Chocolate

Chocolate

By
From
Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery

Chocolate and cocoa are made from the bean of the cacao tree. Chocolate was first enjoyed as a hot drink, later it was used for baking, then a great development took place in Switzerland when someone thought of combining milk and chocolate for eating.

Chocolate is more than a delicacy; it is good solid food and nourishment and is considered as such by many nations. Chocolate is part of army rations in times of stress. Mountaineers carry it with them as a matter of course. French children eat it on bread instead of butter and jam, and the comfort derived from a bar of chocolate when one is feeling tired is not to be underestimated.

Chocolate is also used in baking – chocolate cake is an international favourite. It is essential to some of the world’s most delicious cakes and sweets – truffles, éclairs, chocolate mousse. Chocolate sauce is superb with ice creams or spooned over profiteroles.

Dark chocolate is semi-sweet (the less sugar that is added to chocolate, the stronger its flavour) and ideal for cooking. Use for icings, mousse, sauces, etc.; it has a high fat content so is easy to melt and the sugar in it helps to produce a good sheen.

Milk chocolate, available in bars, has dried milk added to the formula. It is lighter and milder than chocolate without milk added, and is used primarily as an eating chocolate.

Chocolate pieces, packaged in bits, is a semi-sweet dark chocolate. They retain their shape to some extent in baking, and are especially adapted to biscuit or cookie making.

Powdered or drinking chocolate was introduced before eating chocolate; use in hot or cold milk drinks.

Cooking chocolate is a semi-sweet dark chocolate. Cheap cooking chocolate compounds are available and are suitable for use in cakes.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
see method for ingredients

Method

  1. To melt chocolate: It burns so easily it is best to melt it on a plate or in a bowl over a pan of hot water – if chocolate is overheated it scorches. Break up or grate chocolate first so it melts more evenly and quickly.
  2. To make chocolate curls: Use a swivel-bladed vegetable peeler. Have chocolate at room temperature, peel little curls of chocolate from edge of the block. Store in refrigerator until required.
  3. To make chocolate caraque: This is the classic chocolate decoration for cakes and many desserts. It takes practice and skill to make, but is well worth the trouble. Shred or grate 90 g good dark chocolate and melt it on a plate over a pan of hot water. Do not allow the plate to get too hot and work chocolate with a palette knife. Spread it thinly on a marble slab. When just on point of setting, curl it off with a thin knife – the chocolate will form long scrolls or flakes. Place these on baking paper and chill in refrigerator; handle carefully. Keep in an airtight container if necessary.
  4. Chocolate glaze: Melt together 60 g butter and 60 g dark chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Beat in 2 tablespoons boiling water, 125 g icing sugar, sifted, 1 pinch salt and ¼ teaspoon vanilla. Use as a glaze over chocolate cake.
  5. Rum chocolate frosting: Melt 90 g dark chocolate with 125 ml rum over low heat. Add 500 g icing sugar, sifted, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in 60 g soft butter. Add a little more rum, if necessary, to make frosting of spreading consistency. Use to frost and fill chocolate cakes or gâteaux.
  6. Chocolate mint sauce: This is one of the easiest recipes for chocolate sauce. Put 12 chocolate peppermint creams in a small bowl that will fit over a pan of boiling water. Melt creams, then stir in 125 ml cream. Serve warm or cool, spooned over ice cream or poached or tinned pears.
  7. Mexican chocolate: This is especially prepared for making into drinks, and is strongly flavoured with cinnamon. You can get the same effect by melting 30 g grated dark chocolate in a mug of hot milk, with ¼–½ teaspoon cinnamon added. Beat with a whisk until foamy, adding a little brown sugar if you prefer it sweeter.
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