Dark chocolate is made from cocoa butter, cocoa powder, and sugar. Unlike milk chocolate and white chocolate, it contains no dairy. The result is its deeper brown color. To be labeled « dark chocolate », European Union rules require a cocoa content of between 35 and 100 percent. Typically, dark chocolate sold in stores contains between 40 and 99 percent cocoa.
Choose dark chocolates indicating that they contain “pure cocoa butter” or “traditional chocolate.” Depending on the origin of the cocoa beans, “pure origin” chocolates can develop very different aromas and flavors. Choose chocolates with a different cocoa content, depending on the required taste; a higher percentage means that the chocolate is more intense.
Using a large, sharp knife will let you make well-formed dark chocolate shavings or chips.
If dark chocolate will be added to a cake batter, it can be melted over a bain-marie or in the microwave. To make pralines or for molding, dark chocolate needs to be tempered according to a precise temperature curve. First, it has to be melted to reach a temperature of 55°C, then cooled to 29°C, and kept at a temperature of 32°C before use.
Chocolate lovers eat it plain. Dark chocolate has a great many culinary applications. It is found in pastry making and desserts, but not only that. More daring cooks will be enticed by the combination of game with dark chocolate sauce.
When exposed to temperature fluctuations, dark chocolate can become marbled or form a whitish coating. It should be stored in a cool and dry place away from light. However, it should not be stored in the refrigerator.
Chocolate comes from many places around the world: Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, Madagascar, Equatorial Guinea, etc.