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Handle Chocolate Like a Pro

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Chocolate can be a joy to work with, but it is also temperamental, demanding delicate care. Here are a few tips to keep your chocolate smooth — and your desserts a success.

Avoid getting chocolate wet.

Chocolate does not like liquid. Even a few drops will cause chocolate to seize and ruin its smooth texture. If liquid does get into the chocolate, reserve the chocolate for another use, like a ganache. If you add enough liquid, the chocolate will become viscous and can be used as a sauce, but it cannot be used for dipping or candy making.

Beware of burning chocolate.

Chocolate burns easily, so it is best to melt it gently over a double-boiler or in the microwave using low heat. Burned chocolate is similar to seized chocolate, becoming thick, lumpy and difficult to stir. Dark chocolate will burn at temperatures over 120 degrees, while white and milk chocolates are even more delicate, buring at temperatures over 110 degrees. Regardless of the method you choose to melt the chocolate, chop before you begin melting.

Double-Boiler
If using a double-boiler, do not let the water boil. The steam produced by the boiling water could end up in the chocolate, causing it to seize. A low simmer is best for dark chocolate, while water that has been brought to a boil and then turned off is best for melting white and milk chocolate. Stir constantly to keep the chocolate from getting too hot.

Microwave
Do not run the microwave on full power when melting chocolate. Set it to 50% power for dark chocolate and 30% for milk and white chocolate, then stir every 30 seconds until smooth.

whisk or mix constantly.

Adding chocolate to a mousse or batter can be tricky. Pouring it directly into the mixture without stirring will cause lumps of chocolate to form. If you have to add chocolate to a batter or liquid, make sure you are whisking constantly. A mixer is recommended. Another solution is to warm the liquid you are adding the chocolate to or melt them together.

Do not store in the fridge.

The optimal temperature for storing chocolate is between 65-70 degrees with low humidity. Chocolate that is stored in the refrigerator can bloom which causes a filmy white coating to form on the outside.

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