Monday, March 28, 2011

Seized Chocolate

Seized chocolate is not where you’re in a deep, deep chocolate haze and your BFF is waving a luscious bar of dark chocolate with orange peel in your face and you snatch it before she knows what’s happening, ripping off the wrapper like you haven’t eaten in a month and biting the bar in half.

Nor will it garner you jail time like drugs do.

The seized chocolate I’m referring to is a baking term. It happens when chocolate comes into contact with a single drop of water or a whiff of steam triggers particles in the cocoa butter to solidify it into a dull mass.

You already know where this is going.

I had good intentions yesterday to make a chocolate cake for my niece’s bridal shower being held later in the afternoon. This recipe calls for melting unsweetened chocolate, Dutch process cocoa and water together. I’ve made this cake at least three times and have never had a problem melting the chocolate and water together.

I should also add my intuition, which I often ignore with semi-disastrous results, was warning me in a kind way not to bake this cake. Did I listen?

After gathering all the ingredients and greasing and flouring the pans, I melted the chocolate. Or attempted to melt the chocolate because within a few minutes, I couldn’t understand why it had turned into a dull, thick mess.

Normally I also know when to cut my losses but that wasn’t happening. I wasn’t going to let three baking ingredients get the best of me!

So I repeated the process and you guessed it, it happened again. At which point I realized the chocolate had seized and went upstairs to “google” it to see if there was a remedy for this baking faux pas. Indeed there was but I didn’t have the time to test it as I was already behind the eight ball time wise.

So I threw both batches out -- that would be 8 ounces of unsweetened chocolate, not cheap and a combined ½ cup Dutch processed cocoa also not cheap. At that point I put all the other ingredients away, washed and dried the pans and will be attempting to bake the cake later on this afternoon.

Last night on my way home from the bridal shower I stopped at Giant and bought two more bars of unsweetened chocolate. They were on sale -- 2/$5! Great! Now I have four more chances to get it right! Like I said, three baking ingredients aren't going to get the best of me! If all goes well the cake should look like the photo at the top of this post. Wish me luck.


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