I am a writer at heart, but my other passions are chocolate and amazing travel adventures. I am a native of Texas, but claim Paris, France as my adoptive hometown. Important aspects of my life are God, family, friends,and volunteerism. I am a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em Horns), and outside of my work commitments as a marketing professional, I am ready for the next adventure, whether it be a trip abroad or a great dinner party at home… it’s all about big, bold, color!

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All About Chocolate

All About Chocolate 2All About Chocolate

From powdered cocoa to semisweet chips, this guide will help with every delicious bit.

A little trivia:

Although you’d never know it from the taste, chocolate comes from the Aztec word xocolatl, meaning “bitter water.” Montezuma, the king of the Aztecs, supposedly drank 50 golden goblets of it every day, as he believed it was an aphrodisiac. A tropical cocoa bean called Theobroma (meaning “food of the gods”) cacao is the source of this delicious confection.

Different kinds:
Unsweetened: Also called “baking” or “bitter,” this is the purest chocolate you can get, with nothing added.

Bittersweet: Add sugar, lecithin (for a wonderfully smooth texture), and vanilla, and you get the bittersweet version.

Semisweet: Although it contains the same additives as its bittersweet cousin, semisweet chocolate has a little more sugar (but less fat).

Milk: Adding dry milk to sweetened chocolate creates the basis of so many of your favorite candy bars.

White: We hate to break it to you, but this isn’t true chocolate — it contains no chocolate liquor, a paste from which all versions of the real thing are made. And as anyone who’s tried it knows, it doesn’t taste very chocolaty, either. Ingredients usually include sugar, cocoa butter, milk solids, lecithin (for texture), and vanilla.

Storage tips:
Ideally, chocolate should be tightly wrapped and kept in a cool (60 to 70 degrees farenheit), dry place (not your refrigerator). Stored this way, dark chocolate can last up to 10 years; milk and white chocolate, however, will only keep for about nine months, as both contain milk solids — so don’t wait too long to satisfy that sweet tooth. Note: Even if chocolate has been poorly stored, it can still be used, although both the flavor and texture may be slightly affected.

Cooking tips:
While bittersweet and semisweet chocolate can sometimes be used interchangeably in recipes without really affecting the texture, milk and white chocolate cannot, because they contain milk protein.

Melting:
First, coat the container in which you plan to melt the chocolate with nonstick spray. Then melt it slowly over low heat (chocolate — especially the white variety — scorches easily). One method to try is to place the chocolate in the top of a double boiler, melt it halfway over simmering water, then separate the top pan from the water and stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Another effective option is to put the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat it at MEDIUM (50%) until melted. As ovens vary in power, watch closely to make sure it doesn’t burn. Note: Semisweet chips and squares hold their shape as they melt, so if you wait for them to look melted, they’ll probably scorch. Also, be aware that smaller pieces melt more quickly than larger ones.

Be sure to cool melted chocolate to room temperature before adding it to dough or batter.

To grate chocolate, choose a large, thick piece that has been kept at room temperature. Wrap a piece of paper towel around one end, so the warmth of your hand won’t cause the chocolate to melt, then firmly run the chocolate over the coarse side of the grater.

To create flakes, which make a wonderful garnish for desserts ranging from cakes to puddings to ice creams, run a vegetable peeler across a chilled bar of chocolate.

Substitution tricks:
Three tablespoons unsweetened cocoa plus one tablespoon butter equals one ounce unsweetened chocolate.

One-half ounce unsweetened chocolate plus one tablespoon granulated sugar equals one ounce semisweet chocolate.

One-half cup plus one tablespoon unsweetened cocoa, one-fourth cup plus three tablespoons granulated sugar, and three tablespoons butter combine to equal six ounces semisweet chocolate chips.

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17 responses »

  1. I am a chocolate maniac adn I love your site, but have you got any good recipes without dairy? As I am allergic… and always looking for good recipes without milk.
    BTW have you seen my blog post about the chocolate they make in Modica Sicily, still using the original Aztec recipe? I am a serious addict!
    http://siciliangodmother.wordpress.com/2013/06/03/aztec-chocolate-is-still-made-in-modica-sicily-and-its-the-best-ive-ever-eaten/

  2. Ah ha …. gotta love chocolate and anyone who promotes it! Thanks for your visits to my little corner of the world. I usually keep up with comments, visitors, and reciprocating – but I’ve been in the throws of packing to move … and now unpacking …. thus my absence … but I’m working my way back into the routine.

      • You have a very diverse blog and I can’t wait to hear more about you when you answer the questions. I confess I have a cookie recipe in the works that you inspired with your orange-chocolate combo and hope to get to posting it and I will pin back to you since you inspired me:) This week is Passover for me and tomorrow I am going to make my famous Orange-zested Macaroons dipped in chocolate. I will post recipes from my passover adventures which starts tomorrow. I will be a busy beaver. I also have a chocolate babka recipe for you soon too. Ahhhh so many things I want to share and such little time.

        I cherish your posts! You go girl!

        Love Nicole

  3. OMG! Such a great blog. So many great chocolate ideas. You are such an inspirational phenomenal woman who is not just beautiful on the outside, but inside as well. I just adore your work. Every time I see any of your work, it inspires me to reach for the stars. You are truly a woman of greatness.

    Thanks for sharing and keeping the chocolate lovers happy!

    Love ya, Sharon

  4. Thanks very much for following The Immortal Jukebox. I hope you will enjoy lots of entertaining writing and the wide variety of music. I usually post once a week. Please feel free to add comments. If it’s been a while since you visited come on over and see what’s new! Good luck with your blog. Regards Thom.

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