All About Chocolate - Part 2
Yesterday, I wrote about where chocolate comes from, how it is made, and the differences between bittersweet 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 will 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.
You can use chocolate coatings if you want to make candy but do not want to go through the trouble of tempering the chocolate. These can be found in craft stores or grocery stores. I think 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). Adding the vegetable fat will allow the chocolate to firm up and maintain a sheen without needing to be tempered.
Chocolate Brownies Recipe
For the Brownies made with unsweetened chocolate
- 8 ounce unsweetened chocolate squares
- 1 cup butter 2 sticks
- 5 eggs
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1½ cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the Brownies Made with Semisweet Chocolate
- 8 ounces semisweet chocolate
- 4 ounces unsalted butter
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- To make either version of the brownies, melt together the chocolate and butter. Stir until smooth and then cool.
- Whisk in the sugar by hand, followed by the eggs, one at a time.
- Stir in the vanilla and then the flour. You can add toasted nuts as well, if you'd like.
- Pour into a greased and lined pan (8" x 8" for thicker brownies and 9"x 13" for thinner brownies) and bake at 325°F until done.