Who doesn’t like chocolate? You can add it to cookies, cakes, or make a giant chocolate bunny from it for Easter! However, if we know one thing, that is how hard chocolate is to mold. Chocolate may be a delight, but it can be a pain to work with.
If you are working with chocolate, you need to time it right. Chocolate is an emulsion that is formed from cocoa solids and fat. This is why it can melt in your hands!
Luckily, a few tips can get you on better terms with your chocolate!
Method 1: Melt It
The most common way to work with chocolate is to melt it first. However, there is an art to melting chocolate without ruining it. Since chocolate melts quite quickly, there’s no need to force it.
1. Use the Stove
Yes, you can use the oldest method of melting chocolate known to humanity! All you need is a glass bowl and a pan of boiling water. Place the bowl over the pot and add your chocolate. It may take longer for the chocolate to melt, but it will ensure you don’t burn it.
Make sure you break the chocolate up before adding it to the bowl to prevent it from overheating. Try to put some distance between the water and the bowl. Remember that water will ruin the chocolate if it spills into the bowl.
Turn off the heat when you notice the chocolate melting, as it is very easy to burn!
Working with chocolate inside a microwave requires a level of expertise. This is because you cannot see the chocolate and can easily overcook it. Break the chocolate before adding it to a microwavable bowl and melt it on medium heat, 30 seconds at a time. Keep checking it, and don’t leave it cooking for too long.
You can always melt the chocolate that hasn’t melted, but you cannot reverse burnt chocolate! Be extremely careful and patient with the process.
Since the oven can handle excessive heat, ensure you adjust the temperature to the lowest setting before putting the chocolate in the oven. Do not leave the chocolate unattended!
Method 2: Chop It
Another way to work with chocolate is to chop it up. Chopping chocolate can make it melt quickly and prevent some parts from overheating. Use serrated knives to cut your chocolates. Simply place the tip on the cutting board so that the blade faces a corner of the chocolate and push the chocolate down with both hands.
Using a serrated knife is way better as it will get you thinner pieces in lesser time. Blunt knives may take longer and will not do as good a job.
As an alternate, you can also make chocolate curls. These curls can be used to decorate cakes or pies. You will need a block of dark or moderately bitter chocolate for curls. Before making the curls, soften the chocolate in the microwave for a minute.
Use a peeler to make the curls.
Method 3: Temper It
Working with chocolate can be tricky if you don’t know how to work with the different temperatures. Chocolate can take different shapes with changing temperatures. Tempered chocolate is much better than simple chocolate since it has a better texture.
Tempering chocolate is challenging but not impossible. The process involves heating, cooling, and then heating the chocolate again. An easier way to replicate the process is to melt ¾ cup of chocolate and add ¼ cup of grated chocolate to the same portion.
Method 4: Mold It
Another way to work with chocolate is to mold it, which can be done if you work with smaller batches. Chocolate melts easily, so it is essential to freeze it as soon as you are done shaping it. You need to time it right and not over freeze or overheat the chocolate, as that can lead to imperfections.
Molding chocolate requires chocolate molds since it is quite hard to get chocolate out of other molds. Wet, cold, or dusty molds can also ruin the chocolate.
Method 5: Decorate with It
Another popular way to work with chocolate is to decorate with it. Chocolate can solidify just as easily as it melts, so you need to be quick on your feet. If you are attempting to create shapes, use parchment paper so your chocolate doesn’t stick.
You can trace the shape on the parchment paper and pipe the chocolate onto the shape. Alternatively, you can add chocolate to the parchment paper and use cookie cutters to cut out different shapes.
If you do not have a piping bag, it is pretty easy to create one. Use a plastic bag and cut a hole in one corner. Pipe the chocolate through the bag. A piping bag is necessary for trickier and more intricate shapes; however, if you are a beginner, we suggest you stick to the basic ones.
Safety is important, and since working with hot liquids can lead to burns, we suggest gloves. Pipe the chocolate thick as thin piping can lead to broken pieces.
To Sum it Up
Working with chocolate can be so much fun if you know the ropes. Since chocolate is delicate and easily melted, work quickly and patiently. Handle the chocolate carefully, and do not get overexcited with your efforts, as this can lead to burnt chocolate.
Chocolate is diverse and can be added to anything and everything. However, as baking shows have proved to us repeatedly, it is a tricky ingredient to work with! That doesn’t mean you stop trying. Keep baking and keep working with your chocolate!