In week which has seen International Chocolate Day, National Cupcake Week and the 100th birthday of the author who brought us Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, we think this is the perfect opportunity to take a closer look at the magical ingredient, and when using it in baking in particular. We all have our chocolatey favourites, but what are the rules about using it in baking, and do we really have to follow them so rigidly? Here are a few tips and tricks when it comes to adding chocolate to your cake mix, icing or cookies to help create a more successful bake…
Milk vs. Dark
Ah, the ultimate question for any chocoholic, and one that most of us probably have no difficulty in answering. You’re either in one camp or the other, right? But when it comes to baking, those battles lines aren’t quite so easily drawn. If you bake on a regular basis, then you’ve probably noticed that a vast majority of recipes stipulate using dark chocolate, and usually as good a quality dark chocolate as possible. But if you much prefer the taste of milk chocolate, where’s the harm in switching?
Well, you might want to think twice because those things that make you love milk chocolate so much – the sweetness and the creaminess – could have a detrimental effect on your chocolate-based recipe. Firstly, changing the type of chocolate in your recipe will affect the sugar levels, potentially pushing it into far-too-sweet territory (yes, such a thing exists). Secondly, the increased dairy content in milk chocolate can also affect the consistency of your mix. So if dark chocolate is stipulated, then dark chocolate it is. And if you want some top quality chocolate to cook with then Hotel Chocolat voucher codes not only save you money on lovely chocolaty gifts but also top quality bars and cooking chocolate in their ‘Cocoa Cuisine’ range.
However, saying that, there are some instances where swapping is perfectly acceptable – basically where the chocolate is kept as a distinct element, so chocolate chip cookies for example (more on them in a bit), or something like these Peanut Butter Squares where we reckon the taste of milk chocolate is a much better match with the saltiness of the peanut butter.
Perhaps one of the most used chocolate elements in cooking, you might wonder why you can’t just substitute them with your favourite type of chocolate that’s been broken up into chunks? Well, you can but one thing you might have noticed about chocolate chips is that they hold their shape after spending time in an oven at a rather hot temperature. Normal ‘eating’ chocolate, whilst still delicious, doesn’t cope with this quite so well. This is because chocolate chips destined for baking contain stabilisers, something that unfortunately can affect the taste. The key is to find as good a quality chocolate chip as possible, one that can perform the required chocolate chip function whilst still tasting amazing. One of your best chances of success is to use Chocolate Trading Company promo codes where you can save money on a wide selection of top quality cooking chocolates from around the world.
There’s a trick to it you know. It may be easy to do in the microwave, but be careful not to burn it or you’ll have to start all over again, so follow those instructions carefully. However, some folks prefer doing it the old-fashioned way, by melting it in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. It’s important that the pan is on a very low simmer and the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl – too hot and you could end up something far too thick. Break the chocolate into small pieces beforehand to speed up the process, but apart that, you much be patient if you want perfection. And we can’t mention melting chocolate with mentioning Melt discount vouchers because with them you can save 20% on their top quality chocolate collections.
So there you go – a quick guide to baking with chocolate for maximum success. And seeing as it is indeed National Cupcake Week, why not use this new-found advice to make a dozen perfect chocolatey creations?
By Anna Scott, 14th September 2016