Here in my opinion is another basic knowledge any passionate home chef, a Baker, a Dessert maker, should learn. I am not talking about making chocolate sails but about PERFECTLY MELTING CHOCOLATE.
There are loads of things you can do with melted chocolate. It could be used as drips for cakes, toppings for dessert, flooding and outlining for cookies, glaze for doughnuts, or used singly to create stunning edible chocolate arts! Whatever you’re trying to achieve, you need to know how to perfectly melt your chocolates, be it white or dark chocolate.
White chocolate are even more delicate to melt. They have a lower melting point. And it’s adviceable to add heavy cream or milk to it. Another trick is to add a tablespoon of vegetable shortening per a cup of chocolate to prevent it from burning.
Melting chocolate can be done in a microwave or double boiler. Or like I did in a water bath. If using a microwave, melt over low heat. Same rule applies to the other methods. If using a water bath, also ensure the water inside the pot/pan is small so you don’t have it spilling into the chocolate while water is boiling.
What’s a double boiler?
Double boilers are two pots that use steam as a heat source to melt or cook food. They are made up of two pieces, a large pot that is filled with hot or boiling water and a smaller pot that fits inside and uses the steam from the hot water to heat your food. Because the heat comes from an indirect source, double boilers are ideal for cooking delicate foods like sauces and chocolates.
TIPS ON MELTING CHOCOLATE:
- Make sure the chocolate is chopped into pieces to enable it melt well.
- Avoid all contact with water! Chocolate will seize and become unworkable if it comes into contact with even a few droplets of water. Make sure your bowls, workstation, and spatulas are completely dry.
- Melt the chocolate slowly over low heat. Chocolate is very delicate and can become lumpy or grainy if overheated.
- Stir the chocolate frequently with a rubber spatula. Chocolate retains its shape when melted, so the only way to know if it is truly melted is to stir it. Do not rely on appearances alone.If your chocolate starts to set while working, return to the water bath or microwave and reheat.
- You can add flavours to your melted chocolate if you want but make sure they are oil-based flavours not water based.
- NEVER add water when melting chocolate. The chocolate will become lumpy and unmanageable. If you must add a liquid (such as heavy cream or milk) to chocolate, do so before the chocolate melts. Heat up the liquid first, then add the chocolate. The chocolate will melt more evenly and distribute into the liquid.
- You can place your chocolate project in the fridge to set on time. But to prevent condensation especially ‘cos of the hot climate condition in Nigeria, I usually just leave it in a cool dry place for some hours.
See step-by-step video here Chocolate sail
How to make chocolate sail:
- First begin by making sure your bowls and work area is water free. There should be no droplet of water.
- Next get your chocolate chop into pieces. Try to make the chopping uniform, this allows the chocolate melt evenly.
- If using a microwave, place chopped chocolate into a glass bowl and place in the microwave to melt. Occasionally remove from the microwave and stir. If you forget to stir, you will end up burning your chocolate. Chocolate continue melting even after it’s removed from heat. Hence to be on a safer side, remove your bowl from heat once 90% of the chocolate is melted and keep stirring till every part is melted.
- If using water bath, add little water to a skillet/pan/pot. Place your bowl on the water, do not cover the pot/skillet. Keep stirring till chocolate is melted.
- Once melted, get some pegs, and a parchment paper. Using a spatula, thinly spread the chocolate on the parchment paper.
- Next use the peg to hold the parchment paper to create the type of sail you want.
- Leave to air dry for few hours. You can place sail in the fridge to hasten the setting process of the climate condition in your area is favourable.
- Use sail as decorations for cakes, desserts, etc