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Chocolate paralysis: 99% & 100% cocoa


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In my pantry is a lovely unsweetened 99% cocoa Scharffen Berger bar, laden with potential. I've been hesitating for nearly three months in search of the perfect recipe. I want to use it as a showcase ingredient, but have never baked with such a high cocoa percentage before. I was thinking that it might make a nice base for a ganache? Any more innovative suggestions would be welcome!

Andrea Castaneda

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Chocolate crinkles! They're lovely little fudgey cookies doused with powdered sugar before baking. There are also other recipes on their site.

If you have a Better Homes & Gardens cookbook, there's a recipe for the cookies in there (though I'm sure they probably call for Baker's chocolate -- the Scharffenberger will make it better!). I have a recipe (from Scharffenberger) somewhere that's almost identical.

"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

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A word of warning: If you make a ganache with just 99% and cream, it will be very bitter. If you are attracted to the bitterest end of the sweetness spectrum, you might like it. Otherwise, you'll want to sweeten the ganache up a bit.

As far as other recipes, the sky's the limit. You can use it in any recipe that calls for unsweetened chocolate. Brownies, candies, cakes, cookies, mousses, hot chocolate, etc. Click here to see 260 recipes, sorted by user ratings, on Epicurious.com.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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A word of warning: If you make a ganache with just 99% and cream, it will be very bitter.

I can second this based on recent personal experience using only a 90% chocolate.

I also think that you're really overthinking this. It's only chocolate, and Scharffen Berger, expensive as it is, is not so expensive that you should agonize over it. Play! Experiment! Have Fun!

Take a deep breath, release slowly and as you exhale, say quietly, "It's Only A Bar Of Chocolate."**

That said, whatever you do, you do have to be careful of any flavorings you might add as they are likely to mask the flavors of any chocolate you use.

Most SB chocolates have a lot of red-fruit flavors and acidity IMO. Normally, I'd want to either complement that (using a similar flavor element somewhere) or use a contrasting flavor to highlight it. In this case, however, I would choose the simplest possible recipe and stick to plain vanilla (real) so that the flavor of the chocolate is front and center.

What might be really informative for you to do is to take the same recipe and make it once with a supermarket brand (Baker's, Nestle) or other brand (Plantations, Callebaut, Guittard) of unsweetened and also make it with the SB 99%.

Then, let us know what you think about the differences between the two versions as well as the differences between the two versions that you think are attributable to the differences in the flavor and technical attributes of the two chocolates.

Now that I would find interesting indeed as, I suppose, might other eGulleteers.

:Clay

** This is part of the 3rd step of the "Chocoholics Anonymous" 12-step program.

Clay Gordon

president, pureorigin

editor/publisher www.chocophile.com

founder, New World Chocolate Society

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The 99% Scharffenberger is great for just about any chocolate application. I like to use it in mole. It makes a big difference.

It is also good as an accent in recipes where another chocolate (or chocolate product) is predominant. Scharffenberger sells candied ginger dipped in chocolate and the chocolate they use is the unsweetened 99%. Apparently the unsweetened chocolate softens the ginger's bite very nicely while a sweetened chocolate amplifies it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I just picked up a bar of this stuff myself. I too, am having difficulty finding an application worthy of its Cacao-ness. I enjoy gazing at it though.... :biggrin::biggrin:

Some people say the glass is half empty, others say it is half full, I say, are you going to drink that?

Ben Wilcox

benherebfour@gmail.com

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Here's a brownie recipe calling for 99% from Scharffen-Berger's website that may be worth a look:

Karen's Working Parent No-Fuss Brownies

If you're really wanting to showcase the chocolate, a hot chocolate drink is always a good choice. The warmth really intensifies the taste experience. Plus, you tend to savor every sip, so a few ounces goes a long way. Plus, you can sweeten it to taste if you find it too bitter at first.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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In my pantry is a lovely unsweetened 99% cocoa Scharffen Berger bar, laden with potential. I've been hesitating for nearly three months in search of the perfect recipe. I want to use it as a showcase ingredient, but have never baked with such a high cocoa percentage before. I was thinking that it might make a nice base for a ganache? Any more innovative suggestions would be welcome!

