Chocolate. The very mention of it generates feelings of passion (mostly the passion of eating it in large quantities). Sure, study after study has been done on the effects of chocolate, but as to whether it extends one’s life expectancy, I’ll leave that to the researchers. I simply know that chocolate makes people happy, like no other confectionery— just try taking it off a restaurant dessert menu.
Everyone has their preference, whether it’s dark or white or anything in between. Unadulterated chocolate with no sugar or vanilla added is called bakers chocolate or unsweetened chocolate. In the United States, this chocolate has to have a minimum of 50 to 58 percent cocoa butter. Adding varying amounts of sugar, lecithin and vanilla produces bittersweet, semi-sweet or sweet chocolate, respectively. Adding dry milk to sweetened chocolate creates milk chocolate. (White chocolate— a mixture of sugar, cocoa butter, milk solids, lecithin and vanilla— isn’t really chocolate at all because it contains no cocoa powder or chocolate liquor.)
These restaurant-quality recipes are simple to make, but just be sure to use high-quality chocolate. You can’t make good desserts with Hershey Bars. And the biggest mistake while melting chocolate is getting water in the mixture— even one drop will “seize” the chocolate and you’ll have to start over again.
An Australian friend and fellow chef and I concocted these recipes together, and we had a lot of fun doing it. It reminded me that cooking is about sharing with friends. So get some help making these delicious recipes— even if it’s just to lick the spoons.