I've come across a number of recipes (the most recent of which was this) which suggest various combinations of adding hot melted chocolate to a mixture that contains eggs.

The problem that I have here is that if I let the chocolate mixture go cold, it hardens and can't be mixed, and if I don't, it cooks the eggs. I've tried stirring the mixture as the chocolate is added, which seems to be the most common suggestion, but it makes no difference. Can anyone offer any other methods of avoiding scrambled egg cake?

  1. The cocoa butter in your chocolate melts fully at 43 degrees Celsius (110 F). But it stays liquid until at least 30 degrees C (85 F).
  2. The most heat sensitive proteins in an egg white coagulate at around 65 degrees C (145 F), most proteins stay stable until 85 degrees C (185 F).

As you shouldn't overheat your chocolate anyway, you have a certain temperature range where the chocolate will stay liquid, yet the egg unaffected.

Note that the real problem and culinary art therefore is not the coagulating egg, but the effect of warm chocolate on any "foam" you might have produced in an earlier step: Too warm, and the bubbles might pop, too cool and the chocolate will harden as the cool other ingredients take up too much heat before it is fully incorporated.

Rule of thumb:
Melt the chocolate gently and let cool until barely warm to the touch. Stir quickly, yet gently, when incorporating the liquid chocolate into your batter.
(And read the recipe in case you need to deviate from this.)

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    Additionally, you can allow the eggs to warm to room temperature before cracking them. This will reduce the amount of chilling the eggs will do to the chocolate. I quite honestly store my eggs on the counter anyway. – Escoce Oct 27 '15 at 14:38

Don't let the chocolate mixture go cold, let it go cool enough that it won't cook the eggs. It can still be reasonably warm - above room temperature certainly - and still be nowhere near hot enough to cook eggs. I usually place the bowl in another, larger, bowl filled with cold water, and give it a stir to bring it down quicker.

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  • What kind of temperature am I looking for? 25 - 30 C? Presumably there is a given temperature that will start to cook eggs, and a slightly higher one that an average chocolate / butter combination will remain liquid ... ? – Paul Michaels Oct 27 '15 at 12:58
  • @stephie's answer gives you the answer to that. As you can see, the melting point of chocolate is well below the temperature necessary to start cooking an egg. – ElendilTheTall Oct 27 '15 at 13:18
  • If you are adding butter to your chocolate then you can reserve a bit when melting it all together. Once the chocolate melts you take it off the heat and add your remaining butter, which will help cool it down faster. – GdD Oct 27 '15 at 13:22

The tempering method is the easiest I've found when combining eggs and a hot liquid, and it doesn't require a thermometer! First of all always let your eggs come to room temp before using them. http://noshon.it/tips/why-to-use-room-temperature-eggs-when-baking-cakes/

That said, the technique I use when adding eggs to the warm liquid in my ice cream bases is to simply add a small amount of the hot liquid to the bowl of eggs (I prefer to beat mine first, though apparently this isn't necessary), and whisk constantly as the liquid is added, slowly bringing the temperature of the mixture up without cooking the eggs.

This way, you don't really need to wait for the liquid to cool all that much nor, as I said, do you need to keep a constant check on the temp of your melted chocolate.


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