Chocolate begins as a yellow fruit pod dangling from the tropical Cacao tree. After the pods ripen, the beans are scooped out and placed in the sun for several days to dry and ferment. They are then cleaned, dried, cured, and roasted to develop flavor and reduce bitterness.
Next the beans are crushed to remove the shells, yielding the prized chocolate Nib. The nibs are crushed into a thick paste known as chocolate liquor or chocolate mass. Chocolate mass contains 53% fat known as cocoa butter.
The chocolate mass is further refined depending on the desired product.
If cocoa powder is to be produced, virtually all the cocoa butter is removed.
Most manufactures of fine chocolate use the Swiss technique of conching to increase smoothness. Conching involves stirring large vats of blended chocolate with a heavy granite roller or paddle to smooth sugar crystals and mellow the flavor, a process that may last 12 hours to 3 days.
Chocolate quality is actually the product of several factors besides flavor. All these factors should be evaluated when selecting chocolates.
- Appearance – color should be even and glossy, without any distortion.
- Smell – should be chocolaty with no off-odor or staleness.
- Break – should snap cleanly without crumbling.
- Texture – should melt quickly and evenly on the tongue.
Types of Chocolate:
- Unsweetened – is the pure hardened chocolate liquor without added sugar or milk solids.
- Bittersweet & Semisweet – contains at least 35% chocolate mass plus additional coca butter, sugar, and flavorings.
- Milk – It contains sugar, vanilla and milk solids.
- White – It is actually a confectionery product that does Not contain any chocolate solids or liquor. Contains a minimum of 31% cocoa butter, a maximum of 55% sugar, 20% milk solids and vanilla or other flavors.
Is a controlled process of melting, cooling, and reheating chocolate within set temperature range. It rechains the fat molecules and stabilizes the coca butter crystals.
Dark chocolate – melts 113 -120*F / cooled 78*f / temper 86 -90*F
Milk & White – melts 104 -115*F / cool 78*F / temper 87*F
Several methods are used to temper chocolate manually: seeding, tabling, microwave oven.
- Seeding – 2/3 of the chocolate is melted. When the melted portion reaches 118*F, it is removed from the heat. The remaining chocolate is added and the chocolate is stirred until it melts.
- Tabling – is the classic method. First the chocolate is melted, then a portion is poured onto a marble slab. The chef stirs the chocolate with a spatula, working it back and forth over the marble until it cools.
- Microwave – Place the chocolate in a bowl and microwave in 10 second intervals until the chocolate is melted.
Chocolate Mousse – Is a form of creamy dessert typically made with eggs and cream.
All chocolate Mousse recipes have two ingredients:
- Chocolate – Which is of course the essential element of the dessert.
- Egg Whites – Which is whipped into a foam and then added to the melted chocolate to provide the light and foamy texture, which is the essence of the recipe.
Additional Ingredients can be added to change the taste and texture of the dessert.
- Sugar – Mainly to make the desert sweeter.
- Cream – This gives the dessert a softer and lighter texture.
- Egg Yokes – Adds rich taste to the dessert.
- 11 ounces Bitter or semi-sweet chocolate
- 10 Egg yolks
- 2 Whole eggs
- 4 ounces Granulated sugar
- 16 fluid ounces Heavy cream, whipped
1. In a microwave or over a double boiler, melt the chocolate to 130°F. Hold at this temperature by placing the bowl in a water bath of 135°F. Set aside.
2. Place the egg yolks, whole eggs and sugar in a mixer bowl over a pan of simmering water. Whisk until the mixture reaches 158°F and is thickened.
3. Pour the mixture into a mixing bowl on the mixer with the whip attachment. Whip until the mixture cools.
4. Mix chocolate into egg mixture. Using a balloon whisk gently fold in the whipped cream.
5. Refrigerate until firm.
Dark Chocolate Truffles
- 21 ounces semi sweet chocolate
- 18 ounces Heavy cream
- 3 fluid ounces orange or raspberry liquor
1. Bring the cream to a boil. Immediately pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted.
2. Stir in the liquor. Pour the ganache into a flat, shallow, ungreased pan and chill until firm.
3. Shape the ganache into rough balls using a melon ball cutter. Immediately drop each ball into a pan of sifted cocoa powder or confectioner’s sugar, rolling it around to coat completely. Alternately, dip the pre-formed balls into tempered chocolate. Chocolate coated truffles may also be coated with chopped nuts or roasted shredded coconut.
4. Truffles can be stored in the refrigerator for 7 to 10 days. Allow them to soften slightly at room temperature before serving.