From the blog February 10, 2015 Modernist Cuisine Team

Sweet Tips to Melt Their Heart and Your Chocolate

Spending time with your sweetheart is lovely, but the best part of Valentine’s Day is the chocolate. At least, it can be. Working with chocolate can be tricky, so we’ve compiled a few tips (and an easy step-by-step recipe) from head chef Francisco Migoya that will make creating homemade chocolates a little easier—no tempering necessary.

Modernist Cuisine Dark Chocolate Pops

Add a little bit of oil, such as olive or canola, to melted chocolate. This will prevent the chocolate from developing unsightly streaks if you’re not tempering it. The fat from the oil will destabilize the polymorphous fat crystals found in cocoa butter, preventing the crystals from arranging themselves. It’s the same principle used in chocolate-dipped ice cream cones, where the chocolate is mixed with coconut oil, and works beautifully to make chocolate-dipped strawberries.

Water and chocolate are not friends, however a tiny bit of water can be a huge boon to manipulating chocolate to work in your favor. Sugar is hygroscopic, meaning it is attracted to moisture and easily binds to water molecules. The sugars in chocolate are no different. When a few drops of water are added to the chocolate, the sugar will want to bind to the water, no matter how little is added. The reaction causes the chocolate to thicken, making it pipe-able.

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You need only a small amount of water (think drops, not teaspoons) to thicken chocolate, and this technique works with any type of chocolate. The amount of water you add will vary depending on the viscosity of the chocolate you’re using, so it’s best to start by mixing just one or two drops into the melted chocolate, and then adjust to the desired thickness. To demonstrate, chef Migoya created dark-chocolate pops, covered in dehydrated strawberries.

First, assemble the pop sticks on a flat surface, such as clear plexiglass or a sheet pan, that is lined with an acetate sheet or parchment paper.

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Next, add a few drops of water to the melted dark chocolate.

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Transfer the thickened chocolate to a pastry bag. We used a round pastry tip, though any shape could be used to create desired effects.

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Pipe the chocolate from one end of the stick to the other, overlapping to create a free-form chocolate latticework.

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Once all of the chocolate is piped onto the sticks, add a topping for extra flavor and a punch of color. We used dehydrated strawberries, inspired by the classic combination. Immediately transfer the finished chocolate pops to a refrigerator until you’re ready to serve them. Refrigerating your chocolate will prevent sugar bloom, which creates a white powdery look on the surface of the chocolate.

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If you’re still craving more, chef Migoya shared more sweet tips with chef Jamie Gwen. Stay tuned to our blog for even more heartbreakingly good chocolate later this week.

Modernist Cuisine Dark Chocolate Pops

 

Discussion

  1. nicolas February 10, 2015 Reply

    Lovely tips.thank you

  2. Jonah February 10, 2015 Reply

    These are both great tips. My #1 tip for the modernist is to rig up a water bath to be a chocolate tempering machine. I typically temper chocolate in a metal bowl and the use my water bath to hold already tempered chocolate at the right temperature. It is also be pretty easy to set the water bath up to do the full tempering process (high temp / low temp / holding temp). All you need to do is stir.

    • Caren February 11, 2015 Reply

      Fantastic tip. Thanks for sharing, Jonah.

  3. Kelvin Paull February 14, 2015 Reply

    This was the first thing I’ve made from this site. I used melted milk chocolate instead of dark chocolate ( I don’t know if that changes the science of this recipe). This recipe also forced me to be creative (I made a treble clef for my wife who plays in the local philharmonic orchestra) and I had fun making it and to me that was the best part!

    • Caren February 18, 2015 Reply

      So glad to hear it, Kevin. We hope you enjoy making the other recipes on our site as well!

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