Food Topic: Chocolate II
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Melting chocolate can be a challenge. It is important not to get any moisture in the chocolate during the melting process.   The moisture will cause the chocolate to become stiff and coarse, rather than creamy and smooth. Make sure all pans, bowls, and utensils that come into contact with the chocolate are completely dry. Just a couple of drops of water can cause the chocolate to bind together into an unusable clump.  If the chocolate does start to seize on you, remove from the heat and add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil for every 6 oz. of chocolate used, stirring briskly.  This may are may not work.


 Chocolate can be melted using one of the methods shown below: 

  • Double boiler: place the chocolate in the top pot of the double boiler and heat. Keep the water in the bottom pot hot but not boiling.  Stir occasionally through out the melting time. Keep a close eye on the water because it can boil quickly, even over low heat.  A metal bowl over a bottom pot can be used instead if you donít have a double boiler.  Just remember to dry the bottom of the pan/bowl as soon as removed from the bottom pan to avoid moisture coming into contact with the chocolate
  • Microwave: a simple, quick method.  Place chocolate into a microwave safe bowl or measuring cup.  Use the melt/soften feature or, if these features are not available, use the defrost feature.  The key is to slowly melt the chocolate so that it doesnít over heat and crystallize or break.  Stir the chopped chocolate every 2 minutes.  Eight oz. of chocolate may take up to 5 minutes to melt.  The chocolate may hold its shape but once it is stirred you will be able to tell if additional time is required. If not completely melted, microwave for 20 to 30 additional seconds and check again.
  • In a saucepan on top of the stove: use this method only if melting chocolate with butter or heavy cream to prevent scorching.  Heat over low heat, stirring frequently, until melted.



Chocolate bloom occurs when chocolate is stored at high temperature (above 80 degrees F) or experiences widely fluctuating temperatures, causing cocoa butter to crystallize on the surface as gray streaks.  Chocolate will also bloom when the chocolate is overheated when being melted.  Once cooled, the chocolate has a flat, grey appearance with a gritty texture.  There is no way to fix chocolate that has been over heated.  On occasion, when I have overheated the chocolate, I let it cool, cut it into chunks and stir into cookie dough.

 Types of Chocolate

-White chocolate is chocolate made with cocoa butter, sugar, milk, emulsifier, vanilla and sometimes other flavorings. It does not contain any non-fat ingredients from the cacao bean and has therefore an off-white color. In some countries white chocolate cannot be called 'chocolate' because of the low content of cocoa solids. It has a mild and pleasant flavor and can be used to make Chocolate Mousse, Panna Cotta and other desserts.
Cote d'Or (Belgium)Freia Hvit (Norway)Prestige White (Belgium)Fazer White (Finland)Valrhona (France)

-Milk chocolate is a sweet chocolate with 10-20% cocoa solids (which includes cocoa and cocoa butter) and more than 12% milk solids. It is seldom used for baking, except for cookies.

Butler's (Ireland)Dolfin Lait (Belgium)Hershey's (USA)Cadbury (UK)Neugebauer (Brazil)


-Dark chocolate is a sweetened chocolate with high content of cocoa solids and no or very little milk, it may contain up to 12% milk solids. Dark chocolate can either be sweet, semi-sweet, bittersweet or unsweetened. If a recipe specifies 'dark chocolate' you should first try semi-sweet dark chocolate.

-Sweet dark chocolate is similar to semi-sweet chocolate, it is not always possible to distinguish between the flavor of sweet and semi-sweet chocolate. If a recipe asks for sweet dark chocolate you may also use semi-sweet chocolate. Contains often 35-45% cocoa solids.

-Semi-sweet chocolate is the classic dark baking chocolate which can be purchased in most grocery stores. It is frequently used for cakes, cookies and brownies. Can be used instead of sweet dark chocolate. It has a good, sweet flavor. Contains often 40-62% cocoa solids.

Cadbury's 40% (Australia/New Zealand)Scharffen Berger 62% (USA)Freia (Norway)Rossijskij 40% (Russia)Nestle 44% (Switzerland)Grenada Chocolate 60% (Grenada)Cote d'Or 56% (Belgium)
Fazer (Finland)



-Bittersweet chocolate is a dark sweetened chocolate which must contain at least 35% cocoa solids. Good quality bittersweet chocolate usually contains 60% to 85% cocoa solids depending on brand. If the content of cocoa solids is high the content of sugar is low, giving a rich, intense and more or less bitter chocolate flavor. Bittersweet chocolate is often used for baking/cooking. If a recipe specifies bittersweet chocolate do not substitute with semi-sweet or sweet chocolate. Please ensure that you buy the correct type! European types of bittersweet chocolate usually contains very large amounts of cocoa solids, and some of them have quite bitter taste.

Lindt Ecuador 70% (France)Green and Black's 70% (UK)L'artisan de Chocolat 70% (UK)Scharffen Berger 70% (USA)Santander 70% (Colombia)Marcolini 72% (Belgium)Droste 75% (Netherlands)Lindt 85% (France)


-Unsweetened chocolate is a bitter chocolate which is only used for baking. The flavor is not good, so it is not suitable for eating. Use it only if a recipe specifies 'unsweetened chocolate'. It contains almost 100% cocoa solids, about half of it might be fat (cocoa butter).

 Lindt 99% (France)Bakers Unsweetened (USA)Luker (Colombia)


Chocolate Fondue

Yield: 4 Ĺ c- enough for 6-8 people

1 1/3 c corn syrup
1 c heavy cream

4 c chocolate chips or chunks (any type of chocolate)

1 tsp vanilla

 Assorted dippers: fresh fruit- pineapple chunks, strawberries, orange wedges, apple slices, coconut cubes, banana slices

                           : small pretzel twists, shortbread cookies, angel food cake cubes, graham crackers

                         : dried fruit- apricots, figs, dates              

                          : nuts- walnut or pecan halves, unsalted dry roasted peanuts


In a medium saucepan, bring the corn syrup and heavy cream to a boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate chips and vanilla, stir until the mixture is thick and smooth.

Keep warm in a fondue pot or microwavable bowl (if starts to thicken, microwave for 30 seconds), stirring occasionally.  




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