July 12, 2021 1 Comment
In our first blog of the Pro Tip Series, we talked about the value of having a hot beverage to go with your chocolate to help it melt faster in your mouth. We are taking a spin on that idea with this second pro tip: melting your chocolate down to rejuvenate it.
The meltdown is a great way to create something new with any left over chocolate in your chocolate cupboard; maybe it wasn't your favorite flavor or texture, maybe it has started to show signs of bloom (white cocoa butter on the surface). Fear not - there is an easy way to create something delicious and fresh.
The first step is to collect all our chocolate together.
The bowl above contains chocolate we've used for dipping, experimentation, and some left over from previous batches. It's a real hodgepodge. As we dipped things in the chocolate, they left behind traces of:
The second step is to gently heat the chocolate until it all melts together. We want to aim between 40C - 45C. This will prevent any burning but will ensure we melt all the chocolate into it's liquid form. Don't leave any lumps.
The easiest method requires a glass bowl, a microwave, spatula, and infrared thermometer. Never run the microwave for more than 30 seconds at a time, and place your hand on the lower half of the bowl to make sure it doesn't get too hot to touch. Press the chocolate down into the bowl after each warmup, and start stirring to distribute the heat once it gets more fluid.
Now we have a meltdown! From here we have a lot of options. In it's liquid form, we can make a hot chocolate by adding milk (or dairy alternative), pour it over ice cream, or add cream for an easy ganache. If you have some tempering know-how, you might make chocolate bars, add spices, dip fruit or caramels or potato chips, or pour it out onto a sheet and break it up for for chocolate chunk cookies.
This batch is for our own home consumption. The meltdown went back into the old 5lb test mill because we want to add coffee. At this stage, we could also add sugar or milk powder if the original chocolate was darker than our target for the meltdown. Other dry ingredients can work too; the mill will handle a variety of ingredients and grind them into the chocolate until everything is smooth. We decided to add coffee, both for it's bold flavor which will help unify all the other flavors and for it's caffeine content to take hiking.
And that's how you can refresh chocolate! So don't ever throw away that bar because it looks old, or because it isn't sweet enough. Just melt it down and spice it up.