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Ways to enhance chocolate?

I recently learned that I could add a touch of licorice to chocolate to enhance its flavor.

Are there tricks or tips that you have to enhance the flavor and/or texture of chocolate for baking, cooking, etc.?

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  1. chili.

    Brings out a divine smokiness in chocolate

    1. Salt. Any chocolate recipe should contain a little salt to bring out the chocolate flavor fully.

      1. Vanilla, of course, is a natural (and almost always) necessary counterpart. Fruits are great for their acidity. Nuts, cacao nibs, espresso nibs, etc. provide a nice contrast to the smoothness of the chocolate.

          1. a little orange peel...

            1. Any liqueur pretty much. Regarding your comment about texture, just know that if you add liquid to melted chocolate it will seize up. So I'm assuming that your flavoring question is for things like hot chocolate, ganache, or adding some flavor to a chocolate recipe.

              With regard to ganache, you can experiment with different proportions of chocolate, liqueur, butter, cream, and some would say corn syrup to get different textures from crumbly to creamy.

              1. A friend of mine covers homemade caramel with dark chocolate and gray salt. It is to die for! The salt really brings out the flavor.

                1. I put a dash of white pepper into almost every chocolate dish I make. Almost undetectable, everyone always asks what I've done because it is so different and exceptional.

                  1. 2x vanilla, salt and replace 1/2 the liquid in the recipe with cooled espresso.

                    1. Cooks loves putting a tablespoon or two of instant expresso powder in all their baked goods recipes. They say (and I agree) that it really brings out the chocolate flavor, without making it taste like mocha.

                      1. White pepper, chili powder, espresso, grey salt (I guess these have all been mentioned)

                        1. another vote for coffee/espresso. people are always asking me why my chocolate desserts, brownies, etc. seem to taste so much deeper & richer than what they usually encounter or make themselves, and i swear it's the coffee.

                          it's easy to use freshly brewed coffee or espresso [regular or decaf depending on your preference] in any recipe that calls for water - just use a straight 1:1 replacement.

                          in cases where you'd prefer not to mess with the fluid balance, try instant espresso granules [or regular instant coffee like folger's or taster's choice if you're desperate]. just make sure to blend them thoroughly with the other dry ingredients...or even whisk the powder/crystals into the eggs, oil etc during the creaming or beating step. the stuff typically dissolves fairly well.

                          good luck!

                          oh, and make sure NOT to use ground coffee or ground espresso, only the instant/freeze-dried/powdered stuff. something tells me people probably wouldn't appreciate digging into their chocolate dessert and coming up with a mouthful of raw coffee grounds :)