Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Uses for Leftover Chocolate (Or: How to make your chocolate chips awesome!)

Last week, when I was writing about my favorite cookies, I shared my disdain for chocolate chips. To reiterate: chocolate chips are too small and result in chocolate being spread too far throughout baked goods. I mentioned that I had a way of transforming these unsubstantial bits of chocolate into something useful. Today I will share that technique.

I call them chocolate layers. They are best used in large baked goods like banana bread or pound cakes, and can turn any dry and unremarkable baked good into a chocolate lover’s delight. One can make them using any chocolate they have, be it in chocolate bar form or chocolate chip form. This does not occur because more chocolate is used; it occurs because with these layers, pockets of chocolate are created which pack a lot more of an impact than teensy chocolate chips. To use them, you break them into strands of chocolate and insert them vertically into your dough or batter, adding batter then chocolate and repeating until there is no batter or chocolate left.

But you didn’t come here to read my justification for making giant chocolate layers. You came here for the chocolate. Let’s do this:

Chocolate Layers

Required Equipment:
-Baking Sheet
-Parchment Paper
-Large glass bowl + A pot to boil water in

Ingredients:
-At least 5 ounces of chocolate (darker chocolate works better in baked goods)
-Water to be boiled
-Sugar to taste (Optional, only use if using unsweetened chocolate)

Directions:
1. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Fill pot halfway with water. Make sure glass bowl can sit atop pot on its own. Put the pot on the stove and turn the stove to high. Let the water get hot enough to begin steaming (almost a boil) and then turn down the heat just enough to maintain that steam.

2. Add chocolate to glass bowl. If using chocolate bars, chop chocolate into equal sized pieces before adding it. Put glass bowl on top of pot. Note: It is very important that no water touches any of the chocolate. If this happens, it will not melt and the chocolate will be useless.









3. Stir chocolate with a spatula. Do not stop stirring until the chocolate is smooth and completely melted.












4. Pour chocolate from bowl onto parchment paper. Smooth chocolate with spatula to desired thickness.












5. Put baking sheet with chocolate on it into the fridge. After 20 minutes check the chocolate. If it has solidified, it is ready to be used, if not, put it back in the fridge and wait another 10 minutes. Do not leave it in there for too long, it is not good for the chocolate.
6. Chocolate can be used immediately or can be stored for later use. To store it, just put it in a ziplock bag and store it at room temperature. It should not be stored in the refrigerator.

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