There are many recipes that call for chopped chocolate, from fudgy brownies that need melted chocolate for the batter to chocolate chunk cookies that should be loaded with generously sized pieces. Chopping your own chocolate for baking recipes allows you to have complete control over the chocolate, so you can give yourself very finely-chopped chocolate for a quick and even melt or coarsely-chopped chocolate for chunkier applications. Chocolate is not always that easy to chop, especially because many of the larger bars are not only longer, but are much thicker than your average candy bar. One option is to substitute pre-formed chocolate chips for everything, but a better option is just to practice your chopping a bit!
Setup: Position your chocolate on a very stable cutting board. You don’t want the board sliding around while you’re chopping. If you’re going to chop a lot of chocolate, have a bowl handy to transfer the chocolate to. Keeping your workspace clear will help ensure that you get the cuts you want without your knife or your chocolate sliding around.
Chocolate: Chocolate is easiest to cut from the narrower edges (i.e. the corners), so be prepared to cut on an angle and rotate the chocolate as needed. Thicker bars or blocks of chocolate might require more arm strength than thin bars.
Knives: Choose a long bladed knife. It will give you the most room to chop and provide plenty of protection for your fingers. Never reach for a paring knife for a job like this. A chef’s knife is versatile enough to be used for all kinds of chopping, both coarse and fine. Place one hand on the back of the blade and one hand on the handle and push straight down. Chocolate requires quite a bit of force, particularly if it is thick. Move the knife around to adjust the size of your pieces. A serrated knife is excellent if you want to shave your chocolate or chop it finely, since the teeth of the knife will give you a lot of control over very small areas of chocolate. I prefer a chef knife over serrated for larger chunks.
Practice a few times – you can always use the chocolate for cookies or hot chocolate! – and you’ll be a chocolate-chopping pro in no time, with the confidence to buy big blocks of chocolate and trim them down to fit your needs!