There are countless occasions where someone gave you a chocolate bar: ranging from store-bought favorites to fancy expensive ones, and there comes a time you can’t keep track of them. You think after months of it being unopened that you can still enjoy the chocolate bar. However, when taking a bite, you notice that it is dry and crumbly.
Chocolate is dry and crumbly because it is past its best-consume-by date and it has lost all of the moisture. The second reason can be seizing. Even though the taste has changed, it is safe to eat raw. However, it is better for cooking and baking.
I will be sharing with you a more in-depth reason why this happens to chocolate bars, how to prevent them, and how to salvage any old chocolate bars left.
What Makes Your Chocolate Go Dry?
Chocolates are a mixture of fat from cocoa butter, sugar, and cocoa powder. It has little to no moisture at all, which can be the reason why chocolates can last very long. However, the kind of chocolate and its quality are huge factors in how long it will last.
One indicator that your chocolate is stale is that your chocolate is dry and crumbly. Through time and maybe how you stored the chocolates, the chocolate’s moisture evaporates, making it crack and very dry. While it is still safe to consume, it will taste stale and not very tasty to eat.
Dry and crumbling chocolate bars may also be the cause of seizing. Seizing is when melted chocolate comes in contact with moisture, causing the dry ingredients of cocoa powder and sugar to combine.
In addition, the overall chocolate’s quality will be affected if left open and uneaten for a long time. There may be the presence of white spots, discoloration, or even mold. You can quickly notice it as well if the taste and smell aren’t that of chocolate.
It is good to know that store-bought chocolate has many artificial preservatives that make it go bad faster, while high-quality, expensive chocolate has natural preservatives that prolong its shelf-life.
The presence of sugars, fruits, nuts, and other ingredients can become rancid and spoil the chocolate. This characteristic is common in white chocolate and milk chocolate which has many added flavors.
Dark chocolate has minimal sugars and flavorings, which can cause it to have a longer shelf-life.
What to Do with Dry and Crumbly Chocolate?
You can still eat the stale chocolate bars. While it usually seems too dry to eat, it can still be melted and added to various foods. Make sure that it is not rancid because of the other components in the bar of chocolate.
When you are using baking chocolate, melt the chocolate bar using a double boiler or a microwave. If it is still too dry, the best way to fix it is by adding liquid so that it will be able to dissolve the cocoa and sugar. Add one tablespoon of boiling water to the chocolate and stir until the mixture is smooth. Keep on adding one tablespoon of water at a time if it is still not fully melted.
Another liquid you can add is milk. Just add it in the same amount as water.
You can also use more fat instead of water or milk. Some alternatives are vegetable oil, clarified butter, or even cocoa butter. Just like with water, add it in small amounts, one tablespoon at a time, constantly stirring until you get the desired consistency.
The chocolate can be melted and added to cakes, brownies, and other baked goods. It can also be used as chocolate dippings and for your homemade hot chocolate. You can even experiment by melting all your stale chocolate to make a new bar of chocolate.
The taste of the chocolate will become diluted if you add more water, hence the suggestion to use it in chocolate dippings. The chocolate bar is already stale, so don’t expect the same good-tasting chocolate product in the end, though.
Which Brand of Chocolate Is of the Highest Quality?
Chocolates from Max Brenner, Li-Lac Chocolates, Chuao Chocolatier, Xocolatti, and K+M Extravirgin Chocolate are considered chocolates of the best quality in the United States.
Chocolate quality is being judged based on its physical appearance: it should be shiny, break cleanly, and the texture must be smooth. It should melt in your tongue quite easily, does not taste like cocoa powder, and should not be oily or greasy. When breaking apart the chocolate, the sound made should be crisp and sharp.
With hundreds of chocolatiers around the world and thousands of brands having both plain chocolate flavors, crowd-favorite pairs, as well as exciting flavor combinations, it is difficult to determine which ones are the best.
Dark chocolate, the one advertised as 75% pure cacao, is the most expensive chocolate in the world. The cacao pod is very expensive and hard to source; only well-known and reputable chocolatiers are the ones who can buy this. It is of the highest quality, meeting the various quality checks mentioned above, and is known for winning many awards.