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Chapter 19 Chocolate.


After reading this chapter, you should be able to:

* Understand the process of chocolate making.

* Know the differences between milk, semisweet, and white chocolates.

* Define how cocoa butter affects the quality of chocolate.

* Demonstrate what tempering is.

* List the difficulties of working withchocolate.

* Demonstrate how to prepare the recipes in this chapter.


baking chocolate

bittersweet chocolate


cacao beans


chocolate liquor

cocoa butter

compound coating


Dutch processed cocoa powder


milk chocolate

natural cocoa powder



semisweet chocolate


unsweetened chocolate

white chocolate

Most professional bakers and restauranteurs know that, in order to entice customers to order dessert in their restaurant or bakery, they must place chocolate, in some form, on the menu. One of the most popular foods in the world, chocolate can be soothing to the soul and comforting to the palate. Chocolate desserts range from confections to pastries and are desired for their flavor, richness, texture, and mouthfeel. Eating chocolate is a personal experience: Some prefer the mildness of sweet milk chocolate; others prefer a stronger, more pronounced bittersweet flavor.

An entire chapter is being devoted to the subject of chocolate, where it originates and the process of taking it from the cacao bean to the mouth-watering state known as chocolate. Several recipes in this book contain chocolate.

The Origins of Chocolate

Chocolate originates from the Theobroma cacao tree, also referred to as the cocoa tree. The cacao tree grows in warm, moist, tropical places such as in Africa, South America, Asia, and within the United States, Hawaii. The fruit of the tree grows in the form of pods. Each pod contains a white pulp that surrounds 20 to 40 cacao beans (Figure 19-1). Because of their fragile nature, the pods are harvested by hand. Once harvested, the beans are removed from the pods and allowed to ferment.

Almost every plant bearing fruit or beans has natural yeast on them. This is true for cacao beans as well. These yeast eat the natural sugars on the cacao beans and form carbon dioxide gas and alcohol much like the yeast used in making yeast breads. The fermentation process develops the chocolate flavor and aroma of the beans.

The fermented beans are then laid in the sun or in specially heated rooms to dry, where any excess moisture evaporates and the beans continue to develop their flavor. After drying, the beans are sent to various chocolate manufacturers around the world. There, the beans are roasted in huge ovens and mixed with other beans to get just the right flavor the manufacturer is looking for. This blending of different beans affects the quality of the chocolate produced. The higher the percentage of high-quality beans, the higher the quality of chocolate. Each chocolate manufacturer's chocolate varies in flavor, texture, and melting properties.

After roasting, the beans are crushed to remove their hard outer shell or hull. The material inside the shells are called nibs. The nibs are then smashed and pulverized to form the dark liquid that forms the basis for all rich, dark chocolate. This dark liquid is known as chocolate liquor, although it contains no alcohol, as the name implies. At this stage, some chocolate liquor can be poured into block molds, cooled, and sold as unsweetened chocolate. Unsweetened chocolate is also referred to as baking chocolate, or bitter chocolate. It can also be sold in the form of disks or small blocks.


The remaining chocolate liquor then goes into a huge shell-shaped vat where it is rotated and stirred constantly with paddles or blades, causing heat to be produced from the friction of mixing. This stage is called conching (konking), so named for the spiral shell. Conching imparts a velvety smoothness to the chocolate while developing flavor through the evaporation of excess water and acids. After conching, various types of chocolate can be produced depending on how much cocoa butter and other ingredients are added to the chocolate liquor.

Cocoa Butter and Mouthfeel

Cocoa butter, the saturated fat within chocolate liquor, is responsible for the smooth and silky mouthfeel quality of chocolate. Cocoa butter, a hard and brittle fat at room temperature, contains small amounts of a natural emulsifier known as lecithin. Cocoa butter determines the quality of chocolate. The more cocoa butter a chocolate contains, the higher its quality and the better the mouthfeel.

The melting point of cocoa butter at approximately 95[degrees]F (35[degrees]C) is slightly below human body temperature, which is approximately 98.6[degrees]F (37[degrees]C). When a piece of chocolate is placed on the tongue, it begins to melt, dissolving into a silky puddle.

Cocoa butter may also be separated during processing from chocolate liquor and cooled into cakes to be sold to chocolate manufacturers for blending into their own signature candies and chocolates. Cocoa butter may also be added to thin down melted chocolate for coating cakes, pastries, and confections.


The Most Common Types of Chocolate

Some of the more common types of chocolate include unsweetened chocolate, milk chocolate, semisweet and bittersweet chocolate, couverture, cocoa powder, white chocolate, chocolate chips, and a variety of imitation chocolate-flavored products.

Unsweetened Chocolate

Unsweetened chocolate is chocolate liquor that is sold as solid blocks. By law it must contain at least 50% cocoa butter. Unsweetened chocolate is also referred to as baking or bitter chocolate. It is commonly used in baked goods such as cookies, cakes, and frostings.

Milk Chocolate

Milk chocolate is chocolate liquor that is mixed with cocoa butter, a minimum of 12% milk solids, sugar, and sometimes lecithin (a fatty substance used as an emulsifier to replace some of the cocoa butter). Milk chocolate is not a good substitute for chocolate in baking because the milk solids can burn and the flavor is too mild. However, it can be successfully melted and incorporated into a wide variety of desserts such as mousses, candies, and frostings.

Semisweet and Bittersweet Chocolate

Semisweet chocolate or bittersweet chocolate contains less sugar than milk chocolate and varying amounts of cocoa solids. Many people assume semisweet chocolate is sweet or milder than bittersweet chocolate, but this is not always the case. Individual chocolate manufacturers differ in what constitutes the best tasting chocolate. The amounts of sugar and cocoa solids added to semisweet or bittersweet chocolates vary greatly amongst various manufacturers. For example, one manufacturer's semisweet chocolate may actually contain less sugar and more cocoa solids than another manufacturer's bittersweet chocolate. Semisweet and bittersweet chocolate are sold in blocks, bars, and small disks.


