Tag Archive: chocolate lessons

Chocolate Myth vs Fact

In all the years of my existence, there is not one person I know who does not like chocolate. I mean if you dislike this sweet treat then you must be seriously disturbed, right?  Kidding aside, the thought of hating chocolate does not simply register in my mind. But if you really do, then I demand a detailed explanation.

Yes it is true that chocolate contains caffeine, but not in dangerous amounts. You can still enjoy chocolate with only little touches of caffeine like the ones in milk chocolate.

They also say that chocolate is associated with acne. You can put the blame in the natural changes in the body as one ages, or charge chocolate for causing your breakouts. But truth be told, there has been no evidence-based proof that chocolate is linked to acne.
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Lecithin in Chocolate

Take a look at an ingredient label on a bar of chocolate. 9 times out of 10 you will see soy lecithin listed there.

Is using lecithin as an ingredient in chocolate important, and what is the benefit of using it?

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Look! It’s a Bean to Bar Chocolate

Every now and again you will come across an article, a chocolate bar, or a chocolate company that will draw attention to Bean To Bar processing. 

Bean to bar means quite literally that the product was manufactured from the roasting and grinding of the bean to the tempering and packaging of the chocolate. 
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Chocolate and Beer Pairing – Pale Ales

In the opening post of this series I mentioned that there are three categories of beer that pair well with chocolates.

The third group of beers include pale, bitter beers, such as India Pale Ales.  These also tend to do well when paired with chocolate…

India Pale Ale was created in the 1820’s for the voyages between England and India.  The three month voyage would have to cross the equator twice.  So not only was the journey long, but it was also quite warm.  Since time and high temperatures are bad for beer preservation, typical beers sent to India arrived in very poor condition.
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Chocolate and Beer Pairing – Belgian Ales

In the opening post of this series I mentioned that there are three categories of beer that pair well with chocolates.

A second group of beers are the Belgian-style ales... 

These beers are typically amber to brown in color, with high alcohol content (often greater than 8%) and are usually quite fruity in their aroma.  Candy sugar (like a hard rock candy) may be added to the barley malt to increase the alcohol level without darkening the color or making it too malty.
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Orange Zest Seized My Chocolate

Recently, I was asked this question:  “I love the taste of chocolate and orange but when I add orange zest to my coating it curdles.  Why?”

This presents an excellent technical lesson in working with chocolate.

The issue is moisture.
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Chocolate and Beer Pairing – Stouts

In the opening post of this series I mentioned that there are three categories of beer that pair well with chocolates.

The first group for pairing includes dark beers such as porters and stouts...

These beers are made using a good deal of roasted or burnt barley malt.  In fact, one of the burnt barley malts is even called “chocolate malt.”  It doesn't really have any chocolate in it, but rather the malt has been roasted or kilned until it acquires more of a chocolaty color.
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Chocolate and Beer Pairing

When most people think about pairing chocolate with an alcoholic beverage the product they usually consider is wine.  However, there are components in wine which can make these pairings difficult and often unpredictable.

Tannins in red wine can make dark chocolates seem more bitter, and the acidity in wines often does not  balance well with the chocolate.  Because of the variation in wine styles, even within varietals, it’s often difficult to generalize about ideal wine and chocolate pairings.

This is not the case for beer!
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Troubleshoot Chocolate Tempering

Recently I was asked about tempered chocolate that fails to keep a good shine and what can be done to fix that?  (See comments on how to temper chocolate page.)

That's a really good question.  Concerns about the streaking and the lack of shine make me think about how temperatures, crystal development and the appearance of chocolate are all connected.

Properly tempered chocolate is shiny and uniform in color. When chocolate has streaks and does not shine, it indicates that at some point in the production process, the chocolate solidified without being in a properly tempered state.
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Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Have you ever cut corners while cooking?  Ever used short cuts that the original recipe had you make from scratch? 

I have.  And why not?  Most often those “changes” don’t affect the final product and it saves lots of time.  Yes, sometimes I even buy frosting in a can (shhh, don’t tell my kids!).

One thing I have learned from my experience working with chocolate is that there are some short cuts that work and some that don’t.
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