Friday, December 17, 2010

Chocolate Dipped Cookies

I know I just wrote about the Orange Sablés a couple of days ago, but I have infinitely improved them, and I didn’t want anyone to make these cookies without the benefit of this amendment.

I had mentioned in my initial post that I thought these cookies would improve with the addition of a little dark chocolate, and I took the opportunity to drizzle some of the cookies with dark chocolate. This turned out so well, that when I made the next batch, I decided to dip them.

Dipping chocolate is more complicated than simply melting chocolate and dipping your cookies in it. However, don’t be intimidated, because it is altogether fairly simple. The important thing to remember is that working with chocolate is about science, and it is necessary to be precise.

When you buy a bar of chocolate in a store, what you are purchasing is tempered chocolate. When the chocolate is made, it is kept at a lower temperature causing a dense crystalline structure to form, resulting in a hard and shiny bar of chocolate. When you are creating chocolate for dipping, the end result should also be a hard and shiny layer. What this means is that you must melt the chocolate at a low temperature in order to maintain the same dense crystalline structure.

Enough theory, now practice. Chop 6 ounces of chocolate very finely. Place in a bowl, preferably a metal bowl which is more conducive to heat transfer. Fill a larger bowl half full with hot water, between 110º and 115º using an instant read thermometer. Place the metal bowl in the bowl of water and begin slowly stirring the chocolate, pressing it up against the sides of the bowl to enable melting. Be very careful not to get ANY water in the chocolate as this will cause seizing and entirely disrupt the crystal structure. If the water cools too much, and the melting slows, microwave the bowl of water until it is once again 110º to 115º. Once the chocolate has melted, begin dipping your cookies in the chocolate. Once dipped, place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Allow to set by placing the cookies in a cool, dry place. Setting should not take more than 30 minutes. Allow to set completely before packing the cookies.

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