Is milk chocolate better than dark chocolate?

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Before we start discussing such important matters, I feel I need to put my cards on the table. From way back I’ve been a die-hard 70% cocoa-solids-or-nothing type of girl.

I once thought the only answer to the question of whether milk chocolate should even deserve to be called ‘chocolate’ was a resounding N.O.

I’m risking getting myself kicked out of the dark chocolate lovers club here… but I need to share my story.

A few years ago, I took a job which many would consider the ‘holy grail’ of employment.

Yes, I was a chocolate biscuit (cookie) designer for the best chocolate biscuits in Australia. Yes, it was my job to come up with new Tim Tams. And yes I got paid to eat chocolate.

One of my favourite parts of the job was visiting the factory where the chocolate was made. Not exactly Willy-Wonka, but easily the best smelling work place I’ve ever encountered.

The thing that surprised me the most was that when we were making milk chocolate, the smells were actually better than when we were making dark.

At first I just ignored my traitorous nose. But as I learned more about chocolate making, it started to make sense.

During the ‘chonching’ or chocolate making process the chocolate is mixed for long periods of time to give that lovely super smooth texture.

At the same time, the milk proteins in the milk powder used for milk chocolate are able to react with the sugars to produce lovely caramel flavours. These add another dimension to milk chocolate than just the cocoa flavours, the milky flavours and the simple sweetness.

It also makes it smell amazingly good.

So is milk chocolate better than dark?

Really, it depends what you’re in the mood for…

If it’s the smooth richness of a fine chocolate melting in your mouth, dark is where it’s at.

BUT!

If you’re looking for a lovely sweet dessert to end a meal. Sometimes a good caramelly, sweet milk chocolate will be heaven sent. Just make sure it’s real chocolate, not any of that cheap ‘Easter egg’ crap.

How do you tell if chocolate is real chocolate?

Check the ingredients list. It should have ‘cocoa butter, cocoa solids or cocoa mass’ listed. If it just says ‘vegetable oil’ then step away from the packet.

And a quick announcement before I get to the cake recipe…

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To start learning before they close again, go to:
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chocolate peanut butter cake

no-bake chocolate peanut butter cake
serves 8-10

This is a super rich cake. Serve small slices! If you’re a die-hard dark chocolate lover, please go ahead and use your favourite 70%+ cocoa solids. Or live dangerously and try your own blend of milk and dark.

200g (7oz) whipping cream
400g (14oz) good quality milk chocolate
200g (7oz) shortbread biscuits
150g (5oz) peanut butter

1. Bring cream to the boil in a small saucepan.

2. Bash or chop chocolate into small chunks and place in a bowl or jug. Add hot cream and stand for 5 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, line a loaf pan with baking paper, cling wrap or foil.

4. Stir cream and chocolate until smooth and well combined. Pour enough melted chocolate into the base of the cake to cover the bottom.

5. Place a layer of shortbread on top. Cover with peanut butter and scatter with flakes of sea salt, if you like the whole sweet and salty thing.

6. Add a final layer of shortbread. Drizzle remaining chocolate over the top.

7. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or longer if possible.

VARIATIONS
dairy-free – use dairy-free cookies instead of buttery shortbread. Replace cream with almond milk or rice milk or coconut milk. And replace milk chocolate with dark. I’d drizzle in a little honey on top of the peanut butter to give a little extra sweetness.

dark chocolate – be a purist and replace milk chocolate with 70% cocoa solids dark chocolate.

nut-free – just skip the peanut butter and make a layer of chocolate between the 2 layers of shortbread.

short on time? – chop the shortbread into chunks to make them easier to eat. Freeze until the chocolate is set.

white chocolate – don’t be tempted. There won’t be enough cocoa solids to get the cake ‘set’.

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video version of the recipe

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To secure your place in the ‘Master Your Meal Plan’ class AND our April class ‘The Weekend Cook – How to Prepare for the Busy Week Ahead‘ go to:
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Happy Easter!

Cheers
Jules x

PS. Wondering if classes at the Stonesoup Virtual Cookery School can help YOU?

Here’s what current students are saying about the classes…

Elizabeth, SVCS Student.
The template recipes are a new flexible approach to cooking with what you have/what you want. They have sparked creativity and better nutrition, not to mention less waste. Each lesson has had a positive impact on our cooking and eating habits.

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Yes, I would definitely recommend ‘Master Your Meal Plan’. Obviously, the content was great, but the videos that let us watch you prepare a dish really made the point that cooking really is a skill that doesn’t have to take hours and hours of time. The course simplified shopping and planning for me.

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