Chocolate, although eaten by many simply as candy, is also widely used in the kitchen. There are many recipes for chocolate, including cookies, cakes and even turkey! Did you know that Mexico has a national dish which includes a chocolate sauce poured over roasted turkey? Because of this it is hard to say what the best recipe for chocolate is. However, it is possible to learn how to make the best recipe chocolate around.
Different recipes require different forms of chocolate. In order to make sure that the confection does not get damaged during the cooking process, certain steps have to be taken. Here are a few tips:
1) Melting – Always use a double boiler. If you don't have one, you can choose to set up an alternative. First, get a saucepan and pour some water in it. A couple of inches of water should do fine.
Next, take a heatproof bowl which fits over the saucepan snugly. Place over the stove. Place the chocolate in the bowl. Turn on the stove. When the water in the pan turns to steam and heats the bottom of the bowl, the chocolate will begin to melt. Stir this frequently and make sure that steam or water condensation does not get into the chocolate for this will ruin it.
Water or steam will cause your chocolate to form into a lumpy, thick mass –not exactly the vision of perfect melted chocolate. However, you can do something about this. Add one or two tablespoons of vegetable shortening in order to turn the mass smooth again.
2) Chocolate curls or shavings – Some people think that this is so easy. Actually, it's easy to get wrong. People who take a knife and try to shave some curls off hard chocolate will find that they end up with something more transparent than chocolate brown or tidbits instead of curls. What you need to do is heat the chocolate, and the peeler (not ordinary knife) a little bit first. This will get you nice thick curls to use in cakes or pastries.
3) Grating – Some people prefer to use a blender in order to make grating chocolate easier. If you do this, make sure that you cut the chocolate into small pieces so you do not damage the appliance. You should also make sure that the chocolate is hard and dry. If there's a bit of moisture in there, you will end up with one soggy mess. The same tip goes with using a grater.
4) Storage – Chocolate has a shelf life of about a year –dark chocolate, that is. With milk chocolate, you have about 6 months to use it. Make sure that you keep chocolate in a cool, dry place and sealed in a container to avoid moisture from getting in and causing "bloom" the whitish-grayish film composed of cocoa butter. This can be quite unattractive and would change the flavor of the chocolate.
Chocolate also responds adversely to any sudden temperature changes. It is okay to freeze chocolate if you are planning to bake with it. However, for making candies, this is highly inadvisable. When you do take the baking chocolate out of the freezer, remember to let it warm to room temperature before putting it in the oven.
5) Couverture – The best recipe chocolate for making coating for pastries is called couverture. This type of chocolate contains a high percent of cocoa butter. It is prized by many pastry chefs. Tasting this type of chocolate is actually compared to tasting fine wine as the subtle differences in flavor can easily be noticed when comparing one couverture with another.
6) Chips – The chocolate chip is well loved by kids and adults alike. However, you should know that although the chocolate chip or great for making cookies, you shouldn’t be tempted to use it for melting. Why is this? Well, chocolate chips actually contain less cocoa butter than you semisweet chocolate. This makes them quite thick and difficult to work with when melted.
7) Try the chocolate- Selecting the best recipe chocolate is often as easy as selecting one that you actually enjoy eating. Make sure that you try a piece before you buy chocolate to cook with. Take note of the aroma, the color and the breaking of the chocolate.
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