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I have a brownie recipe that calls for couverture chocolate to be used. Unfortunately it is getting difficult (and expensive) to obtain this chocolate.

Is there a way to get the same effect using other ingredients?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

You can use compound chocolate (the inexpensive "coating chocolate"). It's what you find used in a lot of cheap store-bought chocolate, and it has very similar melting and viscosity properties to couverture.

You can usually find it in most bulk food stores.

The important property of couverture is its high proportion of cocoa butter and correspondingly high fat content. Compound chocolate normally does not contain any cocoa butter, so it is nowhere near as rich as couverture, but it achieves roughly the same fat content with vegetable fat and will act similar to couverture when melted.

Technically, compound chocolate is not actually chocolate, so the result will be lower quality than if you had used couverture; but if you're pinching pennies, I think that's the way to go.

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Ok, thanks. I thought there was some special property of the couverture that allowed it to melt when combined with butter in a saucepan (the first step in my recipe). Would compound chocolate melt in the same fashion? –  bryn Jul 18 '10 at 1:46
    
@bryn: The "special" ingredient in couverture chocolate is the high amount of cocoa butter. That makes it more "liquid" when melted, and it's why couverture is usually used for coating. Compound chocolate doesn't have any cocoa butter, it uses vegetable fats (usually), but it's made for the same purpose and has very similar properties. It just doesn't have as good a flavour. –  Aaronut Jul 18 '10 at 2:18
    
Ah, okay thanks @Aaronut -- that's informative (could you edit your answer to include that extra information?) –  bryn Jul 19 '10 at 4:21
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Couverture chocolate is about 37% cocoa butter, 17% cocoa solids for a total of about 54% cocoa content. A common supermarket brand with the same cocoa content will have less cocoa butter, but for brownies that can be adjusted by varying other fats in the recipe.

I buy fine baking chocolate online and it works out to maybe 10% more than one of the common supermarket brands.

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