Working with chocolate can be a frustrating endeavor because it is a fairly finicky medium to work with. Although very tasty, if you don’t know the proper tips and tricks, your chocolate creation can turn into a real mess! Here are some of the best tricks to know when you are working with this sinful ingredient.
Measuring cocoa, flour and sugar – When measuring these dry ingredients, its best to spoon them into the measuring cup and level it off with the strait edge of a knife. If you tap it, it will pack it down and cause inaccurate measurements.
The proper chocolate – Double check your recipe before you buy your chocolate because some types of chocolate will not work with certain recipes.
Melting chocolate – When you are melting chocolate it is easy to burn it, therefore, you want to be careful in how you melt it. For best results, place the chocolate in a glass bowl over a pot of gently simmering water and continue to stir through the entire process.
Storing chocolate – You want to store chocolate in a cool place, below 75 degrees F. If the temperature is any higher, your chocolate may end up “blooming” which is when the cocoa butter rises to the surface and turns the chocolate grey. It does not change the taste of the treat but who wants to eat grey chocolate?
Chocolate and water – Whatever you do, don’t let any water touch the chocolate when it is melting. Even a single drop can cause the chocolate to tighten and makes it stiff and really hard to work with. If you do accidentally get some water in with it, try to stir in a teaspoon of vegetable oil for each square of chocolate.
Chocolate garnish – To make chocolate curls, you need to warm a square of chocolate until and use a veggie peeler to scrape curls off of the square.
Tempering chocolate – Start by setting aside 4 ounces of chocolate cut into one-inch chunks. Microwave 1 pound of chopped dark chocolate uncovered in a microwave safe plastic bowl on medium for 3 minutes and then stir.
Continue microwaving in shorter increments until 2/3 of the chocolate is melted. Stir gently until the rest of the chocolate is melted. Stick a candy thermometer in. If the temperature is less than 90 degrees F, the chocolate is in temper. If its warmer then you can cool it with the reserved chunks until it reaches that temperature.