I personally find every flavor of chocolate simply delicious, but if I were to pick a favorite chocolate bar it would have to be dark chocolate. I can satisfy my craving in smaller quantities which enables me to maintain my healthy living goals.
Since my favorite desserts usually involve chocolate I thought I would check out the flavor differences and how it is created. Here are a few facts for you to enjoy!
Discover the Differences and Elements of Chocolate
Chocolate is derived from roasted cacao beans, which have been crushed and ground. The heat that is generated from this process liquefies the cocoa butter. The resulting liquid is called “chocolate liquor.” The liquor is poured into molds and allowed to solidify; the resulting bars are what is called unsweetened chocolate.
- Chocolate Liquor = the ground or melted state of the nib of the cacao bean, containing roughly equal parts cocoa butter and solids
- Cocoa Butter = the fatty part of the bean
- Cocoa Solids = the remaining nonfat part of the cacao bean, which is ground into a powder
To make chocolate for eating or for baking, sugar, vanilla, and lecithin are added to the liquor, along with more cocoa butter. Different forms and flavors of chocolate are produced by varying the quantities of the different ingredients:
Also known as “bitter”, “baking chocolate” or “cooking chocolate” is pure chocolate liquor mixed with some form of fat to produce a solid substance.
Also called “black chocolate”, is produced by adding fat and sugar to cocoa. It is chocolate with no milk or much less than milk chocolate. The U.S. has no official definition for dark chocolate but European rules specify a minimum of 35% cocoa solids.
Frequently used for cooking purposes. It is a dark chocolate with (by definition in Swiss usage) half as much sugar as cocoa, beyond which it is “sweet chocolate.”
Is chocolate liquor (or unsweetened chocolate) to which some sugar (less than a third), more cocoa butter, vanilla and sometimes lecithin has been added. It has less sugar and more liquor than semisweet chocolate, but the two are interchangeable when baking. The higher the percentage of cocoa, the less sweet the chocolate is.
Solid chocolate made with milk in the form of milk powder, liquid milk, or condensed milk added.
Confection based on sugar, milk, and cocoa butter without the cocoa solids.
Used for baking, and for drinking with added milk and sugar. There are two types of unsweetened cocoa powder: natural cocoa and Dutch-process cocoa. Both are made by pulverizing partially defatted chocolate liquor and removing nearly all the cocoa butter.
- Dutch-process cocoa is additionally processed with alkali to neutralize its natural acidity.
- Natural cocoa is light in color and somewhat acidic with a strong chocolate flavor.
- Natural cocoa is commonly used in recipes that also use baking soda; as baking soda is an alkali, combining it with natural cocoa creates a leavening action that allows the batter to rise during baking.
- Dutch cocoa is slightly milder in taste, with a deeper and warmer colour than natural cocoa.
- Dutch-process cocoa is frequently used for chocolate drinks such as hot chocolate due to its ease in blending with liquids.
When it comes to Baking:
Bittersweet chocolate contains sugar, but generally not as much as semisweet chocolate, although, by government standards, they could contain practically identical amounts of chocolate liquor and sugar and still retain their bittersweet and semisweet labels. What this means is that one brand’s bittersweet chocolate could be close in sweetness to another brand’s semisweet chocolate, and vice versa.
Because of this, bittersweet and semisweet chocolate could be used interchangeably in most recipes; unsweetened, obviously, could not because it contains no sugar. But if your recipe calls for bittersweet chocolate and you have semisweet on hand, taste it first to determine if you could substitute.
Delicious Chocolate Recipes: