Ingredient of the Month: Chocolate

Ingredient of the Month: Chocolate

Discover all you need to know about velvety, delicious chocolate.

Versatile and delicious, chocolate adds a rich, comforting flavor to both sweet and savory dishes. Here, an in-depth look:

Why You’ll Love Chocolate
Chocolate is an extremely versatile ingredient that can add sweet, nutty and bitter flavors to a large variety of dishes. Traditionally used in sweet dishes and desserts, chocolate has made its way into savory dishes like mole, chili and BBQ.

Types of Chocolate
Chocolate comes from the cacao tree and undergoes a complex process before it becomes cocoa powder or useable chocolate that we’re familiar with. Characteristics of chocolate vary greatly depending on taste and methods used while processing. The classification of chocolate depends on the percent of cocoa involved:

Dark Chocolate: Rich and bitter, it contains a minimum of 30 percent to as high as 80 percent cocoa. It also contains no milk solids.

Baking Chocolate: Very bitter, it is pure cocoa. As the name implies, it’s most often used sparingly with other ingredients in baking.

Bittersweet Chocolate: Slightly less bitter than dark chocolate, it must contain 35 percent cocoa but often reaches close to 50 percent.


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Milk Chocolate: The most common and sweetest type of chocolate, it contains cocoa as well as condensed milk and cocoa butter.

White Chocolate: While not technically “chocolate” as it contains no pure cocoa, white chocolate gets its name from the cocoa butter it contains. Other flavors (like vanilla) are traditionally added.

How to Temper Chocolate
Begin by boiling a medium pot filled halfway with water. When the water begins to boil, place a glass bowl over the pot being sure the water isn’t touching the bottom. Pour in chocolate chips and begin to stir with a rubber spatula until they melt.

Tip: Be careful to not let any water get in the chocolate while it’s tempering or the chocolate will seize and you’ll have to start over with a new batch.

How to Pair Chocolate
Rich, velvety chocolate pairs well with sweet fruits like strawberries, oranges and bananas. Consider pairing it with spicy ingredients like peppers and chilies, too. Add it to traditional desserts like ice cream or brownies as well as snacks like cookies and popcorn.

How to Store Chocolate
Store chocolate in an airtight container for up to a year. Avoid sunlight an anything above room temperature.

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