Chocolate that contains at least 32% cocoa butter and is of high quality is known as couverture (a French word meaning "to cover" or "to coat"). It is used to make high-quality candy bars and to coat candies and create decorations for all sorts of desserts and pastries. Couverture comes in milk, semisweet, bittersweet, and white chocolate with the chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, and sugar contents listed on the label. Couverture differs from other chocolate products that are sold commercially in that it contains a higher percentage of cocoa butter. The extra cocoa butter gives couverture a more fluid consistency when melted that is better suited to dipping candies or coating cakes and other desserts. Couverture is sold in blocks, bars, and small disks that eliminate the need for chopping.

Cocoa Powder

When cocoa butter is pressed out of chocolate liquor under high pressure, the dry, powdery residue that remains during the separation process is cocoa powder (Figure 19-2). The fat content of cocoa powder varies by brand but, in general, it must have a minimum of 10% cocoa butter by law. Low-fat cocoa powders are produced, but require a special process to be made and are not frequently used in the bake shop. Cocoa powder is used in drinks and many chocolate desserts.


There are two types of cocoa powder. The first type is natural cocoa powder, which is the powder formed naturally during the separation of cocoa butter from the chocolate liquor. It is acidic and can therefore react with a chemical leavener like baking soda to neutralize and form carbon dioxide, and help leaven baked goods. The second type is Dutch processed cocoa powder, which has been treated with an alkali (basic solution) to neutralize some of the acidity within the chocolate. It does not react with baking soda. Dutch processed cocoa powder is darker in color and milder in flavor than natural cocoa powder.

White Chocolate

In order to be called chocolate by law, a product needs to contain chocolate liquor. The term white chocolate is really a misnomer because it is not chocolate at all. Although it does not contain chocolate liquor, high-quality white chocolate does contain cocoa butter. What is referred to as white chocolate is actually a candy made from cocoa butter, milk solids, sugar, lecithin (a fatty substance used as an emulsifier), and flavorings like vanilla. There are two types of white chocolate: white chocolate with cocoa butter and white chocolate-like coatings that contain little or no cocoa butter. High-quality white chocolate contains a minimum of 32% cocoa butter. It is referred to as white couverture. (See Couverture.)

Chocolate Chips

Chocolate sold as "kiss-like" morsels or bits of chocolate come in semisweet, milk, and white chocolate varieties. While some chips do contain 100 percent cocoa butter, others contain fats such as hydrogenated vegetable shortening that are specially formulated to withstand baking temperatures without melting or losing their shape. For this reason, if a recipe calls for high-quality semisweet chocolate, semisweet chocolate chips should not be substituted. The melting properties of chocolate chips differ from a higher quality chocolate and the final product may be altered in texture and quality because of it.

Imitation Chocolate-Flavored Products

Chocolate that contains little or no cocoa butter is of lesser quality and is referred to as compound coating or chocolate-flavored coating. There is no cocoa butter present, so legally these products cannot be called chocolate. The cocoa butter has been replaced with vegetable fats like hydrogenated palm kernel or cottonseed oils. These coating chocolates have a longer shelf life, but lack the smooth, melt-in-your-mouth texture of chocolates containing cocoa butter because they have high melting points. Coating chocolates tend to be used to coat candies. It is best to use high-quality chocolate containing cocoa butter in recipes calling for chocolate.

Imitation White Chocolate-Flavored Products

Low-quality white chocolate or white chocolate-like coating is sold as small white chips or disks and is known as white confectionery coating or compound coating (Figure 19-3). It can also be referred to as summer coating because summer coating has a higher melting point and is easier to work with in the warmer months. All or part of the cocoa butter in white chocolate-like coatings has been replaced with vegetable fat (e.g., hydrogenated palm kernel or cottonseed oils). These solid vegetable fats have a higher melting point than cocoa butter and tend to leave an unpleasant, waxy film and taste on the tongue. They do not melt as quickly or have the same properties as higher quality white chocolate.

Water and Chocolate

Chocolate reacts poorly when melted together with small quantities of water or when exposed to humid conditions or steam. Even one drop of water in melted chocolate can cause it to tighten into a solid mass and become hard, mottled in color, cakey, or brittle. This phenomenon is known as seizing. That is why it is critical when melting chocolate to have a perfectly clean, dry bowl. Chocolate contains cocoa solids (which are dry) immersed within a rich cocoa butter. Cocoa solids are the material that makes up the cocoa bean and include cocoa butter and cocoa powder. Even one drop of water will cause the dry particles of solids to stick together, absorbing water and swelling, and clump into a chalky-looking, grainy mass. This phenomenon can destroy a recipe. While a few drops of water cause chocolate to tighten up into a solid mass, a larger quantity of water does not cause seizing. Chocolate can be melted over a double boiler or over low heat with water, having no adverse effects. Using a minimum amount of water is crucial. Usually a minimum of 1 tablespoon of water (or other liquid such as coffee, milk, or cream) to 2 ounces of chocolate is a safe combination that will not seize. Many recipes avoid this problem by first melting chocolate by itself or with a fat like butter or oil.

Another way seizing can occur is if a cold substance such as milk, cream, or eggs are added too quickly to warm melted chocolate. The contrast in temperature causes the chocolate to cool down and the cocoa butter to solidify suddenly, resulting in chunky bits of chocolate instead of a smooth mass. Allowing the chocolate to come to room temperature beforehand or warming the cold substance you wish to add can prevent seizing.

To prevent seizing: When melting chocolate with a water-based liquid, be sure there is a minimum of 1 tablespoon of liquid for every 2 ounces of chocolate.

Properly Melting Chocolate

Melting chocolate properly is essential to the success of a recipe. Chocolate is very sensitive to temperature and can easily burn. A good rule of thumb to remember is to never rush the melting process. As high-quality chocolates melt easily in the mouth at less than 100[degrees]F (38[degrees]C), it is not necessary to use very high temperatures to melt them.

Semisweet and bittersweet chocolate should be melted at no higher than 120[degrees]F (49[degrees]C), and milk and white chocolate should never be melted at higher than 115[degrees]F (46[degrees]C). When melting temperatures exceed the recommended limits, flavors in the chocolate may be compromised. Treat chocolate gently and melt it slowly to ensure the smoothest texture.

