Chocolate Tips

When it comes to Chocolate, we've been there, done that, now serving 140 tips in 11 categories ranging from Answer User Questions to Wedding Favors.

Can you tel me if carob chips have oxalates (Kidney stone causing substance) in them?

Oxalates in carob, chocolate, and cocoa

Carob is often used as a substitute for chocolate in candy and baked goods. Carob, chocolate and cocoa all contain substantial amounts of oxalates. These food items should be avoided if you have been prescribed a low oxalate diet for medical reasons.

   
Why is it important to wrap a chocolate?

Keeping Chocolate Under Wraps

The beautiful sheen you see when you unwrap a fine chocolate indicates that it has been “tempered” correctly. Tempering chocolate is a process of melting and cooling chocolate at certain temperatures to stabilize its ingredients. This allows the cocoa butter to solidify as a suspension, so the chocolate hardens properly and develops a gloss. It then needs to be stored properly to protect the temper.

The beautiful sheen you see when you unwrap a fine chocolate indicates that it has been “tempered” correctly. Tempering chocolate is a process of melting and cooling chocolate at certain temperatures to stabilize its ingredients. This allows the cocoa butter to solidify as a suspension, so the chocolate hardens properly and develops a gloss. It then needs to be stored properly to protect the temper.

Chocolates that are left unwrapped will lose their stability and ‘bloom' when in direct contact with moisture, light or cold temperatures. The bloom looks like a light colored film or streak on the outside of the chocolate. That's the cocoa butter separating from the rest of the chocolate. And, as it separates, it floats to the surface of your chocolate, discoloring it. This happens because cocoa butter is a fat, and fat absorbs heat at a different rate than the other ingredients in chocolate.

Another reason to keep your chocolates under wrap is because they absorb external odors and tastes. Dark and milk chocolates contain some anti-oxidents that slow down the absorption process, but white chocolate does not contain anti-oxidents and so are more sensitive to odors and tastes.

Chocolates should always be stored in a cool dry place away from light and air to prolong their shelf life. According to finedarkchocolate.com, the ideal temperature for storing chocolate is between 54 and 68 degrees. To protect them against moisture, store them where the maximum humidity is 70 percent.

   
How do I make a chocolate dip for fruits? What kind of fruits are best to dip into it?

Chocolate Dipping Sauce For Fruit

This chocolate dipping sauce for fruit will be made in a double boiler.

Simply melt 2 cups of chocolate chips with 1/4 cup of vegetable shortening over very hot water. Make sure the water is not boiling. Stir the mixture until it is smooth and then keep it over the hot water while dipping.

Put the fruit on toothpicks for dipping and after each piece is dipped, place it on cookie sheets that have been lined with foil. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes before serving. Do not keep out of refrigeration for more than 45 minutes or you will have tacky chocolate.

Use your favorite fruits. Some good choices for this recipe include:

- strawberries
- grapes
- kiwi slices
- orange slices
- banana pieces
- pieces of pineapple
- cherries
- apple slices

   
Can any good brand of chocolate be used for dipping strawberries and still set up hard when cool? If not, can anything be done to it or added to the melted chocolate to ensure it will set up hard to the touch?

Chocolate for Dipping Strawberries

Almost any type of chocolate can be used for dipping strawberries; milk, dark, or white. Some prefer bittersweet or semi-sweet in chip form for easier melting. Most add some sort of fat to help it melt smoothly and harden during cooling. Shortning or butter are the usual additions.
Keep berries at room temperature and store leftovers in the refrigerator is not eaten the same day.

   
When was chocolate as we know it first manufactured? What is the history of this incredible food?

Chocolate 101

Ancient Mayans were the first people to discovered the joys of chocolate. The first cacao tree was found in a rainforest.

It was not the sweet food we enjoy today, however. All those centuries ago, chocolate was enjoyed as a drink that was very bitter, but used often all the same.

After becoming cherished as a drink, chocolate found its way to Europe in the early 1500s. The Spanish soon began to add sweeteners.

It has actually been in more recent times that milk chocolate and the sweeter versions that we enjoy today have been available.

   
How can I get a chocolate fountain for my party?

Chocolate fountains

Rent a chocolate fountain for your next party. Much like a regular fountain, the luxurious liquid in a chocolate fountain pours out the top of the fountain, cascades down a level or two, and is drawn up to the top again. Offer your guests a variety of bite-sized fruits and breads on toothpicks to dip in the fountain. Fine chocolate fountains are available through catering services and can be rented by the hour. To save money, arrange to have the fountain running only during the appetizer portion of your party.

   
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