Cooking Chocolate

Come on, admit it; who hasn’t been tempted to raid the baking box when the biscuit tin is empty and a swift chocolate fix is required? I’m not going to answer this one myself but suffice to say I don’t keep cooking chocolate in the house any more unless a baking session is imminent.

So, what exactly is baking chocolate and is it so very wrong to snap off a square or two in desperate times? Well, the truth is that cooking chocolate is pretty interchangeable with regular chocolate in that there are lots of different styles and qualities available. If you’re making crispy cereal bars with the kids, chances are you don’t want to splash out a fortune on a top quality bar. However, if you’re creating a rich chocolate mousse or chocolate fondants for a posh dinner party then you might want to push the boat out and treat your guests to something a little more decadent. Generally, cooking chocolate has quite a high cocoa solid content in order to still get a substantial flavour once the other ingredients have been added.

I suppose it just comes down to the wording – ‘cooking chocolate’ doesn’t exactly conjure up images of romance, decadence or even a treat. It reminds me more of being a student and checking out the cheap aisles at the supermarket, in search of a bargain. However, wording is often just wording and cooking chocolate doesn’t necessarily imply an inferior product. Smother that chocolate over a cake or pour it into a ramekin and you’ve got the stuff of dessert dreams.

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