Almost everyone loves chocolate.
And if you love to bake, at some point in time, there’s probably going to come a day when you’ll want to bake something with chocolate in it.
But here’s the thing.
Whether you’re baking, cooking, or just preparing food that has chocolate or cocoa included in the ingredient list, there are some things you need to keep in mind.
Knowing what to do and what not to do when it comes to cooking with chocolate could mean the difference between a dish that’s outstandingly delicious, or a dessert that’s just a little bit on the ‘weird’ side.
So in this post, you’re gonna learn five tried and tested tips for how to cook successfully with chocolate to give you the best odds of success.
Need I say it again?
Everybody loves chocolate.
It tastes delicious.
It’s savory. It’s sweet.
And it makes you happy, right?
But here’s the thing.
Overdoing it on chocolate can sometimes have a negative effect on your dish.
Chocolate is also rich.
It’s full of delicious fats and sugars.
This is why we like it.
But it can also mean that if you overdo it, the dessert just may end up too rich to enjoy.
So if you’re not completely sure how much chocolate to use, opt to tread sparingly until you get the recipe nailed down and perfected.
Not all chocolate is created equal.
Some types of chocolate have more organic natural cocoa than others.
Cheap chocolate can be especially tricky, because it can actually contain a lot more sugar than anything else.
It’s also true that different types of chocolate have different consistencies.
Chocolate chips, for example, may be a lot different in their consistency than bars of chocolate—especially if they were formulated to do different things.
So before cooking with chocolate, make sure to consult the recipe and try to determine which type of chocolate to use, and how much cocoa that chocolate should contain, to be the best match for your recipe.
Chocolate chips generally contain stabilizers that help to prevent melting.
This makes them an excellent choice for chocolate chip cookies, but it doesn’t make them a very good choice for dishes that require you to melt a lot of chocolate down into a liquid spreadable form.
As stated before, not all chocolate is created equal.
Now here’s the thing—real chocolate is harvested from cocoa beans.
That’s the stuff that’s expensive and amazingly delicious.
Fake chocolate, on the other hand, mostly consists of oils and processed sugar.
It doesn’t taste as good, and it’s not the real thing.
Most of the chocolate you can buy on store shelves is going to be made up of some kind of combination of these two things.
It’s going to contain a certain amount of genuine cocoa, and then a certain amount of other processed ingredients that are added to the cocoa to make it taste a bit less bitter, work better as a baking ingredient, and also just make it more affordable.
Now, you don’t have to go all-out and buy the most expensive pure chocolate, especially if you’ve never baked with it before.
However, it is in your best interest to spend a little bit more to get something that’s a little bit better and purer, that has a higher quality to it than the cheapest thing on the shelf.
Real chocolate will always contain cocoa butter.
Fake chocolate, on the other hand, is called ‘compound chocolate.’ It’s made with cheaper sourced fat that serves as a replacement for cocoa butter.
You can always tell when chocolate is made with real cocoa butter, because it’ll literally melt at body temperature.
It’ll literally melt in your mouth.
Chopping chocolate can actually be surprisingly difficult.
In fact, it can be downright frustrating if you don’t know how to go about it effectively.
To start with, a good rule of thumb is to use a long serrated knife when chopping, crushing, or reducing the size of chocolate.
Opt for this over a knife that isn’t serrated, or over some kind of crushing implement (like a tenderizer).
The serrated knife is going to give you your best shot at actually reducing the size of the chocolate and chopping it up to be the size you want it to be.
There you have it.
Five tips to keep in mind when cooking with chocolate.
Of course, remember that when it comes to baking with an ingredient as special as cocoa, very few things can make up for experience.
So get yourself some high-quality cocoa, choose a few recipes, and give it a try.
You might be surprised at what you can come up with!