This week I am going to tell you a little bit more about one of my favorite subjects – chocolate. I mean really, it’s hard not to love. There are so many types and uses that you could eat it a different way every day.
Speaking of the different types, there are eight different kinds of chocolate. Check them out and what they mean to your recipe:
Unsweetened Chocolate – This is a basic chocolate that is very flexible in recipes because it does not contain sugar. Don’t attempt to eat this by itself as you will be very disappointed!
Semisweet/Bittersweet Chocolate – This is unsweetened chocolate with some sugar added. The amount of sugar varies based on the brand.
Milk Chocolate – Unsweetened chocolate with sugar and milk powder added. The color is lighter and it has a milder flavor than dark chocolate.
Sweet Chocolate – This is stronger than milk chocolate and has a lot of sugar added.
White Chocolate – This isn’t really chocolate! It is a mixture of cocoa butter, milk and sugar.
Coating Chocolate – This is made from vegetable oil instead of cocoa butter. It’s easier to work with but don’t expect the same chocolate flavor.
Unsweetened Cocoa – This is also known as cocoa powder. It is the powder residue left when the cocoa butter is pressed out of unsweetened chocolate. It can be found in two varieties, natural and Dutch-processed. They cannot be interchanged in a recipe.
German Chocolate – This is not actually from Germany. It was named after Sam German, the Baker’s Chocolate employee who developed it.
Chocolate does not like heat and it HATES water! This can make melting it and using it in a recipe a little tricky. To melt chocolate use a sharp knife to chop it into small pieces. This will reduce the amount of time it has to spend over the heat. Never use direct heat to melt chocolate! Place it in a glass or metal bowl above a pot of simmering water. Make sure that all of your utensils and the bowl are completely dry. Even a single drop of water will cause the chocolate to seize and you will have to throw it away and start all over again. Also make sure that the bowl fits snugly on the pot so the steam can’t sneak around the edge and get in the chocolate. Don’t cover the bowl as any condensation that may form can drip into your chocolate. As chocolate melts it keeps its shape. Be sure to stir frequently and remove from the heat as soon as it is melted. Allow to cool before adding to your recipe unless otherwise stated.
Chocolate can be melted in the microwave. Please be careful doing this since microwaves vary so much. Chop your chocolate and put it in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat on high for 30 seconds and then stir. Continue heating at 15 second intervals and stirring each time until melted. Watch it closely as you don’t want it to scorch.
I hope you enjoyed these fun facts and tips about chocolate. Just typing this makes me want to go eat some Hershey’s kisses!