There are a few different ways to melt chocolate. First, chocolate can be melted over a double boiler or a hot water bath. The water level in the bottom pot should never touch the bowl or the underside of the top portion of the double boiler. The water is brought to a boil first and then removed from the heat. Chopped chocolate is then placed over the pot of hot water either in a bowl or the top portion of the double boiler.

If left alone, chocolate will melt, even with minimal stirring. Chopping the chocolate beforehand increases its surface area, allowing the heat to come into contact with many surfaces of the chocolate at once. Keep any steam or drops of water from getting inside the bowl or container of chocolate.

Some chefs are successful at melting chocolate slowly and gently to this point, then they get into trouble when lifting the bowl of chocolate off the pot of water and adding it to other ingredients. The bottom of the bowl is guaranteed to be covered in beads of water from the steam produced from the bottom pot of water. Be sure to wipe the bottom of the bowl thoroughly before pouring the chocolate into another container or adding it to other ingredients. This prevents any water drops from getting into the chocolate causing it to seize.

The second way to melt chocolate is to microwave it at a very low power setting. This must be done slowly and carefully because microwaves have "hot spots" and inconsistencies in temperature.

When chopped chocolate will be melted with other ingredients such as butter, oil, or cream, it may be placed directly over low heat in a small pot.

Chocolate should be melted:

* Slowly

* Gently

* Avoiding humidity, steam, or small quantities of water-based liquids to prevent seizing

The Fat Crystals in Cocoa Butter

Working with chocolate can be difficult. Chocolate reacts poorly to humidity, small quantities of water, and adverse temperatures. The reason for this difficulty is due to the temperamental nature of cocoa butter.

The fat in cocoa butter is composed of six different types of fat crystals. Each type of crystal forms and melts at different temperatures. The various melting points of each fat crystal create problems for chocolate, causing the crystals to separate out. This affects the shelf life, the appearance, and the quality of the chocolate. Of the six types of fat crystals, the one that melts at the highest temperature is the one that is considered to be the most stable. It is known as the beta-type crystal and has a melting point of 95[degrees]F (35[degrees]C). When the melted fat crystals in chocolate cool down and begin to set up and solidify, it is the ones with the highest melting point, the beta-crystals, that solidify fastest. As they solidify they create smaller, finer crystals that start a chain reaction that takes over and dominates the chocolate, helping to make it appear shiny and break with a snap. This chain reaction of crystals is similar to the crystallization process in sugar syrups.

Why Chocolate Is Tempered

To create an environment in which beta-crystals dominate the melted chocolate, the chocolate must go through a process known as tempering. The goal of tempering is to take melted chocolate and create the highest percentage of beta-crystals as possible after the chocolate has solidified.

Tempering is a three-stage process wherein the fat crystals in the chocolate are stabilized by melting and then by cooling and rewarming. Properly tempered chocolate can remain at cool room temperature without any loss of quality for up to 1 year or more.

Chocolate that is sold commercially in blocks, bars, and chips has already gone through tempering. Chocolate decorations made from untempered chocolate cannot be kept at room temperature without becoming speckled and mottled in appearance. Instead of drying to a shiny finish, the chocolate looks like a dull mud pie that is crackled and flakes off into pieces. The chocolate is said to be out of temper. This is due to various fat crystals within the chocolate that separate out, becoming unstable and rising to the surface. (See Blooming.)

Determining When Tempering Is Necessary

Chocolate that will be used as an ingredient within a recipe such as in a buttercream, mousse, cake, cookie, torte, glaze, ganache, truffle, or fudge does not require tempering. Desserts and chocolate-dipped fruit that will be refrigerated and consumed within a short period of time do not require tempering either.

It is only when the chocolate will be used as a decoration to be placed on a dessert or used to coat candies or cakes that it needs to be tempered. For example, the chocolate for a truffle filling would not need to be tempered, but the chocolate used to dip the truffle and coat the outside would need to be tempered.

If there are time constraints, tempering can be avoided by using compound coatings that contain little or no cocoa butter and therefore do not require tempering. However, their taste is different and may be less desirable than using chocolate containing cocoa butter.

Desserts in which chocolate is an ingredient do not require tempering. Candies dipped in chocolate and other chocolate decorations using melted chocolate require tempering if they are not refrigerated or consumed quickly.


Tempering is not an easy process. Even small fluctuations in temperature or humidity in the kitchen will affect whether or not tempering will be successful. Cocoa butter content among different brands of chocolate can also produce inconsistencies that affect a chocolate's ability to be tempered. Chefs who temper chocolate by hand over time become familiar with these fluctuations and can compensate for them.

Even though the directions for tempering seem simple, the art of tempering is indeed quite tricky. Conditions in the kitchen may be perfect for tempering one time and not the next. Once the chocolate is perfectly "in temper," usually within the temperature range of 86[degrees] to 91[degrees]F (30[degrees] to 33[degrees]C) for semisweet and bittersweet chocolate and 86[degrees] to 89[degrees]F (30[degrees] to 32[degrees]C) for milk and white chocolate, the challenge is in keeping it there. Many warming tools can be used. Anything from a hair blower to a heating pad or hot water bath can be used to maintain a consistent temperature. If the temperature goes above or below the ideal temperature range, the chocolate must be melted down again and the process repeated. Test the temperature of each of these warming tools to make sure which setting will be the correct one to getting the chocolate within the correct temperature range.

Directions for tempering are briefly discussed in the following paragraphs, but be aware that the ability to temper comes over time with much practice.

The art of tempering requires speed because there is only a small window of time between a chocolate's ideal tempering temperature and the chocolate becoming too cool and solidifying. One basic piece of equipment necessary for tempering is a thermometer specialized for chocolate work with a range of 80[degrees] to 130[degrees]F (26[degrees] to 54[degrees]C).

Tempering involves three stages: melting, cooling, and rewarming. (See Table 19-1, Correct Temperature Ranges for Each Stage of Tempering.)

