All About Chocolate – Part 2
Yesterday I wrote all about where chocolate comes from, how it is made and the differences between bittersweet chocolate and semi sweet chocolate. I also look at dark chocolate, white chocolate and ask, “Does chocolate really taste sweet?” – See All About Chocolate Part 1
To Temper or Not to Temper
There is no need to temper chocolate that is going to be used in a recipe. Melting it is sufficient. The goal of tempering is to get the cocoa butter to crystallize in its most stable form, and, since it melts at body temperature anyway, tempering would be a waste of time in a batter that will go in the oven at temperatures well in excess of 98F!
The time to temper is when you want the chocolate to stand on its own””either as a coating for truffles or molded candies or for decoration. Tempering is not difficult, but it can be a little fussy. There are many excellent resources on the web that can walk you through the process.
If you want to make candy but do not want to go through the trouble of tempering the chocolate, you can use chocolate coatings. These can be found in craft stores or grocery stores. In my opinion, these products do not taste very good, partly because of the substitution of other fats for cocoa butter.
You can make your own, good tasting coating chocolate using this simple formula: chocolate and a neutral oil together in a 10 to 1 ratio. So, for ten ounces of chocolate, you’ll need 1 ounce of vegetable oil. For 5 ounces, you’ll need ½ ounce (1 tablespoon). The addition of the vegetable fat will allow the chocolate to firm up and maintain a sheen without needing to be tempered.