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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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Please note, we are only able to answer questions selected for publication and aren't able to enter into personal correspondence.

Latest Queries

  • Sweet and Salty Bars

    Hi, I have recently made the Sweet and Salty Bars in Nigella's Kitchen book and although they taste amazing, the texture is lacking - a little oily and sticky. I was wondering if this may be a result of the step of combining the butter and chocolate with the golden syrup? In the Kitchen DVD, Nigella's chocolate mixture is smooth whereas mine is separated. Please help as I'd love to make these again! Thank you in advance, Tonia.  

    When I make the Sweet and Salty Crunch Nut Bars from the Kitchen book, the melted chocolate always goes thick and matt and granular and comes together like dough. I am using a very low heat, and Waitrose own brand good quality milk chocolate together with the butter and syrup The picture in the book looks lovely and glossy! Why is this? Mine does taste good but it doesn't look like the picture. I'm sure this isn't meant to happen. Any advice? Jo.

    From the nigella team:

    We suspect, from your description of the chocolate mixture and the bars themselves, that the chocolate, butter and golden syrup (or corn syrup) mixture became a little too hot. At higher temperatures the chocolate will "split" or "sieze" - the fat molecules will separate out, and the solids in the chocolate become stiff and grainy. This will cause the bars to become greasyand have an unpleasant texture. Bear in mind that chocolate melts at around body temperature and the splitting will tend to occur at around 49c/120F for plain chocolate and at a slightly lower temperature for milk chocolate.

    If you are making the bars again then make sure that you keep the heat under the saucepan at a very low temperature and stir regularly. If you are still nervous then you can put the chocolate, syrup and butter into a heatproof bowl and set this over a pan of hot water. Make sure that the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water and the water doesn't need to be boiling furiously. Again, stir regularly until the mixture is smooth.

    Also make sure that water or steam doesn't get into the mixture as it melts, as this can also cause the chocolate to "seize".

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