Alice Medrich in her newest book Bittersweet talks in detail about using high percentage chocolates in recipes. Apparently, its not always a simple 1:1 substitution.

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I agree with the commentary about the Scharffen Berger chocolate being very intense. I am a big bittersweet chocolate guy and I find that with Scharfeen Berger - the best eating bar is the semisweet with is still chock full of - well chocolate. When the chocolate is too dark - I find that it does not 'bloom' when I eat it and it can taste a little hollow.

So I agree - don't stress about it too much - just have fun with it and don't be too precious about preserving its darkness (if you know what I mean). I think that a ganache or hot chocolate would be perfect things to try.

Edited by canucklehead (log)
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Hot chocolate. Intriguing.....I think I'm gonna have to give that a try. Maybe even with a touch of chili powder?

Some people say the glass is half empty, others say it is half full, I say, are you going to drink that?

Ben Wilcox

benherebfour@gmail.com

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I just picked up a bar of this stuff myself. I too, am having difficulty finding an application worthy of its Cacao-ness. I enjoy gazing at it though.... :biggrin:  :biggrin:

LOL! :laugh: I have 2 bars on the way (courtesy of an American friend) and can't wait to try them.

Edited by kew (log)
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I just picked up a bar of this stuff myself. I too, am having difficulty finding an application worthy of its Cacao-ness. I enjoy gazing at it though.... :biggrin:  :biggrin:

LOL! :laugh: I have 2 bars on the way (courtesy of an American friend) and can't wait to try them.

Where can I find this heavenly product? I live in rural northeast CT, but close enough to Boston if there is some source nearby, or an online source to but a small amount?

************************************************

Ah...nevermind--I found the link to the Scharffen-Berger website and I'm making up an order now!!!

Edited by chefcyn (log)
It's not the destination, but the journey!
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Here's a recipe from SB that uses the unsweetened and sounds good.

Frozen Chocolate Mousse

Ingredients

4ozs 99%

2 1/2C cream

1C whole milk

6 large yolks

1 1/4C sugar

1. Melt chocolate and 3/4C cream in double boiler.

2. Heat milk to simmer and then remove from heat.

3. Whisk yolks and sugar together until you get a thick yellow paste, a couple of minutes. Add half the milk to yold/sugar mixture, whisk to combine. Then add the yolk/sugar mix to the rest of the milk, and whisk to combine. Now, put the yolk/sugar/milk mixture on the stove or over a double-boiler and, whiskly constantly, bring the mixture up to 175F.

4. Pour through strainer into bowl set over ice bath. Stire occasionally til cool.

5. Whip remaining cream to soft peaks. Fold melted chocolate mixture into cooled egg mixture. Fold in whippe cream.

6. Pour into individual ramekins (or whatever dish you like), and freeze, covered, for at least six hours. Take out of freezer a few minutes before serving to soften a bit.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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  • 1 month later...

I've made Julia Child's "Best Ever Brownies" with the 99% unsweetened SB twice this week (the recipe calls for 4 ounces of unsweetened, 2 ounces bittersweet--I used 62% SB) and the difference (compared with previous pans made with Baker's and Callebaut) is amazing.

Here's the recipe, if you should need it:

http://www.dianasdesserts.com/index.cfm/fu...1136/Recipe.cfm

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isn't there a brownie recipe in the box? I'd try the stuff they've printed for you in that insert...I have several types though, but I think they've got brownies, and a hot chocolate recipe in that pamphlet included. I've done both, and the brownies were absolutely wonderful, ...if the recipes are different (one of the ones I did may have been for the bittersweet, I think it's like 85%, probably less) try them anyway, they usually give 3 or 4 applications for use. None with ingredients are harder to find than the chocolate itself (notwithstanding mailorder). Chocolate is to play with, not die over. In otherwords, use it darlin', use it.

edit: the bittersweet is 70% the semi is 62%. The brownie recipe IS in the pamphlet in the box, and so is the mexican style drinking chocolate recipe,. it does call for cinnamon and chili pepper. It is very thick and good. I agree a mole would be ideal for this stuff.

