Cooking With Chocolate

There’s nothing better than a chocolate chip cookie. Or a cookie dipped in chocolate. Or baking with chocolate. Okay, basically: chocolate is the best and belongs in everything. (We even wrote a blog about it!)

But do different chocolates melt differently? How do you stop the chocolate from melting so quickly? We’ve got the answers here.

Different Types of Chocolate

As you know, there’s dark, milk, and white chocolate. So, what’s the difference, aside from taste? Not much, but things you should know:

White chocolate has the least amount of cocoa, and more sugar and milk. Basically, it’s the least healthy of chocolates.

Milk chocolate is middle of the road. There’s more cocoa butter and solids, but it’s still not the healthiest for you, because it contains so much milk (as evidenced by the name) and sugar. These mixed together make the creamy chocolate we know and love.

Finally, dark chocolate: the healthiest of all, with many studies based on its benefits. Dark chocolate contains the most cocoa, ranging from 7-%-100%–the darker you go, the healthier it is. 

Also, the melting temperature lowers as you get lighter with your chocolate. So, white chocolate melts faster than dark chocolate. Make sure you monitor and properly heat your chocolate so it doesn’t burn. A rule of thumb: chocolate should never reach more than 130 degrees Fahrenheit.

Tempering Chocolate

Tempering chocolate is crucial when dipping into it. If you don’t temper your chocolate, you run the risk of bumpy, melt-y consistency. 

To temper chocolate, find yourself a double boiler (shop local, with Amazon as your last resort). Heat water up to 115 degrees Fahrenheit—you don’t want it to boil. Then, place chocolate in the top pan. Stir until it’s melted thoroughly. Dip away!

Chocolate Bars Vs. Chocolate Chips

If you’re gonna bake with chocolate, it may be tempting to just use chocolate chips. But chocolate chips usually have more fatty, waxy ingredients in it, and you won’t get the rich taste of chocolate. Chocolate bars, on the other hand, are purer and will have a more concentrated amount of chocolate taste to it, thanks to its cocoa content and lack of other fats aside from cocoa butter.

Overall, cooking with chocolate is delicious when done right. What’s your favorite kind of chocolate? Let us know at @pacificcookiecompanysantacruz!

Exercising in The Kitchen

If you’re a chef/baker like us, you’re constantly making and tasting. And the quarantine-15? Super real.

When I’m in the kitchen, I’m constantly wondering: okay, how can I balance out all of these calories? (It’s impossible to eat only one forkful of cake, okay? I don’t make the rules!) Enter: kitchen workouts! Yep, you heard me—exercises specifically designed to work out while in the kitchen. Here are my personal favorites.

1. Counter Pushups

The most obvious workout: the counter pushups. No, you don’t have to get on the floor—just place your hands shoulder-width apart, then lower and lift. This is perfect when you’re waiting for the oven to heat up or water to boil.

2. Pan-Weighted Lunges

Lunges target the quads, glutes, and hamstrings, and they’re even more effective with weights. Don’t have any dumbbells sitting around? Pull out a pan—cast iron is best for the most effective exercise—and use that instead, switching hands as you switch sides.

3. Dishwasher Squats

As you rinse off your measuring cups, bowls, and spatulas, don’t bend over to put them in the dishwasher. Instead, open up your hamstrings and build that muscle by squatting each time you put the silverware away.

4. Warrior Pose Watching

Got something in the oven? Cycle through Warrior poses. You’ll feel strong and flexible as you watch your cookies come to life. There are three different poses, one of which requires plenty of balance, so you won’t be bored.

5. Calf Raise Reaches

Putting dishes away or searching for the right mold? Any time you have to slightly reach up, push to your tippy-toes and get a raise in there. Those cups and plates will get your calves in shape.

There are many ways to burn some calories while you’re cooking up sweets. Get creative and you’ll be working off those cookies in no time!

How to Decorate Cookies

There’s nothing better than cookies fresh out of the oven. The fun part: decorating! There are plenty of ways to do this—icing, fondant, sprinkles—and many techniques, too. So, if you’re looking to jazz up your cookies, consider the below!

1. Icing

Use a piping bag when you’re decorating. It’s easier to evenly decorate, because you can control how much and how fast icing comes out. If you want to have even more support, consider a coupler. It’s a plastic tool that secures the tip onto the bag. Spilling, be gone.

If there are air bubbles in your icing, gently use a toothpick to pop them. That way, your cookies will have the perfect finish. And use gel food coloring rather than liquid—they won’t change the texture of the icing.

2. Cinnamon, Sugar, and Sprinkles

For cookies with toppings like cinnamon and sugar, like snickerdoodles, roll frozen dough into balls—the butter needs to solidify for this—and then cover in cinnamon and sugar. Bake them for the usual amount of time, then let them cool fully before diving in.

For sprinkles, fold them into the dough prior to baking. If you only want them on top, gently press them in with your fingers. This way, they’ll stick properly.

3. Chocolate-Dipped Cookies

Chocolate-dipped cookies are easy. But first, you have to know a little bit about how to mix it. Basically: warm up half of your chocolate, then mix in the rest until it’s totally melted. The heat will melt the excess, and it’ll set more evenly. After you dip your cookies, place them on parchment paper to cool until the chocolate has hardened. Then dig in! There are many more ways to decorate your cookies, but here is a start! Not looking to start from scratch? Consider stopping by Pacific Cookie Company. We’ll have the perfect cookies to dip into that delicious chocolate.

National Cookie Day

Celebrating National Cookie Day: 5 Utensils for Your Best Cookies

Today is National Cookie Day—an appropriate holiday to start the gift-giving season!

Here at Pacific Cookie Company, we’re preparing our ovens for overtime. Though 2020 has been strange, to say the least, one thing remains true: cookies are one of the best sweets for the holidays!

Wondering what you need to start? Below, you’ll find some important utensils you’ll need to create your best cookies yet. Have a baker in your life? These gifts just might nudge them to make an extra batch… but we didn’t say that.

1. Cookie Scoops

Wanting that perfect bite? A cookie scoop will help you out! Differently-sized dough balls may bake irregularly, giving you an uneven batch. With cookie scoops, you’re guaranteeing a satisfying outside crunch and gooey middle in ALL of your cookies.

2. Food Scale

As Sally’s Baking Addiction puts it: “an ounce is always an ounce. A cup is NOT always a cup.” For the most precise measurements, put your ingredients on the scale; nothing will be as accurate. Plus, you can reuse your utensils—no need for three different measuring spoons when you can use the same bowl to measure your ingredients.

3. Cookie Cutters

We’ve all seen those #CookieFails: people make dough into custom shapes… only for the dough to expand and turn into an unrecognizable shape. (Still delicious, but not a snowman like they’d hoped!) Invest in cookie cutters if you’re wanting to branch out from circles, rather than free-handing it—the sharp edges will keep your dough in shape from pre- to post-bake.

4. Spatula

Sounds obvious to have in the kitchen, but when do you use spatulas for cookies? Well, there are lots of times. After mixing ingredients, use a spatula to get every bit of dough out from the bowl. It’s also necessary for folding in ingredients, like chocolate chips and sprinkles. And, most importantly: tasting the excess dough!

5. Cooling Racks

We won’t blame you if you snag a few cookies right off the sheet. But cookies need adequate cooling to avoid melting in the bottom, creating a still-delicious-but-sopping-mess cookie. These will raise them up and allow for good air circulation—bringing them to the perfect consistency.

We hope you have a good time baking on National Cookie Day. And, hey, if you’re not just feeling it, you’re welcome to stop by our store or order online! We’re here for you this holiday season.