Choose the Right Chocolate When Baking

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I love to cook and I confess to being a chocoholic: noun, a person who has an obsessive need to eat chocolate. Okay maybe not quite obsessive, but I do love chocolate and all the baked chocolate goodies that brag chocolate as their main ingredient.

But how do you choose a baking chocolate?

Whatever the recipe calls for right? No, not exactly. You do need to choose the type of chocolate a recipe calls for such as cocoa powder, dark chocolate, unsweetened chocolate and so on. This decision may depend on how much you want to spend, what is available in your area or what you can get by shopping on line.

The experts agree that a baking chocolate should be at least 60% cacao, which means that 60 percent is pure chocolate and the rest is made up of sugar, cocoa butter and other ingredients. Chocolate for baking comes in a number of forms including cocoa powder, chips, discs and bars in varying sizes.

What Can I do if I Need Chocolate Now?

If you are using a recipe with multiple ingredients, you might be able to get away with a chocolate you find in your local grocery store such as Nestles, Hershey’s, Baker’s or Ghirardelli. These are all fine in a pinch and are moderately priced but, be aware that you won’t get the same great results as if you used a chocolate for baking. So if you’re looking to impress or a simple way to boost the flavor in your recipe, upgrade your chocolate.

Don’t forget that if you find a chocolate that you love, or you don’t have chocolate chips on hand, you can chop a bar into pieces and make chocolate chunk cookies.

Taste Test of Your Baking Chocolate

One way to determine what type of chocolate you want to use in your recipe is to do your own taste test. Chocolate will taste the same out of the wrapper as it will in your baked goods. A mid priced, well respected baking chocolate might be a good choice. Baking chocolates can be found in some grocery stores and in specialty and cooking stores.

Which Brand is Best?

If you want that chocolate torte, fluffy chocolate layer cake or creamy chocolatemousse to impress even the pickiest of chocolate dessert eaters, then you may choose to go with the chocolate that master chefs and bakers tout as the best baking chocolate. Those would include Merkins, Valrhona, Callebaut and E. Guittard among others. These chocolates can be found in specialty food stores and cooking shops. The best bang for your buck is probably Merkins chocolate. It’s lesser known so it doesn’t carry a hefty price tag and you get a superior quality baking chocolate.

Try Some Merkins Baking Chocolate

How much you want to spend and what type of baking chocolate you choose may also depend on the final destination of the baked product. If it’s your child’s fifth grade birthday party, the grocery store option may work — Although kids can be super picky. If you’re out to impress with boss with gourmet chocolate lava cake with vanilla bean ice cream, go high end. Personally I use Merkins Baking Chocolate for everything. I know i’ve already said it, but it’s great chocolate at a great price — . You can’t go wrong.

What Other Baking Supplies Should I Have on Hand?

One should always have baking chocolate on hand for that last minute chocolate fix, and it’s also a good idea to have a stock of complementary ingredients such as nuts and dried fruits. Although you can find nuts on several websites, for a great selection of uber tastey small batch roasted nuts, check out Jerry’s Nut House .

For chocolate inspiration, The JoyofBaking.com has a great selection of chocolate

recipes complete with mouth watering photographs ‘” so get busy all you chocoholics and start baking!

While you’re here, be sure to check out our kitchen product reviews!

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