Edited by highchef (log)
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  • 2 years later...

I just a got a bunch of Cluizel 99% Infiti bars, so of course I want to play. I saw one brownie recipe in RecipeGullet, but that doesn't do anything to make the chocolate stand out. Since 99% is too much for 99% of our mouths, how would you all use it in a recipe that wouldn't just melt it into oblivion?

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99% is close enough to 100% that i'd think you could just use it 1 to 1 in place of unsweetened. if you want to be anal, subtract a teaspoon of sugar for every pound of 99% you use.

You could also just adapt other recipes that use bittersweet chocolate. use less chocolate, more sugar.

I'd love to bake some things with Cluizel chocolate. It's my favorite that I've tasted so far. But even in bulk it costs enough more than valrhona that i've decided to just stay away, and avoid a new addiction.

Let us know what you come up with.

Notes from the underbelly

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I want to refine my question because, like paul said, Cluizel is such a nice chocolate, the theory would be that a 99% bar would be special enough to be worth making (v. putting sugar in it and making it a 70% bar). So, my thought is finding a way to highlight the tastes in the chocolate without being turned off by the bitterness.

The one bar that I've nibbled at, I've had to just sit on my tongue and let it dissolve for it to be enjoyable and for my head to grasp the complex flavor. So, its that complexity that I want to pull out.

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How about this? Its called "La Bete Noire" the Black Beast.

gallery_38003_3498_512503.jpg

Jmahl

Mad about Chocolete

The Philip Mahl Community teaching kitchen is now open. Check it out. "Philip Mahl Memorial Kitchen" on Facebook. Website coming soon.

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I suggest trying "Robert's Chocolate Cookies," which were developed to showcase Scharffen Berger 99% chocolate. The cookies are not sweet, and to my palate they even tasted a little flat (I wanted more sugar). Maybe the cookies should be served with port. But if you want a cookie to show off the pure nuanced flavor of a great chocolate, this is it.

The recipe is in Alice Medrich's Cookies and Brownies. If you don't have the book handy (and it's a great cookbook, BTW), this blogger has her version of the recipe posted on her website: http://loveandcooking.blogspot.com/2004/11...ay-cookies.html

The only difference from the original recipe: use 5 TB unsalted butter (the blogger's recipe calls for 1/4 cup unsalted butter).

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How about this?  Its called "La Bete Noire"  the Black Beast.

Ooh, thanks for the reminder. I saw this (or something extremely similar) in one of the food magazines several months ago and never got around to baking it.

I'd second the vote for this as chocolate-overdose recipe of choice, but haven't tried it.

David aka "DCP"

Amateur protein denaturer, Maillard reaction experimenter, & gourmand-at-large

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How about this?  Its called "La Bete Noire"  the Black Beast.

Ooh, thanks for the reminder. I saw this (or something extremely similar) in one of the food magazines several months ago and never got around to baking it.

I'd second the vote for this as chocolate-overdose recipe of choice, but haven't tried it.

You are right. It was on the cover of one of the cooking mags. I have made it several times. Always a hit. I have varied the recipe by doing all of the melting in the microwave and adding a pinch of salt to the mixtures. Give it a try.

Jmahl

The Philip Mahl Community teaching kitchen is now open. Check it out. "Philip Mahl Memorial Kitchen" on Facebook. Website coming soon.

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What about a deep, dark pots de creme? Something not too sweet that has very few other ingredients.

Or ganache; chocolate and cream, adding just a very small amount of sugar?

Or maybe hot chocolate made with the Cluizel, hot water, and a little sugar?

Eileen

Eileen Talanian

HowThe Cookie Crumbles.com

HomemadeGourmetMarshmallows.com

As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists. ~Joan Gussow

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