Monday, August 11, 2008


Chocolate is a year round favorite - it's not just for Valentine's Day and Easter. The following tips will help chocolate lovers work with chocolate throughout the year.
* Melting chocolate - It scorches easily, so it should be melted over hot, not boiling, water. It is best to use a double boiler, kept below simmering. If steam curls up and hits the chocolate mixture, it will thicken the mixture to a stiff mass. You can melt chocolate directly over very low heat in a heavy-gauge saucepan, but you must watch the mixture carefully.
* Microwave method - Place a 1-ounce square in a 1-cup glass measuring cup. Microwave, uncovered, at medium (50 percent) power for 1 to 2 minutes or until chocolate is almost melted. Stir until melted and smooth. Add 10 seconds for each additional ounce of chocolate.
* Making chocolate curls - Use a vegetable peeler with a long, narrow blade and a chunk or bar of chocolate. Warm chocolate and blade slightly. Be sure your peeler is completely dry. Draw the peeler along the smooth surface of the chocolate.
* Grating chocolate - Be sure the block of chocolate is cool and firm. Grate with a hand grater, cleaning the grater often so the chocolate does not clog the surface of the blade. You can use a blender, but you will need to cut the chocolate into small pieces.
* Storing chocolate - It should be tightly wrapped and stored in a cool, dry place at a temperature of about 60 degrees. If the chocolate becomes too warm, the cocoa butter rises to the surface and forms a dusty gray film known as "bloom." The "bloom" is not harmful, and, once the chocolate is melted, it returns to its rich brown color. If you store chocolate in the refrigerator or freezer, take it out and let it stand until it returns to room temperature before you use it in a recipe. Chocolate is very sensitive to sudden changes in temperature.
Chocolate substitutions. To substitute for:
* 1-ounce square unsweetened chocolate - Use 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa plus 1 tablespoon shortening.
* 1 ounce semisweet chocolate - Use 3 tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips or 1-ounce square unsweetened chocolate and 1 tablespoon sugar
* 6-ounce package (1 cup) semisweet chocolate morsels - Use 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup shortening
* 4-ounce bar sweet baking chocolate - Use 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa, 1/3 cup sugar and 3 tablespoons shortening.
Gadsden times - April 2008

For the Best in Sweets , Desserts & Drinks , Log on to...