolate.
Melting chocolate can be tricky since it can easily burn or seize. To melt chocolate, chop it into small, even pieces and heat it in a heat-safe bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Be sure to stir constantly and remove it from the heat as soon as it’s melted.
Tempering chocolate refers to the process of heating and cooling chocolate to specific temperatures to ensure a smooth, shiny finish. It’s most commonly used for dipping fruits or making candy.
To temper chocolate, melt it in a heat-safe bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Once melted, remove the bowl from the heat and add a small amount of unmelted chocolate. Stir until the unmelted chocolate is completely melted, then repeat the process until all the chocolate is melted and the temperature has reached the desired range.
Using Chocolate in Baking
When baking with chocolate, it’s important to choose the right type for the recipe. For example, if a recipe calls for unsweetened chocolate and you use milk chocolate instead, the end result will be much sweeter than intended.
It’s also a good idea to chop the chocolate into small, even pieces to ensure it melts evenly throughout the recipe.
Using Chocolate for Decoration
Chocolate can be used to add beautiful, decadent decoration to baked goods. To make a chocolate drizzle, simply melt the chocolate and drizzle it over the finished product using a fork. To create a chocolate swirl, melt different types of chocolate and use a toothpick to swirl them together.
Cooking with chocolate can be a fun and rewarding experience with the right techniques and knowledge. Understanding the different types of chocolate and how to properly melt and temper it can take your baked goods to the next level. So, the next time you’re craving something sweet, grab your favorite type of chocolate and get cooking!