Friday, May 30, 2008

Kitchen Magic: Milk Chocolate

I'm a chocolate lover.... sometimes a chocolate craver. Last month I discovered something about chocolate that surprised me!

You see, I was in that space where I was desperate for something chocolate and had nothing easy to fix... no quick choccy snacks available, no chocolate chips to be stolen from the baking cupboard, nothing but unsweetened baking chocolate in those squares that are impossible to break apart.

Well, when desperate, read the box, right? Soooo, I opened the box and read the recipes on the inside. The quickest one was for hot fudge sauce, and amazingly enough, I happened to have all the ingredients! What I didn't have? The camera. It was still in Arizona, where it had fallen out of my purse and into my brother's car.

Soooo, in the interests of science, I made it again this week and *ta daaa!!* remembered the camera, which having safely braved the perils of the US postal service once again lives on the computer desk.

It was only too happy to make a field trip--in the interests of science!--into the kitchen, so that you could share this miracle with me.

It starts with butter and chocolate. You put them in a bowl and melt them in the microwave. Choclate is funny in the micro; it holds its shape. You have to stir it to melt it completely, and it seems stupid at first--well, it was stupid at first lol, and I had to put it back in the micro for twenty more seconds--but after two minutes in the micro, it stirs down into this.

Such rich, velvety chocolate goodne.... well, yes, in the interests of science, I did remind myself that good cooks always know what each step of a recipe tastes like, and I did taste just a very little bit.

Thanks be to all that's good and holy it was ONLY a very little bit. *ewww* Unsweetened choclate is not MY idea of a gourmet delight, no matter how beautifully delicious it might look.

*sheepish look*

The recipe calls for sugar, milk, cream, and vanilla. I don't have any vanilla so, in the interests of science, I experimented and left it out. It worked fine.

I measured the milk and cream together and poured them into the chocolate. Then I started stirring. Keenly observing the process in the interests of science, I noticed that cold milk plus warm melty chocolate equals... well... a coagulated mess.

That can't be right, can it? *doubtful look*

In the interests of science, though, I kept stirring.

I am very happy to say, in the interests of science, that one can eventually stir even the coldest extra-creamy milk into the melty chocolate, coagulated or not. It does take perseverance and one does need to tell the inner panic to shut up, but once you see the process happen it seems like the stuff of magic itself----they blend perfectly, and voila! You have turned dark chocolate into milk chocolate!!!

I did know that milk chocolate is chocolate with milk in it, but yanno, it was like knowing any other piece of trivia... just a fact that had no real meaning for me. Until, that is, I actually made milk chocolate and watched the miracle happen in my very own mixing bowl! Now it is real to me in a VERY experiential way, because yes...

.... in the interests of science *and with no little trepidation* I reminded myself that a good cook always knows what each step of her recipe should taste like.... and surely that cream had mellowed it out, right? in the interests of science....

*ewww* Dump in the sugar, quick....!!

The sugar stirred in much more easily than the milk had, since it was room temperature. It left me with this.

In the interests of sci.... MMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...........

What? Oh, sorry, zoned out there for a moment. *sheepish look* The next step is to microwave the hot fudge sauce so that the sugar cooks into the chocolate and melds it into a creamy whole. I zapped it for a minute at a time and stirred well each time. When it was done, I had fudge sauce tha.... MMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.........................


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