July 7 marks World Chocolate Day, a fantastic excuse to get creative with cocoa in the kitchen! Tempering chocolate is an essential skill when working with chocolate – once you’ve got this down pat, the opportunities are endless.
Tempering involves the heating and then cooling of finely chopped pieces of chocolate. This allows the crystals in the cocoa butter to harden, so the end result has a good crisp ‘snap’ to it. Tempered chocolate can be used for dipping, moulding or making chocolate discs.
When sourcing your ingredients, it’s preferable to use sustainable chocolate. Unfortunately, the chocolate industry is rife with issues, including child slavery. Therefore, investigating how your cocoa is picked and produced is more important than ever. We use Original Beans, a direct-trade business that’s plastic free and plants a tree for every bar bought.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
Chocolate – the weight depends on what you’re using it for!
Bain marie, or glass bowl placed over saucepan filled with a little water
Any toppings – popular options for chocolate discs include cranberries, almonds and dried fruit.
1. Over the bain marie, melt two thirds of your required amount of chocolate until it reaches 45ºC. Do not allow it to go above 50ºC. Once the temperature is reached, remove from the bain marie.
2. Add the remaining third of chocolate and mix very well using rubber spatula until all of the chocolate has melted. Continue to mix consistently until the temperature reaches 31ºC for dark chocolate and a little lower for milk and white chocolate.
4. If the chocolate becomes too thick to use, replace on the bain marie and warm to 31ºC again.
5. Use as desired for dipping or for making chocolate discs.