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Chocolate for Baking


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Question: what brands of semisweet or bittersweet chocolate do you use for chocolate baked goods, mousses, and icings? And where do you buy it?

I tend to buy Weiss from La Cuisine, or Callebaut Chocolate from Whole Foods.

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Question:  what brands of semisweet or bittersweet chocolate do you use for chocolate baked goods, mousses, and icings?  And where do you buy it?

I tend to buy Weiss from La Cuisine, or Callebaut Chocolate from Whole Foods.

After using Scharffenberger a couple of times, which I got at Sur la Table, I decided I was not that crazy about it. It has a fruity aftertaste, and I much prefer the nutty/caramelly finish I get from Valrhona. When using Valrhona, though, it can get really expensive when you need a lot of it. Trader Joe's Belgian chocolate is decent quality and the price is right. For special meals, I still like to use Valrhona, though. Callebaut works well, too. I have used El Rey discs a couple of time for flourless chocolate cake, and I like the convenience of weighing and melting the discs, as opposed to struggling to chop up a thick bar. I got those at Whole Foods, though last time I looked, they were sold out.

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For couverture, I mainly use Callebaut and buy it from bkeith at his website here. The callets (about the size of the average chocolate chip) are quite handy since they eliminate chopping for most applications. (I've heard from bkeith that his distributor has discontinued the Callebaut bittersweet callets and is now supplying him Cacao Noel 72% bittersweet disks instead.)

For the more mundane applications (such as brownies for rwtye to take in his lunch) and where the chocolate is more of an ingredient than the star, I usually buy Ghirardelli from Trader Joe's. The price is right and rwtye favors its flavor over all other chocolates since it is the chocolate he grew up eating.

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I love Scharffen Berger to nibble on, but not for mousse, cookies, or cake, as the texture ends up being dense and a little dry. Ghirardelli is my favorite 'daily' chocolate, followed by Valrhona or El Rey when I want something really special. The Valrhona 71% cacao makes a damn tasty mousse (I guess that particular chocolate really is my favorite). And I agree with zoramargolis that the El Rey discs are easy to use. I think I've gotten them most recently at La Cuisine.

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I love Scharffen Berger to nibble on, but not for mousse, cookies, or cake, as the texture ends up being dense and a little dry.  Ghirardelli is my favorite 'daily' chocolate, followed by Valrhona or El Rey when I want something really special.  The Valrhona 71% cacao makes a damn tasty mousse (I guess that particular chocolate really is my favorite).  And I agree with zoramargolis that the El Rey discs are easy to use.  I think I've gotten them most recently at La Cuisine.

I agree. Ghirardelli is a great "go to" chocolate for yur everyday use.

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At the Georgetown Whole Foods I noticed a kind of Icelandic chocolate for the first time, packaged only in that porous white paper that you usually see inside the outer wrapper.

It is available in 70% cocao in addition to semi-sweet and milk chocolate varieties. What puzzled me, though is that "sugar' is listed first, unless labels in Iceland aren't required to organize ingredients in descending order of quantity.

The price was reasonable.

Has anyone tried these?

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I generally use either Callebaut or the higher percentage Scharffen Berger chocolates in both baked goods and glazes. Chopped bittersweet Callebaut makes great chocolate chunk cookies. I made the unsweetened brownies from Alice Medrich's Bittersweet with Scharffen Berger 99%, and couldn't keep my hands off them. They were mellow and earthy, with just the right amount of sweetness. I haven't made the brownies again with another chocolate, but this thread is making me consider doing so this weekend.

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At the Georgetown Whole Foods I noticed a kind of Icelandic chocolate for the first time, packaged only in that porous white paper that you usually see inside the outer wrapper.

It is available in 70% cocao in addition to semi-sweet and milk chocolate varieties. What puzzled me, though is that "sugar' is listed first, unless labels in Iceland aren't required to organize ingredients in descending order of quantity.

The price was reasonable.

Has anyone tried these?

i have tasted the milk chocolate and it was okay, not as good as the packaging and lacking the chocolate intensity you will find in some of the chocolates discussed above. i don't know why sugar is listed first, but it definitely packs in the sugar. if i lived in iceland i probably would use it all the time, and hagbard and signe, those famous puffin eaters of yore, would like it, but i wouldn't bother to cook with this chocolate here. a more appropriate use for this bar is sneaking it into movies.

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A little bump to this post.

I'm looking for cocoa powder - both dutch process and regular unsweetened cocoa powder - in largeish quantities.

I'd love to buy it in a larger quantity than the sadness-inducing tiny boxes I found at Harris Teeter and Whole Foods (with equally sadness-inducing prices). When I was in LA recently I tracked down a 16oz container (http://www.surfasonline.com/products/7519.cfm) that made my day.

It looks like La Cuisine might have something that fits the bill (8oz of Vahlrona for $12), and I have plans to ring/visit Little Bitts and Cakes Plus but if anyone has insight on this topic it'd be greatly appreciated. I'm happy to travel a bit into MD or VA for my cocoa powder needs, too.

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A little bump to this post.

I'm looking for cocoa powder - both dutch process and regular unsweetened cocoa powder - in largeish quantities.

I'd love to buy it in a larger quantity than the sadness-inducing tiny boxes I found at Harris Teeter and Whole Foods (with equally sadness-inducing prices). When I was in LA recently I tracked down a 16oz container (http://www.surfasonline.com/products/7519.cfm) that made my day.

