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Kitchen Queries

Welcome to Kitchen Queries, where the nigella.com team will answer your cooking or food related questions.  We’d love you to submit some of your recipe problems, dilemmas or queries for us to get our teeth into!

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  • Chocolate Topping Turning White

    I often make Millionaire's Shortbread (aka Caramel Creams) - a shortbread base, caramel in the middle and melted chocolate on top. Sometimes, but not always, the chocolate becomes speckled with white spots. The ones I made this week became speckled within a day or two, so it isn't because they are old. The taste is fine - but they look dreadful! What on earth am I doing wrong? I would be grateful for your help. Many thanks, Marie.

    From the nigella team:

    Millionaire's Shortbread (from Domestic Goddess) has a topping made from melted chocolate that is then left to set before cutting into bars. Ideally the Millionaire's Shortbread should be left to set in a cool place rather than the fridge. We suspect that the white spots appearing on the chocolate of your bars is something known as "bloom.

    Bloom happens on chocolate when the chocolate goes through several uncontrolled changes of temperature. Chocolate is a fairly delicate mix of cocoa solids, cocoa butter and sugar (plus emulsifiers and sometimes other fats). When chocolate is made it is heated and cooled to very specific temperatures to keep the mixture shiny and emuslified. However if the temperature changes are large, and possibly frequent, then the cocoa butter can separate out from the chocolate. The butter then appears as a white film or white spots on the chocolate. We suspect your bars may be being cooled or kept in the fridge and this will increase the chances of bloom forming. If possible let the bars set and store them in a cool place but out of the fridge. Chocolate with bloom on is still fine to eat, it just doesn't look quite as nice.

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