April 9, 2018 at 12:17 pm #11993
I bought the 2018 March/April issue of Bake from Scratch. A recipe that caught my eye was the Milk Chocolate Egg Cookies (p. 106). They use crushed Cadbury mini-eggs, and I picked up an 8 oz. package at the 50% off section of CVS. When I read the rest of the recipe however, I realized that it called for 4 oz. 45% cacao milk chocolate, melted and 1/2 cup 38% cacao milk chocolate chunks.
Huh? I priced one of the chocolates and thought–there is no way I will use such an expensive chocolate in cookies made with leftover Easter candy. Also, I only had package of high quality milk chocolate on hand, and that is earmarked for that chocolate tart I made twice last year, where I know the ingredient will shine. That’s the kind of recipe in which I would use expensive chocolate. Even if I wanted to use it, I doubt that I could buy it at the larger town north of us, and with wet snow this morning (now all gone), we postponed our shopping trip there.
I decided that it was not worth it, so I crushed the candy eggs and used them to top the KAF Deep Dark Brownies, which we will have for dessert tonight.
What are your thoughts on when to use expensive chocolate?April 9, 2018 at 12:40 pm #11995
Isn’t Mike the cholatier?April 9, 2018 at 3:05 pm #11997
When selecting a chocolate, you need to match what you’re using to the task at hand.
If you’re baking, you probably aren’t concerned with properly tempering the chocolate.
I’m concerned first with taste, and the percentage of cacao solids and cocoa butter both enter into that. (However, unless you’re buying commercial grade chocolate, you probably won’t get the cocoa butter percentage at all, Hershey’s considers that information a ‘trade secret’.)
Then I’m concerned with texture, and the percentage of cocoa butter affects that a lot. The more cocoa butter, the more solid it is. (Cocoa butter is hard at room temperature.)
Then I’m concerned with appearance, and that’s also largely dependent upon the cocoa butter.
You need to watch out for things like emulsifiers (which are present in most chocolate chips) and whether what you’re dealing with is really chocolate at all.
I probably have 20-30 pounds of chocolate on the shelf, most of what I have on hand these days is a couverture grade chocolate, at several different cacao levels. I have a basic milk chocolate, a basic semi-sweet chocolate and a couple of specialty products. I also have pure cocoa butter available so I can tinker with the fat ratio, and a few types of cocoa powder. I don’t have any 100% cocoa solid on hand, powdered cocoa comes close, though.
I avoid ‘coating chocolates’, they won’t temper properly, look waxy and taste like, well, I won’t use that word.
We used several different types of chocolates in chocolate school, and also a number of specialty products. Some of this was to give us some exposure to the range of products available, Cacao Barry is, after all, a company that markets hundreds of products to chocolatiers and chefs.
That having been said, the recipe cited above is probably a bit too fussy as to what it’s specifying, did it come from a source that sells chocolates and wants to sell a lot of product? (King Arthur Flour is guilty of that type of recipe-building, too.)April 9, 2018 at 3:14 pm #11998
I was able to locate it at the magazine’s website:
The magazine is overly fussy, although I’ve gotten a few good recipes from them. I couldn’t do any of the recipes in their British Baking issue (Jan/Feb) because they refused to give any possible substitutions for ingredients not readily available.
The other recipes in the chocolate section are items that if I were to bake them, I’d probably spring for more expensive chocolate, but not for these cookies.
April 10, 2018 at 9:54 pm #12015
- This reply was modified 8 months ago by BakerAunt.
At the store today, I saw a bar of Ghirardelli milk chocolate for baking. Mike was correct about chocolate companies withholding percentages: there was no cacao percentage listed.
April 11, 2018 at 7:38 pm #12022
- This reply was modified 8 months ago by BakerAunt.
FWIW, Callebaut 823 milk chocolate (what we used in chocolate school for milk chocolate) is 33.6% (minimum) cocoa solids, 36% total fat and 20.8% (minimum) milk solids. It comes in callets (large chips) and 11 pound slabs.
This is a medium or standard consistency milk chocolate. Callebaut rates it as a 3 on a scale of 1-5 for firmness.
Personally, I like the Callebaut 811 semisweet chocolate better, but I’ve always been a fan of darker chocolates. My wife even likes it, and she’s generally more of a milk chocolate person. The next time I make chocolate chip cookies, I’m going to try using these instead of the Nestles Tollhouse morsels. My suspicion is they’ll melt a bit more, because they don’t have the emulsifiers in them that consumer grade chocolate chips have.
For those of us not living in a major city (like Chicago), it may not be easy finding a local supplier for Callebaut products, most recently I got them from Stover & Co, a restaurant supply house in the Pittsburgh area. I’ll probably try to get more when we’re out there later this year.April 11, 2018 at 9:16 pm #12023
The Valrhona milk chocolate, that I’m hoarding for those two chocolate tarts, is 35% cocoa. It came from KAF, and it was expensive at $19.95 a pound. A coupon made it a little better.April 11, 2018 at 9:22 pm #12024
5.5 pounds bags of Callebaut callets are around $26 (plus shipping) at Stover. The 11 pound bars are under $45.April 12, 2018 at 10:04 am #12028
I am eating a bar of 72% chocolate from Trader Joe’s. Its one of their pound + bars and I have plenty left. I broke it up and it fills a quart mason jar. I might melt the rest down for chocolate rabbits or chocolate bark. This was $4.99 for the barApril 12, 2018 at 12:27 pm #12030
I’ve been missing Trader Joe’s ever since I moved from California almost 23 years ago. Aldi’s, while good for some items, does not have that kind of chocolate.April 12, 2018 at 12:50 pm #12032
Trader Joe’s ‘pound plus’ chocolate bars are pretty good, but I don’t know how they compare with Callabaut on cocoa butter and I haven’t compared the labels for other ingredients.
They don’t have any stores in Indiana yet, though.
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