There are several trends in the dessert market this year, but one can always spice up their dessert menu with a few classic favorites as well. Chocolate should always be considered in some form on your dessert menu, but many are choosing to add chocolate in ways that are more subtle than a simple ‘slice of chocolate cake’. Rather than offering chocolate as the main part of the dish, let’s take a look at some ways to add chocolate-dipped confections into your menu to add appeal, interest, and flavor to your desserts.
Chocolate beverages date back to 1900 BC and have made leaps and bounds in its evolution to what we know today as chocolate. While the process of making chocolate from cacao beans is generally the same, the results that we’re able to create today span the gamut from beverage to solid food and everything in between. Dipping chocolate falls somewhere in that range, allowing the chef to melt chocolate into a semi-liquid wherein items can be dipped and left to dry. The result is a smooth, hard chocolate coating on a dipped product!
Many utilize dipping chocolate for fondue purposes, giving customers skewers with different food items to dip at their pleasure. These items can include fruits, marshmallows, and other desserts to name a few! Some have taken their dipped chocolate products to another level by incorporating the fastest-growing trend of the year as predicted by chefs: hybrid desserts. For instance, a chef may now choose to dip salty foods like chips, nuts, and bacon into chocolate for a salty/sweet combination. While this may seem strange at first, these items have proven time and time again to be a hit.
There are several ways one can melt down chocolate to a smooth consistency and several pieces of equipment that can be used for this purpose:
Double Boiler: Don’t heat chocolate directly over flames or burners, as this can cause scorching. Instead, use a double boiler to gently warm chocolate to a smooth, creamy consistency.
Microwave: Start by heating a bowl of chocolate for a minute, and then stir and continue heating in 30 second intervals until smooth.
Fondue Pot: These units are specifically designed to heat delicate items like cheeses and chocolates slowly as to avoid scorching.
If your chocolate is still too stiff to dip other items or to drizzle, you can add heavy cream, milk, or even paraffin wax to thin the consistency. Consider dipping some of your traditional desserts like croissants, waffle cones, and cookies into chocolate for an aesthetic and flavorful appeal, or get creative by dipping the rims of some of your martini glasses in chocolate followed by a quick dip in sugar crystals for a beautiful and delicious enhancement to your chocolate-based alcoholic beverages.