Baking with Chocolate Slabs

Baked goodies usually call for dark chocolate rather than milk chocolate. While milk chocolate is yummy and smooth to eat, the ‘chocolateyness’ of dark chocolate gives bakes a darker colour and enriches mousses, cakes and tarts in a way that milk chocolate does not.  

Coating with Chocolate – the Secret to Tempering

Tempering chocolate is important if you want your chocolate coating to be glossy, smooth and easier to work with. Do this by melting it gently in a ‘bain-marie’/ double boiler (rest a metal bowl on a saucepan of simmering water, without the bowl resting on the water)

Melt chopped pieces of chocolate evenly; stir continuously and beware of any water splashes that will make your chocolate lumpy; keep 1 quarter un-melted chocolate in a separate bowl to add later, when all the chocolate is melted.

Bring the chocolate to approx. 48°C for Dark Chocolate and approx. 45°C for Milk Chocolate, and remove the chocolate from the bain-marie.

Keep back a third of the hot melted chocolate. Add the remaining finely chopped chocolate into the rest of the melted chocolate, stirring constantly. Dark chocolate should reach a temperature of 28°C, while milk chocolate should reach 27°C. The add the hotter melted chocolate that you have set aside (this will increase the temperature slightly). Dark chocolate should reach 31°C, while milk chocolate should reach 30°C Stir until the right temperature is reached.

Compound vs pure chocolate

Compound chocolate contains vegetable fat in place of cocoa butter (the fat portion of chocolate). Chocolate should melt at your body temperature, luxuriously disintegrating in the mouth. Compound chocolates melting abilities are slightly different in that cocoa butter and vegetable fat have differing melting points; compound chocolate may result in a slower melting chocolate that leaves a greasy mouth-feel.

What is couverture?

Couverture is a French word meaning “to cover”. This term is applied to chocolate that can be applied very thinly (as a cover) due to its high cocoa butter content, normally 32% or higher.

Baking with cocoa powder

Cocoa powder consists of cocoa solids in a powdered form. When baking a chocolate cake, dust the tin with cocoa instead of using flour.

Bake Stable Chocolate Chips

Chocolate chips contain a balance of ingredients that allow the bits to be baked in biscuits and cakes, but yet retain their shape.

Decorating with Chocolate Curls

Spread melted chocolate over a dry marble/ glass surface. Wait until the melted chocolate is just set but not hard.

Holding a knife at a 45-degree angle away from you, scrape the chocolate into curls. (If it breaks, it too hard – scrape it off and melt it again.)

Chocolate Ganache

Ganache is a mixture of cream and melted chocolate used to ice cakes, poured over desserts or allowed to set in a tart. For a rich, silky ganache – mix 50% warm cream into 50% melted chocolate, adding a third of the cream at a time.