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>> Chocolate Tips & Tricks

Cake, Making Mocha Chocolate Cake

Use cold coffee instead of water when making a chocolate cake from a box. It gives the cake a rich, mocha flavor.

Chocolate Cake, Dusting the pan

When baking a chocolate cake, don't use flour to "dust" the pan. Use cocoa instead. This way, the white flour "dust" won't cling to the sides of the cake.

Chocolate Tips

  1. Use a potato or vegetable parer to make chocolate curls
    for decorating cakes and pies. You can use bars of semi-
    sweet or bitter chocolate. The chocolate should be at room
    temperature or even very slightly warmer. You can adjust
    the thickness and length of the curls by the pressure of
    your strokes.

  2. To melt chocolate, chop fairly fine. Place in a microwave-
    safe bowl and microwave, uncovered, at 100 percent power,
    stirring every 10 seconds.
  3. Use self-sealing plastic bags to melt butter or chocolate
    in the microwave.

Chocolate, Semisweet Substitute

For each 1 ounce semisweet chocolate called for in a recipe, use 3 tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa, plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar plus 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
1/2 ounce unsweetened chocolate plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate

Chocolate, Sweet (German) Substitute

For each 4 ounces of sweet German chocolate called for in a recipe, use 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa, plus 1/3 cup granulated sugar plus 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate plus 1/3 cup granulated sugar

Chocolate, Unsweetened Substitute

For each 1 ounce of unsweetened chocolate called for in a recipe, use 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa plus 1 tablespoon butter or margarine;
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate less 1 tablespoon granulated sugar called for in recipe.

Cocoa, Unsweetened Substitute

For each 1/4 cup of unsweetened (baking) cocoa called for in a recipe, use 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate and decrease fat called for in recipe by 1 1/2 teaspoons.

Fudge Hint

Fudge won't "sugar" if you add a dash of Cream of Tartar to it.

Garnishing Sweets with Chocolate

These can be made from any kind of chocolate but milk chocolate is the easiest to work with. Use a bar that is over 1/4 inch thick. Milk chocolate doesn't need to be warmed before shaving; otherchocolates should stand in a warm place (80-85 degrees) for about 10 minutes.

For shavings
Just use a vegetable peeler or a cheese server shave the edge of the chocolate bar using short, quick strokes. Use a toothpick to transfer larger shavings to the dessert without breaking.

For Curls
Also using a vegetable peeler, shave long strands from the smooth side of the chocolate for smaller curls or the wide side of the chocolate for larger curls.

* You can also freeze these and store in a ziplock bag for a delicious garnish for those coffee drinks or sundaes.

How To Grate Chocolate

Be sure that the block of chocolate is cool and firm. Grate on hand grater, cleaning the grater often so that the chocolate doesn't clog the surface of the blade. You can use a blender, but be sure to cut the chocolate into small pieces first.

How To Make Chocolate Curls

Use a vegitable peeler with a long narrow blade and a chunk or bar of chocolate. Warm chocolate and blade slightly. Be sure your peeler is absolutely dry. Draw the peeler along the smooth surface of the chocolate.

How To Store Chocolate

Chocolate should be stored in a cool, dry place at a temperature of about 60F. If the chocolate becomes too warm, the cocoa butter rises to the surface and forms a dusty gray film known as "bloom." This "bloom" is not harmful and, once the chocolate is melted, it returns to its natural rich brown color. If you do store chocolate in the refrigerator or freezer, take in 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 of temperature.

Melting Chocolate

Chocolate scorches easily, so always melt it over hot - not boiling - water. It is best to use a double boiler, but you can improvise by using a bowl in a small saucepan over very gentle heat. The water must be kept below simmering to prevent steam from curling up and hitting the chocolate. If steam gets into the melted chocolate it will immediately thicken the mixture to a stiff mass. If this does happen, however, you can rescue the chocolate by softening it again.

To do this, add 1-2 tb of vegetable shortening (never use butter as it contains moisture which will cause the chocolate stiffen even more!) to the chocolate and stir vigorously. You can also melt chocolate directly over very low heat in a heavy gauge saucepan, but you must watch the mixture carefully.

Melting Chocolate, Neat and Easy

When melting chocolate chips for decorating, seal them in a zipper sandwich bag and put it in a pan of hot water.

After a few minutes, knead the bag to smooth the chocolate, then cut a small hole in a corner of the bag to pipe out the chocolate.

You can let the leftovers in the bag cool, then crumble for other uses.

Moist Brownies

For moist brownies, let them cool completely before cutting so no moisture is lost.

To Make Chocolate Curls

Over a sheet of waxed paper, peel down the side of a block of chocolate with a potato peeler. Use the resultant curls as a garnish on your favorite chocolate treats. (You might want to chill the chocolate bar just a little bit before making the curls and crumbles.)



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