1. Melting stage. The first stage in the tempering process begins with melting down the chocolate in a bowl over a pot of water that has been brought to a simmer and removed from the heat. Be sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. The steam rising from the water below is just gentle enough to melt the chocolate in the bowl without scorching it. Melting dissolves all the different types of fat crystals within the chocolate. This presents an "even playing field" to control the process of recrystallizing in a controlled environment. Keep the chocolate at this stage for 15 to 30 minutes, while stirring, to maintain the melting temperature. The melting temperature should not go above 120[degrees]F (49[degrees]C) for semisweet and bittersweet chocolate or 115[degrees]F (46[degrees]C) for milk and white chocolate.

2. Cooling stage. The second stage involves cooling the chocolate by removing it from the heat and either stirring it or working a small portion of it on a marble slab. The chocolate is cooled to approximately 82[degrees] to 84[degrees]F (27[degrees] to 29[degrees]C) for semisweet or bittersweet chocolate and 80[degrees] to 82[degrees]F (26[degrees] to 28[degrees]C) for milk and white chocolate. During this stage the chocolate begins to thicken because the fat crystals are recrystallizing as the temperature drops. Ideally, the fat crystals should be very small and be of the beta type. The presence of beta-crystals starts a chain reaction that creates more and more beta-crystals. This process is slow because it takes time for beta-crystals to form properly.

3. Rewarming stage. Because the cooled chocolate is no longer fluid enough to use for dipping, it is necessary to rewarm it. The rewarming is done very gradually and the chocolate is brought to a specific range of temperatures. For semisweet and bittersweet chocolate, the temperature range is 86[degrees] to 91[degrees]F (30[degrees] to 33[degrees]C) and 86[degrees] to 89[degrees]F (30[degrees] to 32[degrees]C) for milk and white chocolate. The idea here is not to melt all the fat crystals but to try to maintain only the smallest and finest ones. As the chocolate hardens, the crystals with the highest melting point take over. The fat crystals with the highest melting point (the beta-crystals) will not melt down at these rewarming temperatures and create a chocolate that can be stored at room temperature, extending its shelf life. Even at the ideal temperature range, the chocolate can appear too viscous for dipping. Do not be tempted to increase the temperature to increase the chocolate's fluidity. Chocolate manufacturers may add melted cocoa butter at this stage to thin it down. Note the rewarming stage is not called the remelting stage for a reason: The chocolate is warmed up just enough to melt down the fat crystals with the lower melting points while keeping the crystals with the highest melting points intact.

The three stages of tempering include melting, cooling, and rewarming.

(Note: These temperatures are a general guideline and may vary. Manufacturers of specific brands of chocolate may suggest different temperatures for each stage of tempering.)

Two Methods of Tempering

There are two methods of tempering chocolate: the table method and the seeding or injection method. They are described using semisweet chocolate. Please refer to Table 19-1, Correct Temperature Ranges for Each Stage of Tempering, to temper milk and white chocolate.

Method 1: The Table Method

The table method is so named because part of the melted chocolate is poured onto a table or marble slab to increase its surface area and cool it down. Once cooled to the proper temperature, this chocolate is added back into the remaining melted chocolate. It is then rewarmed to the proper temperature interval. The chocolate must be stirred constantly because it sets very quickly.


1. Chopped chocolate is melted in a bowl over a pot of water that has been brought to a simmer and removed from the heat while being stirred constantly (Figure 19-4). The temperature of the chocolate should not exceed 120[degrees]F (49[degrees]C).

2. The bowl of chocolate is removed from the heat and the bottom and sides are wiped completely dry, removing all traces of moisture.

3. Pour approximately two thirds of the chocolate onto a clean, dry marble slab or stainless steel surface (Figure 19-5). Using an offset spatula, spread the chocolate out thinly so it increases its surface area, cooling it down. Scrape and mix it back together (Figure 19-6). This process is continued until the chocolate becomes pasty and dull looking. Variations exist as to what fraction of the melted chocolate should be poured onto the work surface.

4. When the chocolate reaches 82[degrees] to 84[degrees]F (28[degrees] to 29[degrees]C) quickly scrape it back into the bowl with the remaining melted chocolate (Figure 19-7). Set the bowl of chocolate over a pot of simmering water, off the heat, or on top of a warm heating pad and mix gently until the mixture is rewarmed to approximately 86[degrees] to 91[degrees]F (30[degrees] to 33[degrees]C) (Figure 19-8). Test the chocolate by dropping a small amount onto a parchment-lined sheet pan and allow it to harden. It should harden within several minutes. When lifted up, it should break with a snap. The chocolate is tempered and ready to use as long as the temperature range is maintained.






Method 2: The Seeding or Injection Method

The seeding or injection method of tempering is somewhat simpler than the table method. Very finely grated or shaved chocolate, also known as the seeding chocolate, is gradually added into the melted chocolate. The shaved chocolate cools down the melted chocolate until the approximate temperature is reached and then rewarmed to the proper temperature interval for tempering. Some methods call for a few larger chunks of chocolate to be used in place of the shaved particles. These larger pieces are allowed to remain in the melted chocolate just until the proper cooling temperature is reached and then removed. The advantage here is that the larger chunks are easier to remove and thus maintain a better control over the temperature. The proper ratio of melted chocolate to grated chocolate is 4 to 1. So for 16 ounces (2 2/3 cups; 454 g) of melted chocolate, 4 ounces (2/3 cup; 113 g) of grated chocolate should be used as the seeding chocolate.


1. Chopped chocolate is melted in a bowl over a pot of water that has been brought to a simmer and removed from the heat while being stirred constantly. The temperature of the chocolate should not exceed 120[degrees]F (49[degrees]C).

2. One fourth of the amount of the same type of chocolate is grated or shaved into very fine particles.

3. The melted chocolate is removed from the pot of water and the bottom of the bowl wiped completely dry. A small quantity of shaved chocolate is then sprinkled and stirred into it (Figure 19-9). After it melts, another small quantity of shaved chocolate is stirred in and allowed to melt. This process is repeated until the correct cooling temperature is reached and the chocolate has thickened. As the correct temperature is reached, the chocolate shavings will take longer to melt. Be sure they are completely melted before rewarming.

4. Place the chocolate over the pot of water and rewarm it (or place the bowl on top of a warm heating pad), monitoring the temperature carefully, until it is within the correct interval for tempering (Figure 19-10). The chocolate is now tempered and ready to use as long as the temperature range is maintained.

