Being a chocolatier is a pretty sweet gig—days filled with rolling truffles, drizzling syrups and whipping up ganache. But as with all professions, there are rules for reaching the top of your chocolate-ly game. Chief chocolatier Fritz Knipschildt shares his secrets for success in Chocopologie, a new cookbook chock-full of gorgeous recipes from his celebrated chocolate cafe. Eager to tap the mind of a master, we asked him to share his must-know commandments for working with the divine ingredient. Follow his lead below and you may rethink your chosen career path.
10 Commandments for Working with Chocolate
1. Only Select Great Chocolate. Only use chocolate you like the taste of (which allows you plenty of latitude!). Good chocolate will appeal to all of your senses, and if the brand you are eating and cooking doesn’t excite your taste, smell, touch, sight and hearing, switch brands. When deciding on what chocolate to choose, taste and smell are important. The chocolate should feel firm and supple, look glossy and smooth, and break with a pleasing “snap.”
2. Never Neglect Ganache. Ganache is the magical amalgamation of chocolate and cream. It is both the chocolatier’s workhorse and fairy godmother. When heated, it’s a sauce or a glaze; when cooled it’s a truffle or a frosting.
3. Always Reinvent Your Cookies. Change up chocolate chip cookies with white or milk chocolate chunks or chips. Oh, and most cookies are better if you drizzle them with melted chocolate.
4. Don’t Turn Your Nose Up at the Microwave. I almost always melt chocolate in the microwave these days. It’s ready when the liquid pool appears soft and shiny.
5. Store Your Chocolate Wisely. Store chocolate in a cool, dark place. Make sure it’s well wrapped. The refrigerator is not the best place to store chocolate because of the humidity.
6. More is Best. Never hesitate to cut brownies into larger squares than the recipe indicates.
7. Stay Away From Hot Cococa Mix. When a recipe calls for cocoa powder, remember it means unsweetened cocoa powder (not hot cocoa mix!).
8. When You Make Truffles—Wear Latex Gloves. They’ll keep the ganache from sticking to your warm palms.
9. Adhere to the Golden Rules of Ganache. Rule #1: When you make ganache, always pour the hot cream over chopped chocolate. Never melt the chocolate first. Rule #2: Don’t refrigerate hot or even warm ganache or the fat will separate. Let it cool to room temperature first.
10. Don’t Substitute Milk Chocolate for Dark Chocolate. The milk solids in milk chocolate are heat sensitive, which is why you can’t substitute milk chocolate for dark chocolate in baking recipes.