Will chocolate burn in the oven?
It is that time of year when we all start getting together to eat drink and be merry. If you are ambitious or have some free time, you might want to make so of the foods you will be sharing with friends and family. There is nothing better than being known for a dish; it's like being a legend in your own time. And while we are out there slinging sugar and flour and measuring milk honey, we never quite know what will happen when we close that oven door on our concoction.
So we as chocolatiers and confectioners like to make items that have copious amounts of chocolate in them; naturally. Which leads one to wonder, how is it we know to temper chocolate we heat to 115 degrees, but when we bake cookies at 350, we never hear of burnt chocolate. That's a delicious conundrum to ponder, yes?
Tempering chocolate goes like this. You take solid coverture chocolate, you heat it to anywhere between 105-115 and never higher. Next, you slowly cool the chocolate down to somewhere around 89 degrees and then raise the temperature again to approximately 90-91 to work with it. These temperatures are estimates because there are so many variables that can change the numbers. It is an art, as is baking. You can read more about Tempering Chocolate here.
When you insert your cookies or cake into a 350-degree oven, although chocolate can burn at 115, the radiant heat will slowly raise the temperature of your perfectly spooned out balls of delicious glory over time. Just because the oven is at 350 degrees, it doesn't mean that the cookie's internal temperature is that hot. When you take the cookies out, it should be at the exact right moment before the bottom turns into an unedible burnt tire, and the chocolate is scorched. Herein lies the art of the baker. It is with experience, patience, and timing that chocolate does not burn in the oven.
Milk chocolate is less forgiving than dark chocolate. And you are more likely to burn chocolate in a frying pan or the microwave then you are the oven, but it can happen. Best of luck in the kitchen this holiday season.