It is a dark and stormy night. A night for chocolate. There’s really only one thing that will do it right now. Something that is guaranteed to knock out any kind of craving you may have. The trick with chocolate is to know what your getting into. Chocolate is a lot like coffee. It’s a bean, it gets roasted and most people like to add a bunch of sugar and milk to it. It’s an acquired taste, but with good coffee you are best off drinking it black. Just so with good chocolate. If it’s good quality and prepared well, pure chocolate is a transcendental experience. If you can get the good stuff, use it. If not, then use what you can get. It will probably end up being the “Starbucks” of chocolate; mediocre quality and the beans will be slightly burned, but so long as you’re adding it to a recipe it wont matter too much. Most grocery stores have a selection of “Baker’s Chocolate,” which gets the job done, so let’s take a look see.
Unsweetened Chocolate: 100% Cacao. Also known as bitter chocolate, there is nothing in here but pure chocolate. Mostly this will be too bitter for most people to eat plain, partially because it is over roasted to the point of being burned. If you can get your hands on some that is actually roasted properly, then you’ll see what chocolate is all about.
Bittersweet Chocolate: Could be anywhere over 65% Cacao, the rest is sugar. Also sometimes known as Dark Chocolate. More people will eat this plain. Again, though, I wouldn’t recommend it because it’s seldom the good stuff. You can buy bars of dark chocolate at the grocery store and there is a certain kind of person who will say, “it’s SO good. You probably don’t like it because you think it’s too bitter, but I only eat the Best chocolate.” No, you poor sap, it’s that bitter because they burned the goddamn cocoa beans. Yes dark chocolate is bitter, but if it’s cooked right the flavour overwhelms the bitterness.
Semisweet Chocolate: Anywhere from 50-65% Cacao, remainder is sugar. Even poor quality chocolate will be edible in this range. I can’t ever see myself using this in a recipe though. I feel the sweetness takes too much away from the chocolate flavour here. Chocolate is a powerful tool and semisweet is like putting a sock over a hammer.
Sweet Chocolate: Less than 50% Cacao. I would never buy this. It’s barely chocolate. If you think this is good chocolate, you probably also think Halloween candy is gourmet. Seriously, if you want chocolate, buy chocolate and not what is essentially candy.
Milk Chocolate: Lots of Sugar, Milk Solids and Some Cacao. I liked this as a child, but I like to think my palate is more refined now. While it has its uses, I also consider milk chocolate to be classified as candy rather than properly chocolate.
White Chocolate: Not truly chocolate but cocoa butter with the cocoa solids removed and a few other ingredients added. White chocolate gets a lot of hate, but I find it useful in quite a few recipes.
Here is a summary in chart form.
Wait, didn’t we come here for a recipe? Here it is. A saucy chocolate pudding that is made with 100% cacao. It will look almost black when baked and is incredibly rich. Easy to make, too.
90g 100% Cacao Chocolate
splash of Vanilla
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
2 Tbs Cocoa Powder
250g Boiling Water
50g Brown Sugar
24g Cocoa Powder
Bring milk slowly to boiling point and pour over fine chopped chocolate to melt it. Cream butter and sugar together then add the combined dry ingredients. Add the milk and chocolate mixture and stir. Pour the batter into a baking dish.
Combine the ingredients for the sauce and pour over the pudding batter. Bake at 350° for 30-40 minutes.