Determining When the Chocolate Is Tempered

There are a few ways to know whether the chocolate has been tempered successfully. Some chefs dip a palette knife into the chocolate and then allow it to dry at room temperature. Properly tempered chocolate should set up and dry within several minutes and should be shiny without any streaks.





Or, they may place a small amount of tempered chocolate onto a parchment-lined sheet pan and allow it to harden. If it looks shiny and breaks with a snap after a few minutes, it is properly tempered.

To see the difference between how tempered chocolate and untempered chocolate set up, melt some chocolate and spread it onto a parchment-covered sheet pan next to the tempered chocolate. The tempered chocolate will harden within several minutes, whereas the untempered chocolate stays soft for a much longer period of time. When it finally does harden, the untempered chocolate will look mottled and dull. After a few days, successfully tempered chocolate will continue to be shiny and hard, while the untempered chocolate will look brittle with blotches of white (Figure 19-11A and B).

Commercial Tempering Machines

A large commercial tempering machine is used to temper large quantities of chocolate. A commercial chocolate temperer is thermostatically controlled to keep temperatures exactly where they should be. The chocolate goes through the three stages of tempering within the machine and, once tempered, can remain within the ideal temperature range for long periods of time. Commercial chocolate tempering machines are also available in smaller sizes for smaller operations.

What to Do with Tempered Chocolate

Once the chocolate has been tempered, it can be shaped into various decorations to garnish cakes, tortes, small pastries, pies, tarts, cookies, or individual desserts such as mousses and ice creams. It can also be poured into candy molds or used to coat confections such as truffles, caramels, nuts, fruits, and marzipan.

Tempered chocolate may be poured into a parchment cone or pastry bag and piped into various shapes, designs, and patterns. Once they have hardened, they may be stored in an airtight container at cool room temperature for weeks until needed.

Tempered chocolate can be spread onto a sheet pan covered with parchment paper. Once the chocolate is partially firm, various shapes may be cut out using cookie cutters or a knife.

Tempered chocolate can be spread onto a plastic sheet called acetate and, when it becomes tacky, it can be wrapped around a cake or tart until firm. Once firm, the acetate is peeled off, leaving a decorative, hard chocolate coating.


The proper temperature to store most chocolate is between 56[degrees] and 60[degrees]F (13[degrees] and 16[degrees]C). Tempered chocolate that has been exposed to temperature variations or humidity can develop a whitish-gray, spotty outer coating. These improper storage conditions cause the chocolate to go "out of temper." When this occurs, the chocolate is said to have "bloomed." Blooming does not affect the taste of the chocolate but it is unsightly.

For chocolate that will be melted down and used within a recipe, blooming is not a problem. However, bloom on chocolates that are sold as confections can be a major problem. There are two types of bloom: sugar bloom and fat bloom.

Sugar Bloom

Just as small quantities of water, humidity, or steam can wreak havoc on melted chocolate, humidity can also adversely affect solid chocolate that is being stored on a shelf. Humidity is nothing more than water in the air that can come into contact with the chocolate. Sugar crystals within the chocolate are hygroscopic and absorb moisture from the air, thus providing an incompatibility between the small quantity of water and the chocolate. This causes a recrystallization of sugar on the surface of the chocolate as the water evaporates. The chocolate tastes gritty and looks dull, streaky, and gray. This is known as sugar bloom. Chocolate that has been left uncovered in the refrigerator may develop sugar bloom.

Fat Bloom

Fat bloom occurs when chocolate has been stored over 70[degrees]F (21[degrees]C) or it has not been properly tempered. The crystals of fat travel to the surface of the chocolate and recrystallize on the outside, forming a whitish coating.

Fat bloom only affects the appearance of the chocolate, not the quality. The chocolate can be used in a recipe or tempered again to restabilize the fat crystals.

(Note: Chocolate with sugar bloom can be used for baking but it should never be retempered for candy making. Because it has absorbed a small quantity of moisture from the sugar, it has the potential to seize up.)


Ganache is one of the most versatile concoctions in the pastry kitchen. Ganache is a rich combination of cream and chocolate (see Chapters 14 and 15). Depending on the ratio of chocolate to cream used in its preparation, ganache can be used in many different types of desserts. In general, the greater the ratio of chocolate to heavy cream, the firmer the ganache will be when it is chilled because the cocoa butter in the chocolate solidifies. For example, ganache can be used to prepare a fudge sauce using a 1 to 1 ratio of chocolate to cream. Rich chocolate frostings and glazes generally use a ganache made with a 2 to 1 ratio of chocolate to cream. Some recipes for ganache may include other ingredients such as egg yolks, butter, sugar, corn syrup, or cocoa powder to increase the richness and improve texture. Other ingredients such as liqueurs, preserves, and extracts may also be added for flavor.

One popular way that ganache is used is to produce the centers for the rich confection known as truffles. Truffles are created from chilled or whipped ganache and shaped into balls. Ganache can be blended with many different ingredients such as coconut cream, coffee, fruit purees, nuts, praline, caramel, or liqueurs and extracts to create a wide variety of flavors. The ganache can also be formed around a single nut or a piece of candied ginger, dried fruit, or a fresh fruit such as a raspberry to give added texture and flavor before being rolled into a ball and chilled.

A ratio of 3 parts chocolate to 1 part cream by weight (a 3:1 ratio) is the average ratio for truffles, although there are many variations. The large proportion of chocolate is to ensure that, once the chocolate is chilled within the cream, it resolidifies and can hold its shape.

Once formed, truffle centers can be frozen, wrapped in an airtight container and stored for several weeks before being thawed in the refrigerator, and then dipped into melted chocolate or rolled in confectioners' sugar, cocoa powder, crushed nuts, toasted coconut, or crushed praline.

Truffles can be made from semisweet, milk, or white chocolate ganache. Some truffle recipes may blend different chocolates together. A nice contrast is created when a white chocolate center is dipped into dark chocolate or vice versa.

Dense versus Light Truffle Centers

Truffle centers can be dense and thick or light and fluffy. Depending on how the ganache filling is treated after preparation will determine whether a truffle is dense or light.

