Cooking with Chocolate

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Tips, Techniques and a Treat

Chocolate! Rich, decadent, sinful and the perfect mid-day snack. But there’s so much more you can do with chocolate besides eating it. Read on to learn more about cooking with chocolate.

Types of Cooking Chocolate

Unsweetened chocolate: Used extensively for baking, also known as baking chocolate or pure chocolate, and contains no added sugar.

Bittersweet/semisweet chocolate: Usually, has about 30%-35% of pure chocolate content with a fair amount of sugar in it. Also known as dark chocolate.

White chocolate: Though not technically a “chocolate”, white chocolate is a common cooking chocolate, made from milk, sugar and artificial flavouring.

Chocolate Cooking Techniques

Before you cook with chocolate, you need to melt and temper it or the chocolate will look dull. Here’s how you do it:

Melting: Break the chocolate bar into small chunks and melt them in a double boiler over very low heat. When the chocolate begins to melt, stir constantly until fully melted,  at a temperature of about 45°C (you must use a cooking thermometer). Keep the chocolate away from water/steam, or it’ll seize.

Cooling/tempering: Let the molten chocolate cool at room temperature to 30°C, stirring evenly. At this point, the chocolate is perfectly tempered and ready for use in cooking. If you need to reheat the chocolate, do so over the double boiler but do not reheat beyond 30-31°C.

Adding Shortening to Chocolate

Shortening is a fat, somewhat like margarine but without water content, that lends chocolate a smoother texture so that it’s easier to handle for coating or dipping.
Now for a delicious treat. Try this 15 minute microwave chocolate cake recipe:

Chocolate Ganache

100ml canola oil
175g castor sugar
140g flour
3 tbsp cocoa powder
3 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence

For ganache

100g dark chocolate and 5 tbsp cream


Grease a microwaveable cake pan. Mix dry ingredients in one bowl, then mix eggs, oil, vanilla essence, and 100 ml hot water in another. Combine dry and wet ingredients and mix to get a thick lump-free cake batter. Pour batter into the pan, cover with microwave-safe cling wrap and microwave on high for about 7 minutes. Check for doneness (insert toothpick in the middle of the cake and see if it comes out more or less clean and dry). Let the cake cool completely.


Melt and temper the chocolate and add the cream. Stir well and spread all over the fully cooled cake. Decorate to your liking and serve!

When cooking with chocolate, it is best to use premium quality chocolate. Choose cooking chocolate that has a smooth and silky texture, looks glossy, is evenly coloured, and has a rich aroma.


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