EPISODE 6: Philadelphia Desserts — Phreakin' Phenomenal!
- Couverture chocolate — Couverture chocolate is a very high-quality coating chocolate that professionals use because of its glossy visual appeal. It contains extra cocoa butter (32 percent to 39 percent). The higher percentage of cocoa butter, combined with proper tempering, gives the chocolate more sheen, firmer "snap" when broken and a creamy mellow flavor. The total "percentage" cited on many brands of chocolate is based on some combination of cocoa butter in relation to cocoa solids (cacao). To be properly labeled as "couverture," the percentage of cocoa butter must be between 32 percent and 39 percent, and the total percentage of the combined cocoa butter plus cocoa solids must be at least 54 percent. Sugar makes up the remainder, and up to 1 percent may be made up of vanilla — and sometimes soy lecithin.
- Milk chocolate vs. dark chocolate vs. white chocolate — Dark chocolate is an all-encompassing term for unsweetened, bittersweet and semisweet chocolate, but it does not include milk or white chocolate. The level of sweetness in dark chocolate is determined by the amount of sugar, lecithin and vanilla added to its makeup of cocoa butter and chocolate liquor. Milk chocolate contains at least 12 percent milk solids with the addition of dry milk. White chocolate actually has no chocolate liquor at all (which makes it technically not a chocolate). Instead, white chocolate is a combination of cocoa butter, sugar, milk solids, lecithin and vanilla.
- Macaron vs. macaroon — Macaron is the French word; macaroon is the English version. French macarons are small merengue-based cookies made from egg whites, sugar and ground almonds or paste. These cookies can be sandwiched together with cream or fruit fillings and come in a variety of colors and flavors. Coconut macaroons are more commonly found in the U.S. and are made of egg whites and shredded coconut. These can be found sometimes dipped in chocolate and have a chewy, more cookie-like texture.
- Magma stage (when making macaron batter) — This is actually not a technical culinary term. Many talk about the visual cue when you know the batter is ready for piping as “flowing like magma.” More technically, it is at a thick, ribbon-like stage — when you use a spoon to lift and let the batter flow, it falls back onto itself like thick ribbons.