Kirsten Tibballs is a self-professed “chocolate queen”. The pastry chef, and founder of Savour Chocolate & Patisserie School in Brunswick, is well known for appearances on Masterchef, and has just published a new cookbook titled Chocolate All Day.
We asked Tibballs to answer all our burning (hot) chocolate questions. And, lucky for us, she obliged.
What’s the best way to store chocolate at home?
In airtight and opaque packaging. And in a cool, dry space such as a pantry. Definitely not in the fridge – I can’t stress this enough!
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Why does advent-calendar chocolate often taste so bad?
The chocolate in advent calendars is usually made with compound chocolate. Compound chocolate is made with vegetable fat, so it has an inferior taste and an unpleasant waxy mouthfeel. The chocolate you want to buy is couverture, which is made with cocoa butter.
Can you temper chocolate without a thermometer?
Yes! The easiest way to temper chocolate without a thermometer is the microwave method. Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe plastic bowl and heat it in 30-second increments, stirring in between. Once you have 50 per cent solids and 50 per cent liquid, stir vigorously until the chocolate has completely melted.
What is cocoa powder?
Cocoa powder is part of the cocoa bean. It has a lower fat percentage than chocolate, which is why it’s sold in powdered form. Dutch-processed cocoa powder is my preference, as it’s alkalised, making it richer in colour and more water-soluble.
What is gold chocolate?
It’s a beautifully golden caramel chocolate with rich notes of toffee, butter and cream, as well as an exciting hint of salt. It’s created with caramelised sugar and caramelised milk.
What about ruby chocolate?
It’s an exciting, naturally pink-coloured chocolate made from the ruby cocoa bean. It has a fruity flavour profile, with berry notes and a beautiful pink hue. It’s known now as the fourth chocolate – white, dark, milk and ruby.
What is the best chocolate to use to make hot chocolate?
A combination of milk and dark chocolate, but make sure it contains cocoa butter. Mix a little hot milk with the chocolate to make a soft paste, then top up with more hot milk and it’ll be perfect.
What’s the first thing people should make from your new cookbook?
My choc-chip cookie sandwiches with orange ganache. You’ll understand why when you try them (and can thank me later!).
Do you prefer chips or chunks in your chocolate-chip cookies?
I use chocolate callets, which would be most similar to chocolate chips.
What’s your favourite chocolate bar?
A dark chocolate bar, with roasted nuts.
Do you ever get sick of chocolate?
In short, absolutely not. I am blessed to be in a position where I’m making different chocolate creations every day, so I never get bored of tasting my newest desserts.