Dense Truffles

To create a dense truffle, the warm ganache filling is simply poured into an ungreased shallow pan with sides or a bowl and chilled until it is firm. A small ice cream scoop (1/2 ounce; 15 mL) or melon baller is used to scoop balls of ganache onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper that has been dusted with either cocoa powder or confectioners' sugar.

The balls are chilled until almost firm and rolled in the palms of the hands until smooth and uniform. They can be rolled into cocoa powder or confectioners' sugar and chilled until ready to serve. Or they can be dipped into melted, tempered couverture and coated with finely chopped nuts, praline, or coconut. Truffles should be stored in an airtight container.

Light Truffles

To create a lighter truffle, the ganache is beaten in an electric mixer using the paddle attachment until smooth and it appears to have lightened in color. The air beaten into the ganache produces a light, almost whipped texture. The ganache should not be overbeaten or it will become grainy and stiff.

The ganache can then be placed into a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip and piped into balls onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper that has been dusted with cocoa powder or confectioners' sugar. The truffles are then rolled in the palm of the hands until smooth and uniform. Like dense truffles, the light truffles may be rolled in cocoa powder or confectioners' sugar or dipped in melted, tempered couverture.

Molding Chocolate

Tempered chocolate can also be poured into clean, dry molds to form a shell and then filled with various fillings such as ganache or caramel. The filled molds are then covered with tempered chocolate to seal the filling inside. Because chocolate contracts after it hardens, the chocolates are easily popped out of the molds.

Chocolate Molds

High-quality chocolate molds generally are made from polycarbonate. Other materials used to create molds include tin and thin plastic.

Polycarbonate molds are used most often by professional confectioners because of their sturdiness and their ability to form chocolates with a smooth, glossy finish. The molds need to be clean and dry to produce high-quality chocolates. They are generally cleaned by hand (never in a machine) using warm, soapy water. Abrasive materials should never be used or the molds could become scratched. These scratches would, in turn, be transferred to the chocolate.

It is not necessary to clean the molds in soapy water after each use. However, it is necessary to polish or buff the inside of the molds before each use. Buffing is done using cotton wool or balls of cotton to remove dried bits of chocolate.

Procedure to Mold Chocolates

l. Ladle tempered chocolate, preferably couverture, over clean, dry molds and spread the chocolate into each opening or shell using an offset spatula, filling each shell to overflowing.

2. Turn the mold upside down and gently tap to remove any excess chocolate. There should be a thin chocolate coating inside each shell. Scrape the flat side of the mold with an offset spatula to clean the excess chocolate off the surface of the mold. Refrigerate the mold right side up (chocolate facing up) until the chocolate shells have set and hardened.

3. Steps 1 and 2 are repeated to increase the thickness of the shell. Ideally, the shell of chocolate should be no thicker than 1/16 of an inch (1 mm).

4. Using a pastry bag, carefully fill each chocolate shell with ganache or other filling to slightly less than full. The filling must not come up to the edge of the chocolate shell where a layer of melted chocolate will be poured to seal the filling into the shell. If any shell is filled too high, the shell will not seal and filling will leak out. The temperature of the filling should not exceed 70[degrees]F (21[degrees]C) or the chocolate shell could melt.

5. Using a ladle, gently pour tempered chocolate over the filling to cover and seal each filled shell. If the filling is liquidy and soft, fill a pastry bag with tempered chocolate and pipe it over the filled shells until the shells are completely sealed.

6. Using an offset spatula, gently scrape the excess chocolate off into a bowl. Allow the chocolates to harden in a refrigerator.

7. Once hardened, the shells will look slightly contracted and will have pulled away from the sides of the mold. Place a sheet pan lined with parchment paper onto a work surface. After tapping the mold onto the work surface, turn the mold upside down over the prepared sheet pan and the chocolates should fall out. If some chocolates have remained, tap the mold again to loosen them and turn the mold over to release the chocolates.


Coconut Truffles (This chapter, page 477)

Espresso Hazelnut Truffles (This chapter, page 474)

Jeweled Semisweet Chocolate Drops (This chapter, page 473)

Makes approximately 80 to
100 chocolate drops

Lessons demonstrated in this recipe:

* How to use tempered chocolate to prepare a simple candy.

* Decorating the chocolate drops with nuts, brittle, dried fruits,
  and ginger adds flavor and texture.

               MEASUREMENTS               INGREDIENTS

          U.S.              METRIC

1 pound       2 2/3 cups    454 g         semisweet chocolate,
As desired                  As desired    assortment of coarsely
                                          chopped nut brittle, toasted
                                          almonds, hazelnuts, cashews,
                                          dried cranberries, cherries,
                                          raisins, chopped candied
                                          ginger, chopped peppermint
                                          candies, and non-pareils

1. Cover a sheet pan with parchment paper. Have assorted nuts,
   brittle, dried fruit, and candied ginger ready.


2. Place the tempered chocolate into a disposable plastic pastry bag.
   Using kitchen scissors, snip the end of the bag to create a 1/4-inch
  (6-mm) hole.

3. Pipe the chocolate into small, dime-sized round drops onto the
   prepared sheet pan. The drops will spread out slightly.

4. Decorate each drop with a few of the candies, nuts, or dried fruits
   (Figure 19-12).

5. Allow the drops to harden at cool, room temperature. The drops can
   be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for at least
   2 weeks.

Variation: Semisweet chocolate can be replaced with an equal amount of
white chocolate, milk chocolate, or bittersweet couverture.



Makes approximately
60 to 70 truffles (1/2 ounce;
15 g each)

Lessons demonstrated in this recipe:

* How to prepare truffles using ganache, a combination of cream and

* A ratio of 3 parts chocolate to 1 part cream (a 3:1 ratio) allows
  the truffle centers to become firm when chilled.

* Beating air into the ganache creates a truffle that is lighter in

* Truffles are dipped chilled, so they retain their shape even in the
  warm, melted chocolate.

* The truffles are dipped into tempered couverture because it has a
  higher percentage of cocoa butter and a more fluid consistency when
  melted. If tempering is too time consuming, melted compound coating
  can be used.

