It's the dessert that many of us can't resist if only for it's soul stirring, head-to-toe satisfying chocolatey goodness.
The only drawback to eating chocolate is the sugar that gets added... which means calories and weight gain if a chocolate habit runs wild.
But that fact doesn't stop true chocolate lovers from indulging in their in their favorite food group, with
sweet memories of mom's best chocolate chip cookies (still warm from the oven) or romantic reveries of their first Valentine
kiss (chocolate, of course).
How to melt chocolate for baking
As any experienced baker will tell you, the road to cooking with chocolate never runs smooth if you don't keep a careful eye on the process. When it comes to heat, chocolate can be quite temperamental. In addition, even tiny droplets of water inside the heating pan can result in "seizing" or chocolate that becomes grainy and unworkable.
Rules of thumb? 1. Always set heat on the lowest setting possible and stir often when melting chocolate; and 2. Be sure that the melting pan and stirring spoon are completely clean and dry before you begin.
Chop, chop: The quickest and probably safest way to prepare a bar of baker's chocolate for melting is to chop into small pieces so that it melts more evenly.
Think hot, not boiling: The most fool-proof way to melt chocolate is in a double boiler over hot (not boiling) water. Alternatively, place the chocolate in a heavy glass or aluminum bowl and place in a pan filled with hot water.
Heating -- but not boiling -- is the key to creamy, melted chocolate.
A good alternative to the stovetop is to simply microwave chocolate. Place in a microwave safe bowl and set on medium for 10-15 seconds and stir until smooth.
Chocolate fun facts
Despite the drawback of adding on calories, recent studies have pointed to chocolate's
health benefits as a cancer fighter and a delicious part of a heart healthy diet. It may actually be good for you, but most important... chocolate
makes you feel good. Really.
Fact is, chocolate has a host of "feel good" mood altering chemicals. Endorphins that help relieve stress are boosted by chocolate. Serotonin a natural anti-depressant, is increased by chocolate and scientists are finding plenty of other effects that
chocoholics have been talking about for centuries.
also see -> Chocolate Recipes in the Chiff Chef Recipe File:
Around the Web, check out top sites offering the best in chocolate desserts online
ranging from Christmas
chocolate recipes and other traditional favorites, to unusual gourmet food pairings, chocolate cocktails, exotic international dishes, and more for the confirmed chocoholic ....
Chocolate Recipes - Just it like it says - featuring an encyclopedia of chocolate including more than 100 recipes for cheesecakes, cookies, cakes, brownies, fudge,
Chocolate Club's Chocolate Recipes - Browseable by topic including cakes, candies, cookies, (at least 2 dozen for chocolate chip) chocolate drinks, brownies and
puddings plus more exotic fare including... chocolate pasta.