Jacques Torres: Mr. Chocolate, Jacques Torres, Says These Are The Biggest Mistakes Bakers Are Making With Chocolate – Exclusive
BY ALEXANDRA CASS/APRIL 6, 2021 11:23 AM EDT
While we’re always down to eat chocolate in any form we can get it in, figuring out how to bake with the ingredient isn’t quite as simple as it seems. Chocolate comes in many different flavors and a variety of forms — from powder, to nibs, to bars, and more. Of course, for world-class pastry chef Jacques Torres (also known as Mr. Chocolate) that’s the best part about it. “Chocolate has always been something very interesting to me … you can do so much with chocolates,” Torres shared in an exclusive interview with Mashed. “You can do drinks, you can do cakes, you can do Petit Gâteau, you can do little chocolates, you can do centerpieces, you can do so many things.”
Sure, all of that sounds absolutely divine, but trying to make these treats yourself is a lot harder than it looks for most home bakers. Luckily, Torres (who also happens to be the presiding judge on Netflix’s Nailed It!) is here to help. After five seasons of watching amateur bakers make every mistake in the books, Torres knows what’s going wrong with our chocolate desserts. The judge revealed to Mashed the biggest mistakes bakers at home are making when trying to work with chocolate.
The type of chocolate you use always matters
Craving some gooey, fudge brownies? Want to whip up a moist and flavorful dark chocolate birthday cake? Perhaps this weekend calls for some comfort in the form of fully loaded chocolate chip cookies? Whatever cocoa dessert you plan to bake next, there’s one important rule master chocolatier Jacques Torres wants you to keep in mind: The chocolate you use always matters for the outcome of your dessert — and not all chocolate is created equal.
“Using the wrong ingredients for the wrong goal … that’s one of the mistakes that people make a lot,” advised Torres. Specifically, “using the wrong chocolates for the wrong things.” And one of the biggest ways home bakers mess this up is using mass-produced, commercial chocolate chips to make everything from chocolate chip cookies to chocolate sauce. The problem? It doesn’t melt. “It’s funny to me that chocolate can not melt at 350 degrees Fahrenheit in the oven for 20 minutes,” Torres told Mashed. “It’s unbelievable. But it doesn’t,” he added, lamenting that it can completely undercut your entire recipe. “A lot of times, people try to use that type of chocolate to make a chocolate sauce. That chocolate doesn’t melt. So you cannot call it sauce. There is not enough cocoa butter in it.”
No matter what you’re baking, Torres insists that “you need a high quality chocolate that melts, that has enough cocoa butter,” because — bottom line — not enough cocoa butter means your chocolate won’t melt properly, and Mr. Chocolate himself will be very disappointed.
Mr. Chocolate says to pay attention to the cocoa content
Another mistake Jacques Torres sees bakers making is not paying attention to the cocoa content in their dark chocolate, which has a big impact on flavor. Cocoa is the product that is leftover after the pods inside cacao beans are processed, and is the basis for all chocolate (via Healthline). When you buy high quality dark chocolate, you should be able to find the info you need right on the label. Torres explains that the “higher the cocoa content, higher the percentage will be. So sometimes you will see 50 percent, 60 percent, 70 percent, 80 percent cocoa contents, that’s how much cocoa you have in the dark chocolate.” A higher cocoa content generally means a more intense flavor, says Business Insider. It also usually signifies less sugar and more antioxidants (via Healthline).
Keep these tips in mind next time you’re baking with chocolate, and be sure to catch Jacques Torres in the newest season of Nailed It!, available to stream on Netflix now.Read more here