                    MEASUREMENTS             INGREDIENTS

               U.S.                METRIC

8 fluid ounces    1 cup            240 mL    heavy cream
                  2 teaspoons        2 g     instant espresso or
                                             instant coffee powder
2 ounces          4 tablespoons     55 g     unsalted butter
                  1 tablespoon       5 mL    light corn syrup
1 1/2 pounds      4 cups           680 g     semisweet chocolate,
                                             coarsely chopped
1 1/2 fluid       3 tablespoons     45 mL    hazelnut liqueur or
ounces                                       hazelnut syrup
                                             Sifted unsweetened cocoa
                                             powder for dusting
                                             60 to 70 hazelnuts,
                                             skinned and toasted

1 1/2 pounds      4 cups           680 g     tempered semisweet
or                                           couverture
1 1/2 pounds      4 cups           680 g     semisweet compound
                                             coating, coarsely
                                             chopped and melted over
                                             a double boiler
                                             finely crushed Hazelnut
                                             Praline (Chapter 14,
                                             page 342) placed in a
                                             pie plate

1. In a heavy saucepan, bring the cream, coffee, butter, and corn syrup
   to a boil over medium-high heat.

2. Remove pan from the heat and add the chopped chocolate and the
   liqueur or syrup. Whisk the mixture gently until the chocolate is
   melted (Figure 19-13).


3. Pour the mixture into a bowl and chill it in the refrigerator,
   stirring often, until it thickens and can hold its shape when
   dropped from a spoon. If time is limited, the mixture can also be
   placed in the freezer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently. The
   mixture can also be stirred over an ice water bath for 15 to 20
   minutes (Figure 19-14). Be sure to completely scrape down to the
   bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula where the mixture will
   harden first.

4. If an ice water bath is used, wipe any water off the bottom of the
   bowl using a kitchen towel (Figure 19-15). Using a rubber spatula,
   scoop the mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer and, using
   the paddle attachment, beat the mixture until it becomes smooth and
   appears somewhat lighter in color (Figure 19-16). This should take
   between 10 and 15 seconds at medium speed. Do not overbeat the
   ganache or it will become grainy and stiff.

5. Immediately scoop the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large
   round tip and pipe out balls the size of large grapes (approximately
   1/2 ounce; 15 g) onto a parchment-lined sheet pan that has been
   dusted with cocoa powder (Figure 19-17).

6. Make an indentation into each ball and push one hazelnut into the
   center (Figure 19-18). Roll the truffles in the palms of your hands
   (using extra cocoa powder if necessary to prevent them from
   sticking) until they are smooth balls and place them back onto the
   same sheet pan (Figure 19-19). Refrigerate the balls until they are
   very firm.

(Note: The truffles can be frozen in
an airtight container for several
weeks. Thaw them in the
refrigerator until they are ready to
be dipped.)







7. Roll each truffle between the palms of your hands to wipe off any
   excess cocoa powder. Use one of the following methods to dip the


Place one chocolate truffle at a time into tempered couverture. Using
a truffle dipping fork or spoon (a special handled fork or hollowed
spoon), pick up the truffle (Figure 19-20A). Gently knock off the
excess chocolate. Place the truffle onto a sheet pan covered with
parchment paper. Sprinkle each truffle with hazelnut praline.
Alternatively after dipping, the truffle can be rolled into the
praline to cover it completely. Toasted, chopped nuts can be used
instead of the praline.


Using gloved hands, scoop a small amount of chocolate into the palm of
one hand and roll each truffle in the chocolate (Figure 19-20B). Place
each truffle, knocking off excess chocolate, onto a parchment-lined
sheet pan. Sprinkle hazelnut praline over each truffle. Allow the
chocolate on the truffles to harden.

Alternatively, place some praline into a small bowl and roll the dipped
truffle in it to completely cover it. Set the praline-covered truffle
onto a sheet pan covered with parchment paper (Figure 19-21).

(Note: The dipping step can be
omitted completely and the
truffles can instead be rolled in
confectioners' sugar or
unsweetened cocoa powder.)

(Note: If the truffle centers are
too cold, the layer of chocolate
on the newly dipped truffles may
crack. Repeat the dipping
process again to ensure no
further cracking occurs once the
chocolate has hardened.)


If any of the chocolate
coating has cracked, the
truffles can be re-dipped
into the chocolate.





Makes 100 to 110 truffles
(1/2 ounce; 15 g each)

Lessons demonstrated in this recipe:

* How to prepare truffles using a coconut-flavored white chocolate

* High-quality white chocolate containing cocoa butter will yield a
  truffle with a smooth, rich, creamy mouthfeel.

* A denser center is created by pouring the ganache mixture into a
  shallow container with sides and scooping out truffles using an ice
  cream scooper or melon baller.

                     MEASUREMENTS            INGREDIENTS

              U.S.                 METRIC

8 fluid ounces    1 cup            240 mL    heavy cream
2 ounces          4 tablespoons     55 g     unsalted butter
2 3/4 ounces      1/4 cup           80 g     cream of coconut
1 1/2 pounds      4 cups           680 g     high-quality white
                                             chocolate, chopped
                  1 teaspoon         6 g     finely grated lime zest
1 1/4 ounces      1/2 cup           35 g     sweetened, shredded
                                             coconut, toasted and
                                             finely chopped
1 fluid ounce     2 tablespoons     30 mL    coconut rum
                  2 teaspoons       10 mL    coconut extract
                                             sifted confectioners'


1 1/2 pounds      4 cups           680 g     tempered semisweet
or                                           couverture
1 1/2 pounds      4 cups           680 g     semisweet compound
                                             coating, coarsely chopped
                                             and melted over a double
1 1/4ounces        1/2cup          35 g      sweetened, shredded
                                             coconut, toasted sifted
                                             unsweetened cocoa powder

1. In a heavy saucepan, bring the cream, butter, and the cream of
   coconut to a boil.

2. Remove the mixture from the heat and add the white chocolate
   (Figure 19-22). Whisk gently until the chocolate is melted. Add
   the lime zest, coconut, coconut rum, and coconut extract (Figure



3. Pour the mixture into an ungreased shallow pan with sides. Chill
   the ganache until the mixture is firm.

4. Using a melon baller or a small ice cream scoop (1/2 ounce; 15 mL),
   form the ganache into small balls and place them into a bowl with
   sifted confectioners' sugar (Figure 19-24). Coat each ball in
   sugar and place it back on the sheet pan.

