Chocolate Heaven Discover The Hidden Treasures Of Chocolate

Chocolate Heaven: Discover The Hidden Treasures of​ Chocolate
Nowadays there are so many different types of​ chocolate on​ the market, that we are literally ‘spoilt for​ choice’.
With so much publicity on​ what we should and​ should not eat, many people are turning to​ plain​ chocolate .​
Not only does plain​ chocolate have less sugar than other types, but it​ also contains a​ high proportion​ of​ cocoa solids .​
These are formed of​ pure chocolate and​ cocoa butter - a​ hard, white fat .​
The percentage of​ coca solids is​ always listed on​ the wrapper of​ the chocolate .​
Some percentages are as​ high as​ 75% or​ even higher, indicating the chocolate is​ exceptionally smooth and​ of​ high quality.
The most popular chocolate of​ all is​ milk chocolate .​
Most children adore it .​
Sweeter than plain​ chocolate it​ has extra sugar, full cream milk, and​ vanilla added to​ it.
Then there is​ white chocolate, which contains only cocoa butter, milk, sugar and​ vanilla .​
Because of​ the added milk, both this​ type of​ chocolate, and​ also milk chocolate, need to​ be melted with care over a​ gentle heat .​
Otherwise they will thicken, and​ although edible, will not re-melt.
Chocolate drops (or nibs, as​ they are sometimes called) are easy to​ melt .​
The can be used as​ a​ decoration​ on​ cakes or​ as​ an​ ingredient in​ the popular chocolate brownie cakes.
Some firms sell chocolate for​ use in​ a​ current favorite ‘chocolate fountains’ .​
These make an​ eye-catching image for​ a​ special occasion, with the melted chocolate continually flowing like a​ colored waterfall – just ready for​ guests to​ dip marshmallows, strawberry’s and​ other small fruits, into the ‘fountain’ .​
It is​ a​ good idea to​ have plenty napkins around to​ catch the drips!
Those who are diabetic often complain​ about how restricted their diet is, but at​ least they can have a​ piece of​ chocolate .​
Diabetic chocolate is​ on​ sale in​ various outlets, and​ has a​ lower percentage of​ sugar than other chocolate.
Apart from chocolates and​ bars of​ chocolate, we can also buy chocolate flakes, these contain​ both cocoa butter and​ vegetable oil .​
The butter adds flavor, and​ the oil helps to​ give the flake its crumbly consistency
Some specialist shops sell blocks of​ cocoa butter .​
this​ can be melted, mixed with cocoa powder and​ used to​ paint sepia colored pictures onto cakes or​ plaques.
Vermicelli is​ yet way another type of​ chocolate .​
These tiny strands are used for​ coating truffles and​ cakes .​
Occasionally the name can becomes confused with Italian vermicelli - fine strands of​ pasta!
A current fashion​ is​ to​ decorate a​ wedding cake with curls of​ chocolate like tall rods standing around the sides of​ the cake .​
They can be home made but it​ is​ a​ time-consuming job and​ not easy to​ make them all a​ similar size .​
So it​ is​ a​ good idea to​ buy from a​ specialist shop, when they will all be an​ equal length and​ thickness
Another type of​ coating which is​ bought by confectioners is​ known as​ Ganache .​
this​ mixture of​ cream and​ chocolate is​ very versatile .​
Melted and​ flooded over cakes, it​ is​ delicious to​ eat, and​ sets with a​ gloss .​
The higher the quality of​ the chocolate used, the greater the sheen on​ the coating.
Alternatively, it​ can be left to​ firm and​ piped
Modelling chocolate another commodity which can either be bought or​ home-made .​
this​ consists of​ liquid glucose and​ chocolate .​
The glucose makes the paste pliable and​ easy to​ model - chocolate roses are particularly popular.
and​ finally, we come to​ a​ type of​ ‘so called chocolate’ which can cause confusion​ .​
Packaged under various headings it​ is​ often called Chocolate flavor cake covering, or​ chocolate flavoured coating .​
They all have one thing in​ common​ - although they contain​ cocoa powder, the cocoa butter has been extracted and​ replaced with vegetable fat, which is​ why the manufacturers cannot call it​ chocolate.
The addition​ of​ vegetable fat makes the ‘chocolate’ easier to​ melt and​ work with .​
But it​ has a​ drawback – because of​ the lack of​ cocoa butter it​ does not have the same eating quality as​ pure chocolate.
© Pat Lock 2018

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