A return triumphant: Spritz and Piping Chocolate

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Sorry to have taken so long to get another post out here. It's been far too long. But to make a long story short, I moved and was without internet for a long time. Plus, with everything going on, I haven't done much baking. There is one thing that I would like to share with you though, and it was inspired by a really fancy and expensive cookie I came across at work a couple months ago.

Do you see those cookies in the bottom right corner, the ones that look like a spritz cookie with a weird dollop of icing? Well, they are really expensive, and I'm not that big a fan of the icing. So, I made my own version.

I took my favorite spritz cookie recipe, baked it into a swirl-ish pattern, and after it cooled I topped it with the really cool stuff called piping chocolate. I found a reference to it in a book on French chocolate techniques. Here is what you do.


Step 1:

Prepare a simple syrup by heating 2 parts sugar and 1 part water in a saucepan until the sugar is completely dissolved. Allow to cool completely to room temperature.
A few comments seem prudent here. First, the parts here refer to parts by volume, not by weight. Second, you really can dissolve that much sugar in that little water. Actually, you can dissolve a lot more sugar than that in even less water. All you need is a little heat. Third, a simple syrup will keep for a really long time if you store it, covered, in the refrigerator.

Step 2:

Melt some good quality chocolate in a double boiler until completely...um...melted.
You can actually use whatever chocolate you want, and there is nothing I can do to stop you. But in something like piping chocolate, where there are very few ingredients, the quality of each ingredient matters, so choose wisely.
Also, Just because you are using a double boiler doesn't mean that you can't still ruin your chocolate. Keep an eye on it and turn off the heat when there are still a few unmelted pieces of chocolate. There will be enough residual heat to melt it the rest of the way.


Step 3:

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Actually, let's hold off on step 3 for a second so I can prepare you for what comes next. If you have ever melted chocolate before you have probably been warned to never let any amount of water ever get near your chocolate or it will seize, or turn nasty and dry and crumbly, and that your only option at this point is to start over with fresh chocolate. I will not even attempt to convince that this will not happen.
I will, however, attempt to convince you that your seized chocolate is not completely ruined. Just trust me for a few minutes and forget almost everything you know about chocolate.

Step 3, take 2:

Pour a small amount of your room temperature simple syrup into your melted chocolate and stir.
Your chocolate will seize, but that is okay.
Continue adding small amounts of simple syrup to the seized chocolate, stirring pretty much constantly, until the consistency resembles, um, piping chocolate. Let me try that again.
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Actually, let me switch fonts and go into explaining mode.
That's better. Let me attempt to explain what is going on here. Chocolate is pretty much a mixture of cocoa solids, sugar, and other dry stuff suspended in cocoa butter, or fat. A small amount of water causes the not-fat part of chocolate to immediately try to hydrate, causing it to clump together in a not very appetizing way.
The reason why what we are doing works is because we are essentially creating a very thick chocolate syrup, meaning cocoa solids and cocoa butter suspended in a sugar solution. In fact, if you added enough simple syrup, you may be able to make chocolate sauce, but I haven't tried this out.
The goal is to establish a syrup that is thin enough to be pipe-able, but thick enough that it will hold it's shape until the chocolate hardens.


Step 4:

Transfer your piping chocolate into a pastry bag, fitted with a coupler and tip if that is your preference. Be careful, the chocolate will be hot.
Pipe a dollop of chocolate icing onto your cookies. If you want, you can use a wet fingertip to smooth the icing. Allow to harden.

Congratulations!

Not only have you learned how to make piping chocolate, but you have in the process learned something to do with seized chocolate.

By the way, to make the colored piping chocolate I used white chocolate and food coloring, but you could probably just as easily use some colored white chocolate, like Wilton's Candy Melts.

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