Choosing Quality Chocolate
Because the quality of your chocolate determines the final flavor of your dessert, gauge the quality of the product with this simple rule-of-thumb: read the ingredient label. High-quality chocolate contains only the fat from cocoa butter. If the label lists any other fat (such as coconut or palm kernel oil), then it is a low-quality chocolate. While there are other standards for chocolate quality, they are beyond the scope of the average home-baker and can pretty much be reserved for the serious choclatiers.
After reading the label, choose chocolate for its taste. You may favor one brand over another simply for the flavor. Taste chocolate brands, baking the unsweetened chocolate in a brownie recipe to test its flavor, until you find the brand you prefer. Good chocolate should taste smooth, not gritty, and snap when broken.
Chocolate should be tightly wrapped and stored out of direct sunlight. Look for rapid turnover of the chocolate and a cool storage shelf at the grocery store. Use caution when spending money on plastic-wrapped, unevenly shaped bulk white or milk chocolate. They tend to turn rancid rapidly.
* DVO welcomes your kitchen hints and cooking or nutrition questions! Email us and we'll post your hints and Q/A's in upcoming newsletters! *