Category Archives: Food

A Glossary of Chocolate Terms

Because you can’t save the world on an empty stomach:

Some of this has been covered in previous posts, but it can’t hurt to have some chocolate terms you can comfortably throw around. Here are the basic ones—feel free to add yours in the comments!

Bloom: What happens when chocolate is a) exposed to moisture (sugar bloom) or b) exposed to heat after tempering (fat bloom). Sugar bloom looks like dull blotches and spots that are rough to the touch; chocolate that is sugar bloomed cannot be re-tempered, but can be used in baking, sauces, and pretty much everything else. Fat bloom is streaky/swirly and smooth to the touch; chocolate that is fat bloomed can be re-tempered.

Cacao/Cocoa: Generally speaking, the term “cacao” refers to the raw materials of chocolate before it becomes a finished product—the trees (Criollo, Forastero, and Trinitario), pods, beans, and liquor (pure cacao bean paste, sans sugar etc). Cocoa refers to cocoa powder (the cocoa solids) and subsequently processed products.

20100803cocoabutter2.jpgDark chocolate and cocoa butter. [Flickr: anniemole]

Cocoa butter: The fat in the cacao bean. This is released during grinding, and in some cases pressed out of the mass to make cocoa powder. True cocoa butter is ivory in color, melts at around 88℉, and has a neutral taste. Since it melts below body temperature, it imparts a cooling sensation when it melts in the mouth.

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How to Make Granola

Because you can’t save the world on an empty stomach or if it’s TEOTWAWKI, you still got eat:

How to Make Granola

My daily breakfast of yogurt and granola is (almost) as important to me as my morning coffee. Those crunchy baked clusters and bursts of fruity sweetness wake up my taste buds and give me enough fuel to make it through the morning. I might even go as far as saying that eating granola makes me happy. OK, maybe the coffee gets partial credit for that, but I do love granola.
Baking up a batch every couple of weeks is another nice ritual. It’s really easy, and unlike the store-bought alternative, you can create exactly the balance of fruit, nuts, grains, sweetness, and richness you want.
This slideshow will show you the basics of granola-making, whether you want it rich and sweet, or lighter, more liked a baked muesl.