5 foods you HAVE TO cover in chocolate (apart from strawberries)
Indulge Your Taste Buds: Beyond Strawberries in Chocolate
When it comes to combining flavours, few things rival the blissful marriage of sweet chocolate and savoury snacks. While strawberries dipped in chocolate have long been a beloved treat, there's a whole world of possibilities waiting to be explored. From the crunch of potato chips to the fluffiness of marshmallows, the fusion of various foods with chocolate creates a symphony of taste and texture.
Beyond the Expected
1. Potato Chips: Who would have thought that the humble potato chip could elevate the chocolate experience? The salty crunch of the chip combined with the sweetness of chocolate creates a tantalizing contrast.
2. Nuts: From almonds to peanuts and hazelnuts, nuts bring a delightful nuttiness and a satisfying crunch to each chocolate-coated bite. Whether whole or chopped, they add depth to the flavour profile.
3. Popcorn: Picture this: fluffy popcorn coated in a smooth layer of chocolate. The marriage of salty, buttery popcorn with the sweetness of chocolate creates an addictive snack.
4. Marshmallows: These pillowy-soft treats transform when coated in chocolate. They add a delightful gooeyness and a hint of sweetness to complement the chocolate's richness.
5. Cookies: Whether it's Oreos, digestive biscuits, or shortbread, dipping cookies in chocolate takes them to another level. The mix of textures and flavours will make your taste buds dance.
The Art of Chocolate Coating
Now, let's dive into the magical process of coating these delectable items in chocolate. The good news? It's simpler than you think!
What You Need: Gather your chosen snacks, different types of chocolate (dark, milk, white), glass mixing bowls, and optionally, food colouring for a fun twist.
Melting the Chocolate: You have two primary methods: the microwave or a double boiler. In the microwave, heat the chocolate in short bursts, stirring in between until smooth. For the double boiler method, place a heatproof bowl over a saucepan with simmering water, ensuring the bowl doesn't touch the water. Stir the chocolate until melted.
Adding Food Colouring: For white chocolate, once it's melted, you can add food colouring to create vibrant and fun batches. Add the food colouring gradually, mixing thoroughly until you achieve the desired hue.
Tempering Chocolate: Tempering involves heating and cooling chocolate to specific temperatures to stabilize it. This process ensures a glossy finish, and snap, and prevents it from becoming dull or developing white streaks (bloom). Tempering affects the chocolate's texture, making it firmer at room temperature, and ideal for coatings.
How to Temper Chocolate
1. Chop the Chocolate: Begin by chopping your chocolate into small, uniform pieces. This helps in even melting.
2. Melt & Cool: Take about two-thirds of the chocolate and melt it using one of the methods mentioned earlier (microwave or double boiler). Once melted, remove it from the heat source and allow it to cool slightly.
3. Seeding Method: Add the remaining one-third of the chocolate (which hasn’t been melted) to the melted chocolate. Stir continuously to incorporate it. The addition of unmelted chocolate 'seeds' to the melted chocolate, encourages the formation of stable crystals.
4. Temperature Check: Ensure the chocolate's temperature is gradually reduced while stirring constantly. For dark chocolate, bring it to around 88-90°F (31-32°C); for milk or white chocolate, aim for 86-88°F (30-31°C).
5. Test the Tempering: To check if the chocolate is tempered, smear a small amount onto a piece of parchment paper or the back of a spoon. If it sets within a few minutes at room temperature and appears glossy with no streaks, it's tempered!
Remember, tempering might take a bit of practice, but once mastered, it ensures your chocolate-coated treats have that coveted glossy finish and a satisfying snap.
Experiment with different colours for white chocolate batches to add a playful element to your creations. Mixing in food colouring can be a wonderful way to customize your chocolate coatings for various occasions or themes.
So, get creative! Combine perfectly tempered chocolate with vibrant colours to transform your snacks into visually appealing and delicious treats.
When chocolate is tempered correctly, the coated foods will have a shiny finish, a satisfying snap when bitten into, and a stable texture that withstands room temperature without melting or becoming too soft.
Experimentation is key! Dip, coat, drizzle, and sprinkle to your heart's content. Don't hesitate to try different combinations or even add a dash of sea salt or a sprinkle of crushed nuts to add extra flair.