Working with Chocolate
I think I should rename this playing with chocolate, since at no time ever, have I worked with the ethereal substance and not been covered in it. It must be a subconscious dream or something. Come to think about it, being bathed in chocolate doesn’t sound so bad.
If you need to melt chocolate for a recipe, shred it first, using a serrated knife, offset is the best. The serrated knife with its little points that grab the chocolate piece and the higher handle makes it sooo much easier to shred your bar and the smaller pieces make it melt more evenly so there is less chance of scorching.
I melt my chocolate very carefully in the microwave. Starting with 2 – 30 second blasts, followed by stirring. If you are melting a small amount (under 2 oz or 56 gms) start with 15 second blasts. When about half is melted, cut it down to 10 second blasts followed by a good 15 seconds of slow stirring. Be patient, the residual heat will melt more than you think. Be careful, it burns very easily. Remember, wasting chocolate is a sin.
I am going to seize up some chocolate for you and show you how to rescue it. I love the term seized, it is so descriptive of what has happened. Like some evil power has forcefully taken your beautifully smooth chocolate away. You might not be able to use it in your recipe, since it depends on what you are making, but at least you can be left with a nice ganache or chocolate sauce. There might still be a few tiny seized bits in it, but it will be way better than the seized mess you started with. You can always ask me to help with any cooking crisis.
In the pictures below you will see the chocolate transformed from silky smoothness to a seized mess back to silky smoothness. If your recipe calls for additional liquid you are saved because you add the chocolate to that and all is okay. If your recipe doesn’t have add’l liquid, well at least you saved the chocolate and isn’t that most important?
The amount of liquid needs depends on the type of chocolate. I used a bittersweet in the pictures above. Milk chocolate would have required less liquid, unsweetened requires more. This is why you have to be careful substituting chocolate in your recipes. There has to be enough liquid in it to keep it from seizing and why it is a good idea to add the chocolate to the liquid ingredients and not the liquid to the chocolate.