I Love Chocolate!
Posted August 4, 2009on:
Last night was chocolate night! I was excited since I do love good chocolate and it was interesting to learn that chocolate was such a complicated treat. There was plenty ganache, truffles and tempered chocolate everywhere, including on our uniforms!
The very first thing we made was a ganache. Most people know this as 1 part cream and 1 part melted chocolate, stirred together. It’s a simple emulsion and it’s delicious! But we learned there are different types of ganache. The ganache most people know of is called glazing ganache and it’s usually used for dipping or for topping a cake. There is also truffle ganache, which we made last night for our delicious truffles! The basic ratio for this is 2 parts chocolate to 1 part cream. However, we also added some flavoring in the form of cognac. We were looking for a solid but pliable texture, kind of like peanut butter. Our candies started out looking more like something you would avoid stepping on in the street. After shaping, cooling, 2 coatings with tempered chocolate and a dusting with cocoa powder or powdered sugar, they looked like artisan’s chocolate confections that would go for a few dollars a piece!
While our little truffle treats were solidifying, we learned all about tempering chocolate. Tempering chocolate is a process whose goals are to develop shine, snap (the chocolate should make a sound when broken) and a non-streaky appearance. The most classic way to do this is on a marble or granite slab, like in the movie Chocolat. The basic process is to melt the chocolate over a double boiler, half way, take it off the heat and then stir it. You are basically increasing the temperature of the chocolate and then bringing it down. The chocolate will be completely melted once it reaches about 115F. While it cools, it will become a bit darker. You should be in temper at 85F, but there are other indicators. One thing you should look for is that the chocolate ribbons when you pick it up. It should also have some three-dimensionality to it.
The 115F melting point and 85F temper is approximate for dark chocolate. If your chocolate approaches 90.9F, it will begin to re-solidify and you will have to put it back in temper. The process is similar for milk and white chocolate, however your temperature ranges are different. Milk chocolate will melt at 114F and will be in temper at approximately 83-84F. White chocolate will melt at 113F and will be in temper at 82-83F. Tempering is not a state, since the chocolate can be solid or liquit–it is the range of temperatures in which the chocolate is in temper.
We also learned how to determine the sugar content of chocolate. Most semi-sweet chocolate is 61%. So, what does that mean? Your entire piece of chocolate is 100%. So if you subtract 100-61, you get 39% sugar content. Cool right? So for bitter sweet chocolate that is about 72%, you would have 28% sugar.
We learned a lot, but we didn’t actually do a lot other than make our truffles and add a chocolate coating to our butter crunch. We were also supposed to dip our biscotti and our petites fours from last week, but time ran out before we got to it. I’m glad at least got to working with our butter crunch because it was even more delicious with the chocolate.