Chocolate is a food which traditionally is made from the seeds of the cacao tree. According to some scientists, chocolate has been around for as many as three million years.
While the chocolate was once enjoyed only in Mexico, South, and Central America, it has spread to households across the world. In most cases, chocolate candies and confections are purchased from bakeries or grocery stores. Individuals who are interested in making their own sweet treats should always seek permission and assistance from their parents or guardians to avoid injury and ensure satisfactory results.
Dark Chocolate-Covered Strawberries
Dark chocolate is a specific type of chocolate which has a very low milk fat concentration. Though dark chocolate can be eaten plain, it is often paired with other, sweeter items, like strawberries. To make dark chocolate covered strawberries at home, the chocolate must first be melted on the stovetop or in a microwave. Once all of the chocolate has softened and is smooth, the strawberries can be carefully dipped in the mixture and rotated, until all sides have been covered. Once the strawberry is completely coated in chocolate, it should be placed on a sheet of parchment paper and allowed to cool completely.
While strawberries are often considered ideal for dark chocolate dipping, other fruits—such as orange segments, apple slices, or even bananas—can also produce appealing results.
White Chocolate Bark
Despite popular belief, the white version of this confection does not actually contain any chocolate.
Instead, white chocolate is composed of a combination of sugar, milk, and cocoa butter, and is most popular in European countries. While white chocolate can be used in the creation of a number of products, it is most commonly used to create a confection known as chocolate bark. To make chocolate bark, white chocolate must be heated to a soft and smooth consistency and mixed with whole almonds, walnuts, pecans, or other similar types of nuts. This mixture is then poured on a baking or cookie sheet that has been covered with parchment paper, and allowed to cool until it is firm. Once the white chocolate bark has completely cooled, it can be broken into smaller, jagged pieces. When placed in an air-proof container, white chocolate bark can be stored for up to three months.
Milk Chocolate Fudge
Milk chocolate is perhaps one of the most popular flavors of chocolate currently in existence.
Traditionally, milk chocolate has a higher percentage of milk fat, making it smooth and creamy. While milk chocolate can be used in a variety of manners, it is traditionally used in the production of fudge. To make fudge, equal amounts of butter and sugar must be heated in a microwave or on the stove until the sugar has dissolved completely and the mixture is bubbling and smooth. Milk chocolate chips must then be mixed into the butter and sugar concoction and stirred until they are completely dissolved.
Finally, vanilla, marshmallows, and nuts can be added in the last step of the fudge making process. The ratios of these final ingredients may vary depending on the amount of sweetness or crunch desired in the fudge. The liquid mixture—which at this point will be quite sticky—must be poured into a square baking pan and allowed to cool on a countertop until completely set. Those who do not have the patience to wait for the fudge to cool can speed the process by putting it in the refrigerator.
Chocolate lollipops, which are popular at Easter, Christmas, and other similar holidays, can be made with a variety of different types of chocolate. Like many of the other items described previously, the production of chocolate lollipops requires specialized pieces of equipment.
Specifically, candy molds—such as those found in arts and crafts or culinary stores—are necessary to produce chocolate lollipops. To make these items, the chocolate must first be melted to a warm, smooth consistency, and then poured into greased molds. While the chocolate is still warm, a clean lollipop stick should be inserted into the bottom of the chocolate, and should be left undisturbed until the chocolate has completely cooled.
Once the chocolate has set, the lollipop can be carefully removed from the mold and covered with a small piece of tinfoil or plastic wrap.
- Just for Kids: All About Chocolate—Recipes and facts about making chocolate at home.
- The Science of Chocolate—Videos and facts about chocolate making.
- Making Chocolate at Home—Recipes and videos for individuals interested in cooking with chocolate.
- Chocolate: Chocolate Desserts—Great recipes for chocolate lovers!