5. Chill the truffles for approximately 10 to 15 minutes or until they
   are firm enough to roll. Roll the truffles between the palms of
   your hands into smooth balls (Figure 19-25). Chill the truffles
   until they are quite firm.

6. On a sheet pan covered with parchment paper, lightly combine the
   toasted coconut and enough cocoa powder to coat the coconut and
   form a powdery mixture. Set aside. Dip the chilled truffle centers
   into tempered semisweet chocolate using Dipping Method 1 or 2 in
   the previous recipe for Espresso Hazelnut Truffles.

7. Roll each truffle in the coconut cocoa mixture and set the truffle
   on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper (Figure 19-26).

8. Chill the truffles until firm. When the truffles are cut in half,
   they will resemble miniature coconut halves.

Look for other recipes containing chocolate throughout this textbook.

(Note: The truffles can simply be
rolled in confectioners' sugar or
unsweetened cocoa powder and
left undipped.)


If the truffles are not to be
dipped right away, they can
be kept for several weeks in
an airtight container in the
freezer. Thaw the truffles in
the refrigerator before





Review Questions

1. What causes the whitish-gray covering to form on some chocolate?

2. Where does cocoa powder come from?

3. Which type of cocoa powder reacts with baking soda to produce carbon dioxide gas, which can be used to leaven baked goods?

4. Why is the addition of cocoa butter so important to the quality of chocolate?

5. What is white chocolate?

6. What are the differences between white chocolate couverture and white compound coating?

7. In which dessert would tempering be necessary--a fudge brownie or chocolate-covered truffles?

8. What causes chocolate to seize?

9. Name the three stages of tempering. Explain each one.

10. Which method of tempering requires a clean, dry marble slab or stainless steel surface?


Professional Profile


Ronald Stapleton


Cocoa Passion

McLean, VA

1. Question: When did you realize that you wanted to pursue a career in baking and pastry?

Answer: When I was 4 or 5 years old I would help my dad, who was a baker, make various twists and shapes from his bread dough at home. This was the beginning of my interest. As I got older I would make cakes or desserts for family dinners on Sundays. First I worked with package mixes and then when I was about 9 or 10, I developed the confidence to start making cakes from scratch.

2. Question: Was there a person or event that influenced you to go into this line of work?

Answer: The person who influenced me the most was my brother. He bought me my first culinary book, The International Confectioner. He continued to encourage me. I also purchased a book, The Great Chefs of France that had big impact on me. I was mesmerized by a picture of a frozen strawberry cake that had fine chocolate line work piped on top. It was so pretty that it showed me that cooking can also be an expression of art.

3. Question: What did you find most challenging when you first began working in baking and pastry?

Answer: The only aspect that presented a real challenge was the attitude of some of the chefs. Every other aspect of the trade was a joy.

4. Question: Where and when was your first practical experience in a professional baking setting?

Answer: On the advice of my school counselor in England I got a job in a hotel when I was about 13. I worked during school holidays and during weekends. It was the polite nature and caring encouragement of the pastry chef there that stimulated my interest in chocolate and sugar work. I remember spending spare time listening to top 10 music and trying to roll that perfect chocolate cigarette!

5. Question: How did this experience affect your later professional development?

Answer: Seeing the wonderful creations of the pastry chef and then looking at pictures in the publications he had, gave me the incentive to carry on with my endeavor to become a pastry chef. It encouraged me to go farther.

6. Question: Who were your mentors when you were starting out?

Answer: My parents were my early mentors, especially my mother who always encouraged me to pursue my dreams. My brother and many teachers were also influential, but there are a few instructors who stand out such as Willy Pfund, a 5 foot, 1 inch "Sugar Emperor." What he couldn't do in sugar just couldn't be done. Another important teacher was Chef Roger Taylor who taught me how to use the love I had for this profession.

7. Question: What would you list as the greatest rewards of your professional life?

Answer: It is watching students develop skills that they thought would be impossible and seeing the sheer delight on their faces when they achieve their goals. It is also a great reward to be able to practice a skill and art form that I love.

8. Question: What traits do you consider essential for anyone entering the field?

Answer: A person must have patience, be "people friendly," and have the ability to work hard and creatively.

9. Question: If there was one message you would impart to all students in this field what would that be?

Answer: Follow your aspirations and never give up when the going gets tough. Most of all, enjoy. If you don't enjoy your work you will never develop satisfaction.
Table 19-1 Correct Temperature Ranges for Each Stage of Tempering

                   SEMISWEET AND

Melting            Not to exceed 120[degrees]F (49[degrees]C)
Cooling            82[degrees]-84[degrees]F (27[degrees]-29[degrees]C)
Rewarming          86[degrees]-91[degrees]F (30[degrees]-33[degrees]C)


Melting            Not to exceed 115[degrees]F (46[degrees]C)
Cooling            80[degrees]-82[degrees]F (26[degrees]-28[degrees]C)
Rewarming          86[degrees]-89[degrees]F (30[degrees]-32[degrees]C)


Melting            Not to exceed 115[degrees]F (46[degrees]C)
Cooling            80[degrees]-82[degrees]F (26[degrees]-28[degrees]C)
Rewarming          86[degrees]-89[degrees]F (30[degrees]-32[degrees]C)

Difference Between White Chocolate and White Chocolate-like Coatings

  High Quality
"White Chocolate"       = Cocoa Butter + Lecithin + Sugar + Milk Solids
(White Couverture)          + Flavorings

   Poorer Quality
White Chocolate-like      Hydrogenated
  Coatings (White      =   Vegetable
Confectionary Coating,     Shortening  + Lecithin + Sugar + Milk Solids
  Compound Coating)          + Flavorings
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Article Details
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Author:Sokol, Gail
Publication:About Professional Baking
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2006
Previous Article:Chapter 18 Frozen desserts.
Next Article:Chapter 20 Dessert sauces and plating.

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