TIL there’s a better way to chop your baking chocolate

Bittersweet chocolate surrounded by cocoa powder
Photo: REDA&CO / Contributor (Getty Images)
Today I LearnedToday I LearnedToday I Learned is a feature where The Takeout writers share something they learned today.

I’m currently midway through an ambitious chocolate chip cookie experiment that involves lots and lots of chocolate chopping. I think a nice mixture of store-bought chocolate chips and hand-chopped chocolate produces the ideal cookie. Unfortunately, chopping baking chocolate is kind of a mess. Lucky for me, Real Simple just released some handy chopping tips, including this three-step process that I hadn’t considered.

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  • Step 1: Anchor that cutting board. Real Simple recommends anchoring your cutting board to the counter to keep the surface stable while you’re chopping a hard chocolate bar. You don’t need a fancy locking mechanism—just moisten a few paper towels or dishcloths and lay them underneath the cutting board in an even layer to hold it steady.
  • Step 2: Soften your chocolate. I’ve never tried this, but it makes sense. Real Simple recommends gently heating the chocolate bar in the microwave in 10-second intervals, turning the bar over after each interval. Don’t melt it—just heat it until it gets shiny around the edges. You’ll have an easier time chopping slightly softened chocolate, and you’ll also get fewer dusty shavings. (Although I do like to sprinkle those dusty shavings on top of a freshly-baked cookie, so that’s something to consider.)
  • Step 3: Chop with a serrated knife. I feel like a dork, because I’ve never considered this. Real Simple explains that a serrated blade will be able to “grab” a chocolate bar’s smooth surface, which makes it much easier to chop the chocolate without your knife sliding around and threatening your fingertips.

There you have it. Go forth, fellow chocolate choppers, and conquer sugar-laden worlds unknown. The perfect cookie awaits.

Staff writer @ The Takeout, joke writer elsewhere. Wrangling dogs and pork shoulder in Chicago.

DISCUSSION

priest-of-maiden
Priest of Maiden

2 & 3 should be obvious to everybody. And a properly sharpened non-serrated knife chef’s knife should slice into the chocolate easily. Too many people cook with dull or improperly sharpened knives. And if your cutting board isn’t stable, then it’s probably warped & should be replaced, because it’ll be unstable regardless of what you’re cutting.