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Hi Bold Bakers!
Information about the Types of Chocolate is not something we think we need, right? But as Bold Bakers, you need to know a few things. Not all chocolate is created equal! So, how do you know what to use and when to use it?
I have the answers! Let’s take a deep dive on the Ultimate Guide to the Different Types of Chocolate and clear up any questions you might have about which chocolate is which and what you should be using in your baking.
The Different Types of Chocolate
When it comes to baking with the different types of chocolate, you need to pay attention to what types of chocolate the recipe is calling for. Is it bittersweet? Or semi-sweet? Each chocolate is graded by its cocoa solid percentage. Knowing what the cocoa solid percentages actually mean will tell you exactly what type of chocolate you are dealing with.
These are fun facts about chocolate that every Bold Baker should know:
Milk Chocolate (38 – 42 % cocoa solids)
Milk chocolate is most commonly known as “eating chocolate.” With more sugar added than other types of chocolate, it tends to be on the sweeter side — and less chocolatey. Milk chocolate usually ranges between 38% and 42% cocoa but can have as little as 10% cocoa solids. If you don’t like your chocolate bitter then this chocolate is for you. This chocolate works great in my S’more Fudge recipe.
Semisweet (52 – 62 % cocoa solids)
Semisweet chocolate is entry level for those who are new to the darker, more pronounced chocolate flavor. Most commonly found in chip form, they are a standard ingredient in most kitchens. With its sweet flavor and creamy consistency, it is a dream to work with. It melts easily, combines well with other flavors, and is fantastic for dipping. I use this chocolate in my S’more Cheesecake and Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie
Bittersweet Chocolate (63 – 72 % cocoa solids)
This is my go-to chocolate. Darker and more pronounced in flavor than a semisweet, bittersweet is many chefs’ favorite. However, their higher cocoa solid percentage can make them trickier to work with. With a cocoa solid percentage ranging from 63 – 72%, I find that Bittersweet Chocolate has the perfect balance of bitter and sweet — which makes sense because just look at the name! I think this chocolate works best in my recipes for Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies and German Chocolate Cake
Unsweetened Chocolate (100% cocoa solids)
Unsweetened chocolate, as the name implies, is 100% cocoa solids with no sugar added. One taste will tell you that it is not meant to be eaten alone, believe me! I like to use a small amount of it in combination with semi- or bittersweet to add a depth of flavor. If you make the mistake of buying a 100% cocoa solids bar without realizing and need to use it up, throw a little into your baking. I usually do maybe 80% bittersweet and 20% unsweetened chocolate.
Chocolate Chips have additives and stabilizers to keep the chocolate from losing its shape. While this is great for cookies and toppings it’s not the best for making things like chocolate ganache or chocolate sauce. If a recipe ever calls for large amounts of chocolate to be melted, I always use a bar of chocolate. Use it in my Chocolate Brownie Cookies and my Triple Grands.
Since it does not contain cocoa solids, white chocolate is technically not chocolate. White chocolate is made with cocoa butter, sugar, milk solids or powder, and vanilla. It is much lighter in color than milk or dark chocolate because it contains no cocoa solids. The important thing here is that it is made with real cocoa butter, not some other imitation fat, which tastes nothing like chocolate. I love the add it to my Pumpkin and White Chocolate Lava cake and Chocolate Profiteroles.
Cocoa powder is a mixture of the many substances remaining after cocoa butter is extracted from cacao beans. It’s a pantry staple for any Bold Baker!
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
Unsweetened cocoa powder is pure chocolate with most of the cocoa butter removed. It has an intense chocolate taste and it is what I like to bake with on a day to day bases. I choose unsweetened so I don’t have to alter the sugar in my recipe. Try this in my Hot Chocolate Mix Recipe and Homemade Nutella.
Dutch process cocoa powder is chocolate that has been treated with an alkalizing agent to modify its color and give it a milder taste compared to “natural cocoa.” Cocoa powders labeled “Dutch-Process” or “European-Style” have been treated to neutralize the naturally occurring acids, giving them a mellower flavor and redder color. Since Dutch process cocoa isn’t acidic, it doesn’t react with alkaline leavener like baking soda to produce carbon dioxide. That’s why recipes that use Dutch process cocoa are usually leavened by baking powder. I love the color and flavor it adds to my Baileys Chocolate Pudding.
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