It can come as no surprise to say that here at Honeybuns, we love baking and we absolutely love chocolate.
You can see this just by taking a look at our range of indulgent chocolate cakes.
For example, our beloved Milk Chocolate Brownie is full-on chocolatey with an amazing depth of flavour, achieved by the blend of milk and dark chocolate being 45% of the overall contents.
We think it’s fair to say that a lot of our customers love chocolate too, with many of our chocolate cakes being amongst our top sellers.
As a commercial bakery with over 20 years experience of gluten free baking with chocolate, here are some of our top tips…
Beware of “hidden gluten” in chocolate
If you’re a coeliac or gluten sensitive you do need to carefully check that chocolate packaging states “gluten free”. Commonly, chocolate is made on the same production lines as chocolate covered biscuits which contain gluten. It can be tricky to get manufacturers to declare their products as suitable for coeliacs.
In our award winning cakes, we use white, milk (35 per cent cocoa solids) and dark (73 per cent cocoa solids) chocolate, in the form of callets. Chocolate ‘callets’ (chocolate drops) are an alternative used by professional cooks and increasingly available to the domestic cook. We get our gluten free chocolate callets for the bakery from a company called Barry Calabaut. Calabaut chocolate is popular among chefs and chocolatiers, and is not available on the high street.
We also use Plamil chocolate in our dairy free Oaty Dark Choc Bar with Coconut; this is a premium gluten free and dairy free dark chocolate sweetened with coconut blossom nectar.
Other brands we’ve used and have had good results with are: Moo Free, Noble Choice and Kinnerton. These are also dairy free.
Our tips for melting chocolate
We usually melt chocolate with either butter or oil. This gives a gloss to the chocolate and makes the melted mixture smoother and much more spreadable. It also results in a softer set chocolate, so if you are making a chocolate coating and want a more brittle set, melt the chocolate on its own.
We suggest using either a bain marie or microwave to melt chocolate. The microwave has speed and convenience in its favour, but you have to be a little more careful not to overheat the mixture.
For even melting, chocolate should be chopped into roughly equal-sized chunks or alternatively we recommend using callets.
Microwave: Make sure your bowl and spoon are dry, as any moisture can cause melted chocolate to go grainy. A metal spoon or rubber spatula are better than a wooden spoon, as it’s easier to be sure they are completely dry. Place the chocolate in a microwavable bowl and heat for 30 second bursts on medium power. After each 30 seconds, stir the chocolate to help melt it further. It’s much better to carry on stirring to get rid of the lumps if it’s close to being fully melted. If you overheat the chocolate there’s no way of rescuing it. Instead it gets gritty burnt bits in it and turns everything bitter.
As a guide, 100g of chocolate takes 2 minutes to melt, in 30 second bursts on medium power.
With practice, you will get used to mixtures that can be left a little longer between stirs. White chocolate burns particularly easily, so take extra care with this.
Bain-marie: Place the ingredients to be melted in a heatproof glass bowl. Using a saucepan that is slightly smaller than the bowl, pour in water to a depth of 2cm and bring to simmering point. Place the bowl on top of the saucepan; the bowl should rest on the pan without coming into contact with the water. Simmer, but be sure not to allow water or steam to come into contact with the mixture. Stir with a rubber spatula. Remove from the heat just before it is fully melted and then stir until it is evenly melted – this helps avoid overheating the mixture.
You can find these tips and more great gluten-free baking hacks in our two cook books.
If you fancy putting these tips into practice, why not head over and try this utterly gorgeous vegan, gluten- and dairy-free Chocolate, Prune and Avocado Tart recipe, taken from ‘Honeybuns All Day Cook Book’ – we like the intensity of the dark chocolate topping!