Chocolate is a versatile ingredient which explains why it is featured in many cooking recipes, from cakes to sponges, sweets, biscuits, milk, ice cream, etc., all around the world. It is a flavor that can be used in a wide range of dishes and food products, but cooking with chocolate may not be that easy, and you need some knowledge to make it work for your recipe. Learn more about chocolate as a cooking ingredient.
Regular chocolate or cooking chocolate?
You have to choose the right chocolate to use in your culinary creations. Many assume that you can only use cooking chocolate for baking or flavoring foods. Before making that assumption, ask yourself; where does chocolate come from?
Chocolate is not an artificial product but rather an agricultural one. It is sourced from a natural plant; therefore, its flavor is subject to the variety of plants it is grown from. There is a distinction between regular chocolate and cooking chocolate. Regular chocolate contains sugar, while cooking chocolate has high cocoa content and has little or no sugar. The higher sugar levels in regular chocolate make it a delicious treat.
Cooking chocolate has a strong cocoa flavor making it suitable for cooking because it holds its flavor against other ingredients. It also contains a low sugar amount allowing you to control how sweet you want your food to be. You can monitor how much sugar you want to use so that your baked treats do not come out too sweet.
Can you cook with regular chocolate?
Yes, you can, should you find yourself without cooking chocolate in your cupboard. But you have to keep a close eye on it to ensure it doesn’t burn. Regular chocolate is ideal, especially if you want your food product to end up with a shiny glossy finish that snaps when broken. It achieves that appealing finish when the cocoa butter crystallizes at a specific temperature then cools.
How to use cooking chocolate
You can add cooking chocolate to any mixture you want to cook, and it is as simple as that. Whether your mixture is whipped into buttercream, folded into cupcakes, or a mixture of solid ingredients, you can add cooking chocolate to any cooking mixture.
Tempering chocolate is necessary when you want to decorate your baked products, and it involves slowly heating and cooling the chocolate. When you temper your chocolate right, it retains its glossy finish and gives you a satisfying snap, but you may need a thermometer to achieve that.
On the other hand, tempering your chocolate the wrong way results in a dull appearance that can ruin the appeal of your baked creation. However, it is still tasty.
Generally, it is always best to use cooking chocolate for your cooking needs, like baking and flavoring foods, and let the regular chocolate remain a tasty snack. Ensure you find the right brand of cooking chocolate to get the most out of the flavor.