Know Your Food

The chocolate charm and its unexplored wonders

If you thought chocolate was just a guilty indulgence, think again. Today this delicious gooey confectionary has expanded its delight to other uses creating a league of its own. From the classic chocolate cake, we now have chocolate gifts appealingly moulded into various charming forms such as coins, flower bouquets, heart-shaped chocolates, and the list goes on.

Made from cocoa beans of cacao trees, these extremely bitter seeds get their flavour after fermentation. The beans are then dried, cleaned, and roasted. Cocoa nibs are produced from the shell which is grounded to make cocoa mass. Cocoa mass is the unrefined chocolate which when made into a liquid becomes chocolate liquor. This liquor can be cooled and processed into two components: cocoa solids and cocoa butter.

Chocolates
Chocolates

The mass appeal of chocolate has allowed its versatility to take different forms. While many will rush to cook staples like cakes, cookies, fudge, ice-creams, and puddings, we draw up a creative list of all the delicacies you can prepare with this delightful pièce de résistance.

On the foodie trail

Hot chocolate

A stand-out hot drink on a cold night or day. Add cinnamon and some spices to enjoy Christmas in July. But really, who can resist a mug of hot chocolates with marshmallows floating on top to add to your glee? At least, we can’t.

S’mores

Have you tried one of America’s favourite bonfire sweets? Melt chocolate bar and marshmallows in the bonfire and sandwich it in a cracker. Get creative by adding sweetened ginger, cinnamon, and other such warm spices. You don’t require a campfire for it, but if you do make s’more under twinkling stars, invite us over.

Chocolate Fondue

Who says fondue has only cheese? Nothing can be more desirable than a bowl of melted chocolate kept warm in a fondue pot. It’s a fascinating after-dinner indulgence with close-knit friends, with a side of fruits such as pears, apricots, strawberries, and cakes.

Chicken Rub

Brush aside the regular marinade of ginger, garlic, salt, and such.

Get wicked and create a rub with irresistible chocolate. You may have to buy some roasted cocoa nibs and blend in spices. Alternatively, get dark chocolate, melt it and add your spices. Lightly apply it as a rub on your chicken or meat of the evening. This works best for a barbeque party.

Red Pumpkin Soup

A warm soothing dish when the weather is cold. You will need dark chocolate to make this soup. Mix the chocolate as a part of the ingredient and take this dish to another level. We all know by now that dark chocolate is incredibly good for health so here, get your health goodness too.

Chocolate Spread

Replace your regular jam with a dark chocolate spread. It is healthier and you can always control the level of sweetness. Add ingredients to pack it with healthy goodness. Some spread for your bread.

Chocolate Amaze Drink

Make chocolate liqueur and add it to any drink to make an amazing drink. Creativity gone wild!

Off the beaten track

Apart from the kitchen, chocolate has many applications such as

Spa and Skin Treatments

Dark chocolate contains antioxidants, so indulge in cocoa-rich treatments and get beautiful with chocolates.

For skin, use cocoa butter which is rich, smooth. Known to be an active ingredient in many skincare products, cocoa butter works wonders on the skin.

Tips

If you are buying chocolate to make sauces and drizzles, buy one which has more than 50% cacao. Keep the regular one for baking and such.

If you are buying a bar, pick the one that has a smooth finish.

Keep chocolate in airtight containers. Protect them from moisture.

You may also like:  Tips to temper chocolates at home

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