Ask the Alchemist #58

Hi, I am using chocolate chips for tempering, since it is kind of thick for coating I wonder if I can add cocoa butter to help liquify it?

I’m not 100% sure what you mean, but I think I get the basic idea. It sounds like you are using chocolate chips to coat something with and the melted, in temper chocolate is a bit thick.

If that is the case, yes, you can add cocoa butter to reduce the viscosity some so the coating is not quite so thick. I would start with 5% of the weight and see what that gives you. And feel free to keep adding until you get to 15%. If you make it there, and it is still too thick, something else may be going on. At that point (or instead) you can try adding a some (0.5-1%) lecithin. And I personally like that even better. Sometimes thickness comes from a touch of water that has found its way into the chocolate and even adding cocoa butter does not seem to help that much. Instead adding something that binds the water helps much more.

Over the weekend I helped a local 8 the grade class make over 50 lbs of truffles for a fund raiser. About 1/3 of them were dipped in tempered chocolate and the dark chocolate was as you described. A bit thick and made the coating too heave without a bit of work. We have been having a stretch of rather cold weather (for here), with snow on the ground for a week (2 days is a lot here) and temperatures in the low teens. I suspect all that snow and humidity found it’s way into the chocolate and I need to do something about it. I melted up about 2 oz of cocoa butter, added 1T of lecithin, stirred until melted/dissolved and added it to the 10 lbs of chocolate. That took care of it. The water was bound up after a few minutes and the viscosity dropped nicely. But that would not have happened with just that small amount of extra cocoa butter.

The other thing I would suggest is checking the label on your chocolate chips. I did some research and although most of the chips were just cocoa, sugar, cocoa butter and lecithin, there were a few that had other oils in them. And a few that had tons of things in them ( Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Chocolate, Milk, Nonfat Milk, 1% of Artificial Flavors, and Natural Flavors, Soy Lecithin, Yellow 5 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake, Red 40 Lake, Blue 2 Lake, Salt, Partially Hydrogenated Cottonseed Oil, and Soybean Oil. ) which I would not be surprised would make it basically impossible for you to temper and dip in with a thin, even coating.

So, check you ingredients. If those are good to go (no oils, no dyes, no water based anything), add some cocoa butter and lecithin and see if that helps.

And for those that are curious, here is the truffle recipe. It’s still not too late for holiday gifts.

Truffles 4 dozen 1 oz truffles

3 lb Chocolate (2 lbs for filling, 1 lb for dipping) (27 oz Ecuador nibs roasted, 6 oz cocoa butter, 15 oz sugar, 1.5 t lecithin, 1 vanilla bean scraped into melted cocoa butter)

1 pint heavy cream

Cocoa powder (I like Dagoba personally)

Sugar

Heat 1 pint (1 lb) cream to 160 F. Melt 2 lbs chocolate to 150 F. Combine gentle. I prefer to stir the chocolate into the cream and fold it together until there are no streaks. Allow to cool and set up, usually overnight. You may find a small layer of cocoa butter on the top…or not. Just stir it in or scrap it off. It is usually a result of over mixing but does not hurt anything.

Scoop out 1 oz amount and roll into balls. This is a very soft filling and you WILL get melted chocolate all over your hands. Allow to harden.

Make a cocoa powder/sugar coating. Mix 1/4 cup cocoa powder to 4 cup sugar and powder in a blender.

Melt your remaining chocolate. Pour some onto a warm plate or parchment paper. Roll your truffles in the chocolate, coating thinly and immediately toss/roll in your cocoa powder mixture. Allow to set up.

And let your inspiration be your guide as far as coatings. Cinnamon, coconut, cocoa nibs slightly ground/crushed (I adore these, but some people find them too far outside their comfort level). And of course you can dip them in tempered chocolate with no extra coating.

Oh, and one of my all-time favorites is substituting eggnog for the cream, and using a nutmeg/cinnamon/sugar coating.

Happy holidays all!!!

—– Submit your Questions to the Alchemist: question(youknowtoremovethisright?)@chocolatealchemy.com —–

One Response to “Ask the Alchemist #58”

  1. Thank you so much for your help answering to my question.
    I would like to be able to buy your products but can’t afford a melangeur for conching! Helen.

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