Marcella Keogh Malloryvia via Facebook: Aarti, what is the best way to melt chocolate?
Aarti Sequeira: You've got to set up a double boiler to escape disaster: Bring about two inches of water to a simmer in a small pot. Chop the chocolate into small chunks (saving yourself a piece to nibble on, of course), put 'em in a small heatproof bowl, set it on top of the pot (the water shouldn't touch the bottom of the bowl) and stir now and then to encourage even melting. Be careful not to get any water into the chocolate because that may cause it to seize, leaving you with an ugly mess!
Karen Stanford from Cedar Rapids, IA: Ina, whenever I make chocolate chip cookies, I always use room-temperature butter and eggs, but I have a hard time getting my cookies to be consistent. Any advice?
Ina Garten: I think a classic mistake is putting the butter out for only a little while before mixing it. The butter shouldn't be cold at all. I always leave butter (and eggs) out overnight before baking—they won't spoil on the counter, and it makes a huge difference in the finished product.
Rachel Chandler via Facebook: Ellie, is white chocolate really chocolate? I've heard that it isn't.
Ellie Krieger: You heard right. White "chocolate" is an impostor. Although it is made from cocoa butter (the fat from the cocoa bean), it isn't really chocolate because it has no cocoa solids, the dark-colored stuff that gives real chocolate its identity, deep flavor and antioxidant punch.
Kristin Taylor via Facebook: Robert, what is the best type of chocolate for, say, dipping pretzels?
Robert Irvine: When making chocolate fondue, I find that the easiest thing to do is melt semisweet chocolate with a small amount of grapeseed oil. (Grapeseed oil has little or no flavor, so it won't change the original flavor.) The oil adds a little slickness, which lets the chocolate spread evenly without affecting the taste, and it gives a nice shine to the dipped foods.
Lisa Cornell via Facebook: Pat and Gina, I love chocolate-covered potato chips! They're the best, but how do you keep them crisp and not soggy?
Pat and Gina Neely: If you're using homemade chips, make sure they're cool before dipping them into the melted chocolate. After dipping, we always let ours dry on a sheet tray fitted with a wire rack. You can pop them into the fridge to firm up the chocolate as they dry. We usually make just enough to eat because they do not store very well, especially in hot and humid Memphis!