06 Nov THE SECRET INGREDIENT IN OUR AWARD WINNING BROWNIES
Our award winning brownies are definitely one of our most popular treats – and in fact, they were the original product that we launched Coco & Bean with.
Whilst we can’t part with our special recipe – sorry top secret that one, what we can reveal is the secret ingredient that makes our brownies so special.
Well one of them anyway 😉
So what’s the secret ingredient in our award winning belgian chocolate brownies I hear you ask?
The secret ingredient is…chocolate!
We detect a few puzzled faces.
It’s obvious brownies contain chocolate, right?
However, we only use couverture chocolate in our brownies and in fact it’s the only chocolate we always use here at Coco & Bean.
And for very good reason too…
Some brownies are made with compound chocolate and therein lays the difference.[/vc_column_text]
Couverture Chocolate v Compound Chocolate
Couverture chocolate is high quality chocolate that contains a higher percentage of cocoa butter (usually between 32-39%) than compound chocolate.
It also contains chocolate liquor which isn’t as alcoholic as it sounds. It’s actually the cocoa butter mixed with equal parts cocoa solids to produce a liquid.
The word “couverture” is French and means “covering”. Couverture chocolate is superior because it has workable fluidity and far better taste.
It is able to be tempered which gives it its glossy quality and allows that beautiful “snap” sound when it is broken in half.
In contrast, compound chocolate uses cocoa powder instead of liquor and it uses palm oil (or vegetable oil) instead of cocoa butter.
Palm oil has become a popular substitute for some chocolate manufacturers because it is more affordable to harvest in large quantities, however it has also come under heavy criticism.
Palm oil is high in saturated fat and the harvesting of palm oil is responsible for displacement of indigenous people, deforestation and loss of biodiversity.
Basically, it’s bad business for our planet!
It’s an easy choice for bakers who want to work with high quality ingredients that also reflect ethical practices.
But what about the average consumer?
What to look for when buying chocolate
Whether you’re baking with chocolate or a just a chocoholic, how can you tell which chocolate is the best quality and the most ethically produced?
High quality chocolate will have some form of cocoa listed in the ingredients. However, the cocoa percentage itself doesn’t determine the quality. Other ingredients used and the production process also contribute to how great a type of chocolate is.
The higher the cocoa percentage, the more intense the flavour and this means the sweetness is reduced. If you don’t like your chocolate too bitter, but still want quality chocolate, look for dark chocolate with a minimum of 60% cocoa.
Another clue on the ingredients list is the absence of artificial flavours. Look for products that are made with pure flavourings and natural ingredients.
If you see numbers in the ingredients list, it refers to an artificial ingredient and too many numbers means you’re not eating real chocolate at all!
Where to buy coverture chocolate
We love working with Callebaut Coverture Chocolate and you can purchase your own online at The Essential Ingredient.
It is pricier than compound chocolate but worth every cent if you are after quality.
Costco has also been known to stock it so look out for it next time you’re in store.
Where to buy ready-made ethically produced chocolate
If you want to also be sure that you are buying ethically produced chocolate, visit Fair Trade Australia’s list of Fair Trade Chocolate Sellers.
Of course, this list isn’t extensive but does contain some better known suppliers.
Hey Tiger is another Australian company producing chocolate bars from ethically sourced ingredients – and they are delicious!
Even better, part of their profits go back to the communities producing cocoa to help raise people above the poverty line and solve a range of social issues.
And of course, here at Coco & Bean, you can always be assured that we bake with the highest quality, ethically produced ingredients.