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help chopping chocolate

about to make my truffles again this year. I always use the large bars of baking chocolate from trader Joe's. you have to chop it up before you put in the double boiler, by the time i have choppped about 1/2 of the required amount, it is so melty. I'm thinking of freezing my cutting board before, any other tricks out there?

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  1. Cut off smaller amounts and work with a that. I smack the TJ's bar on the counter corner to break it up. Refrigerate the other pieces so they're cold while you're chopping.

    1. Hmm, my chocolate never melts while chopping. Are you steadying it with your hand or something?

      If it is a four ounce bar there is no need to touch it with your hand. If it is a large block, you should be able to shave it at the corner into slivers without touching it. Make sure you use your knife not your hands to scrape the chopped chocolate into the bowl.

      If you are not handling it at all and it is still melting than your kitchen must be a lot warmer than mine.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Becca Porter

        Becca's right. It's likely melting from the heat of your hands. Try using gloves or holding it in place with a kitchen towel.

        1. re: Becca Porter

          Yeah. Hands.

          Use a sharp chef's knife and just shave off bits. All you have to do is steady the opposite end of the block and you can do that with a potholder between the heat of your hands and the chocolate.

          I really WOULDN'T work with smaller pieces. That just increases the possibility that the chocolate could move and an accident could occur. Bigger is more stable. Even if you know you only want 1/2 or a small piece from a block, I'd cut those shards and then wrap the block up again.

          Alternatively, you can get an ice chipper from a restaurant supply store for probably around $5. The movement with that is directly down into the block and you don't need to touch the block at all. It's faster but it results in coarser chips that don't melt as fast as the shards you'll get with a chef's knife.

          1. re: rainey

            I haven't had a problem using smaller pieces, just hold w/ towel. When the piece gets small enough, I will use my slap chopper. I love it for small things.

        2. Break them into 1" - 2" chunks and then throw them into the food processor. A few quick pulses and you're good to go.

          1. I confess to having uncharacteristically invested in a single-use tool-- the chocolate chopper (got it from Bakers Catalogue). It's like a sturdy, sharp fork and chips up large blocks beautifully-- I did this when we used to only get large block chocolate, but now we've moved and I can't find the same chocolate at such a good price anymore (Callebaut). Might be worth the $10 as it can be used pretty much one-handed and doesn't tend to slip like a knife.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Procrastibaker

              That's the same tool sold as an ice chipper in a restaurant supply for about half the money.

              $10 is a fair and reasonable price for a useful tool. And King Arthur and the Bakers' Catalogue are great companies. You did good! But for someone who doesn't have one yet, they can get it cheaper, immediately and without shipping if there's a restaurant supply near them.

              1. re: Procrastibaker

                Huh. I always jsut use my trusty carving fork to the same effect.

                1. re: Procrastibaker

                  I love that chopper -- and IMO, it does work better than using a serrated knife. It seems to go faster and cause less mess -- including having less chocolate warmed by my hands in the process.

                2. other than it is messy--why do you care if it gets melty? aren't you melting it anyway?

                  1. You can use a serrated knife, the kind you use to slice bread it works great.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: TDEL

                      Exactly! Use a serrated bread knife. I make chocolate truffles as a hobby mostly. I make a batch of 24 dozen 3-4 times a year and sell them at my wife and my work sites to fellow employees. I do it so I can buy Callebaut chocolate in quantity. I buy 11 pound bars so I have to chop it up.

                      The best way is with a serrated bread knife with along blade. Start at the corner and start shaving. It creates small pieces that can be melted easily.

                      It sounds like the original author has "hot hands". Use rubber gloves while chopping. When i roll my truffles I even refrigerate my rubber gloves. I keep 2-3 pairs in the fridge.

                      By the way, I have found the best way to melt chocolate is not with a double boiler as is commonly recommended. The double boiler works but there is a simpler way.

                      I put the chopped chocolate in the microwave with 30 - 60 second shots using power setting at 6. It won't look like it is liquefied but keep shaking it and when it jiggles you can bring it out and stir it.

                      Sorry about the length of the post. I got carried away.

                    2. Another inexpensive tool you can add to your kitchen utensils, believe it or not, is a chisel. Pick one up at your local hardware store and keep it for specific use in the kitchen (I'm sure you probably already own a hammer).