It looks like La Cuisine might have something that fits the bill (8oz of Vahlrona for $12), and I have plans to ring/visit Little Bitts and Cakes Plus but if anyone has insight on this topic it'd be greatly appreciated. I'm happy to travel a bit into MD or VA for my cocoa powder needs, too.

Why not have Surfas ship it to you? Their prices are much lower than anywhere else, and even adding in shipping costs-- you save yourself the time and gas money it would take to track it down.

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Why not have Surfas ship it to you? Their prices are much lower than anywhere else, and even adding in shipping costs-- you save yourself the time and gas money it would take to track it down.

We use Valrhona cocoa powder here at the shop. If you would like to buy some, we would be happy to sell it to you with a very minimal markup. It would be like $10/lb. It wont be in a fancy tin or anything, just a bag.

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A little bump to this post.

I'm looking for cocoa powder - both dutch process and regular unsweetened cocoa powder - in largeish quantities.

I'd love to buy it in a larger quantity than the sadness-inducing tiny boxes I found at Harris Teeter and Whole Foods (with equally sadness-inducing prices). When I was in LA recently I tracked down a 16oz container (http://www.surfasonline.com/products/7519.cfm) that made my day.

It looks like La Cuisine might have something that fits the bill (8oz of Vahlrona for $12), and I have plans to ring/visit Little Bitts and Cakes Plus but if anyone has insight on this topic it'd be greatly appreciated. I'm happy to travel a bit into MD or VA for my cocoa powder needs, too.

I bought a deli tub of Vahlrona a little while ago at WF for 14.99 a lb, which would be cheaper than La Cuisine but no where near the sweet deal the Andelman's offering. Vahlrona's definitely the most intensely flavored of the cocoa powders among the four or five different ones I've tried in the last six months (experimenting with mousse in the ISI cream whipper).

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Bumping the thread again. Despite the weather, I am planning some baking projects, and I want a large quantity of chocolate (3 - 4 kilos) and cocoa (0.5 - 1 kilo). Valrhona would be nice, but I also like El Rey. I can find the Valrhona 64% feves in a 3 kilo bag online for about $70, but there's shipping, then there's melting. Is there any local place to buy it at a reasonable price?

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You could try Artisan Confections for a local source of Valrhona feves by the pound (and from upthread, looks like cocoa too). For El Ray, I've only bought it in chunks from Whole Foods, but I don't know how that price compares to other places in the area.

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You could try Artisan Confections for a local source of Valrhona feves by the pound (and from upthread, looks like cocoa too). For El Ray, I've only bought it in chunks from Whole Foods, but I don't know how that price compares to other places in the area.

I've also bought El Rey feves at Whole Foods. I don't recall them being terribly expensive, but I've only bought in fairly small quantities.

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I've also bought El Rey feves at Whole Foods. I don't recall them being terribly expensive, but I've only bought in fairly small quantities.

That's the trick - the next recipe I want to try, a chocolate toffee torte, calls for over 2 1/2 pounds of chocolate. Then there's the ganache for the caramel nut cake...

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Bumping the thread again. Despite the weather, I am planning some baking projects, and I want a large quantity of chocolate (3 - 4 kilos) and cocoa (0.5 - 1 kilo). Valrhona would be nice, but I also like El Rey. I can find the Valrhona 64% feves in a 3 kilo bag online for about $70, but there's shipping, then there's melting. Is there any local place to buy it at a reasonable price?

Have you tried King Arthur's cocoa? It is quite, quite good.

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I have not, but I will now. Thanks for the recommendation.

I also really like Penzey's cocoa (particularly the natural, but I think that's partially a function of using Dutch less often than natural, so I don't have a good benchmark)

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Bumping the thread again. Despite the weather, I am planning some baking projects, and I want a large quantity of chocolate (3 - 4 kilos) and cocoa (0.5 - 1 kilo). Valrhona would be nice, but I also like El Rey. I can find the Valrhona 64% feves in a 3 kilo bag online for about $70, but there's shipping, then there's melting. Is there any local place to buy it at a reasonable price?

You can get the Valrhona powder at Rodman's. It is totally, utterly, absolutely worth it.

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I found a potential solution for the Valrhona inclined. I went to my local wine shop that also carries chocolate, and the owner was able to order the 3 kilo bags of Valrhona from the same supplier that brings in her regular chocolates that she keeps in stock. I get my chocolate and a local shopkeeper and friend gets the cash. Win-win. :) So check with your local purveyor - it turns out that just because they don't carry it in stock, it doesn't mean they won't special order it.

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I found a potential solution for the Valrhona inclined. I went to my local wine shop that also carries chocolate, and the owner was able to order the 3 kilo bags of Valrhona from the same supplier that brings in her regular chocolates that she keeps in stock. I get my chocolate and a local shopkeeper and friend gets the cash. Win-win. :) So check with your local purveyor - it turns out that just because they don't carry it in stock, it doesn't mean they won't special order it.

We sell Valrhona chocolate at our shop for $12/lb which is a VERY minimal markup. We have milk (Jivara), white, and 6 different darks (ranging from 55% to 72%). I can pretty much guarantee it is the best prices you will find on Valrhona in the area. And maybe you will buy some of our chocolates when you are here as well... :D

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We sell Valrhona chocolate at our shop for $12/lb which is a VERY minimal markup. We have milk (Jivara), white, and 6 different darks (ranging from 55% to 72%). I can pretty much guarantee it is the best prices you will find on Valrhona in the area. And maybe you will buy some of our chocolates when you are here as well... :)

Next time I will! The first recipe I want to make is a chocolate toffee torte that takes over a kilo, so there will be a next time. :D

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