I LOVE chocolate. I think most women do but I love to try chocolate from all over the world. Wherever I travel to, I can always define a place by the chocolate that is available. My favorite? Bittersweet dark chocolate!!! Mmmm. For those of you out there who want to learn about what chocolate really is and the different types of chocolate? You have come to the right place!
What is Chocolate?
About.com defines chocolate as – “the product of a long refining process that begins with the fruit (cacao beans) of the tropical tree Theobroma cacao. The beans are fermented, dried, roasted, and ground, and the resulting products include cocoa butter, a smooth, solid fat used in both food and cosmetics, and chocolate liquor, or ground roasted cocoa beans. The type of chocolate is determined by the various amounts of cocoa butter and chocolate liquor the chocolate contains, as well the amount of sugar and any other ingredients added to the mixture.”
Hmmm, so what does that mean? It means we can make many different types of chocolate to our liking.
Also known as “bitter” or “baking” chocolate. This is pure chocolate liquor, composed solely of ground cocoa beans with nothing added. Too bitter to eat but lends a great chocolate flavor to brownies and cakes. It is made from a blend of fine cocoa beans that are roasted, crushed and ground between large heated rollers. Unsweetened is the purest form of chocolate. It is satin smooth, rich in cocoa butter and best for baking.
This is made using the same method as unsweetened chocolate, but with just a pinch of sugar, cocoa butter and vanilla to give it a rich, sweet taste. This is the classic dark baking chocolate which can be purchased in most grocery stores. It is frequently used for cakes, cookies and brownies. Can be used instead of sweet dark chocolate. It has a good, sweet flavor. Contains often 40-62% cocoa solids.Semi-sweet is perfect for garnishes and fondues.
A dark sweetened chocolate which must contain at least 35% cocoa solids. Good quality bittersweet chocolate usually contains 60% to 85% cocoa solids depending on brand. If the content of cocoa solids is high the content of sugar is low, giving a rich, intense and more or less bitter chocolate flavor. Bittersweet chocolate is often used for baking/cooking. If a recipe specifies bittersweet chocolate do not substitute with semi-sweet or sweet chocolate. Please ensure that you buy the correct type! European types of bittersweet chocolate usually contains very large amounts of cocoa solids, and some of them have quite bitter taste. This chocolate also has a deeper, more bitter flavor than sweet dark or semi-sweet bars. However, the amount of sugar in the chocolate is not regulated, so one manufacturer’s “bittersweet” bar may taste sweeter than another’s “semi-sweet” bar.
Made from milk solids, cocoa butter and sugar, milk chocolate is most often eaten as a candy bar. The first milk chocolate bar was invented by Swiss candy-maker Daniel Peter in 1876 when he devised the process of adding condensed milk to chocolate. Milk chocolate must contain at least 10% chocolate liquor (in the United States), 3.39% butterfat, and 12% milk solids. Milk chocolates are typically much sweeter than dark chocolate, and have a lighter color and a less pronounced chocolate taste.
Sweetened chocolate with high content of cocoa solids and no or very little milk, it may contain up to 12% milk solids. Dark chocolate can either be sweet, semi-sweet, bittersweet or unsweetened. If a recipe specifies ‘dark chocolate’ you should first try semi-sweet dark chocolate. Many brands of sweet dark chocolate have only 20-40% cocoa solids.
In my opinion not even chocolate!!! It is made with cocoa butter, milk and sugar, but doesn’t contain cocoa solids. White chocolate gets its name from the cocoa butter it contains, but does not contain chocolate liquor or any other cocoa products. As a result, it has no pronounced chocolate taste, but commonly tastes like vanilla or other added flavorings. In some countries white chocolate cannot be called ‘chocolate’ because of the low content of cocoa solids. It has a mild and pleasant flavor and can be used to make Chocolate Mousse, Panna Cotta or as a decorative garnish.
All this writing up on different types of chocolates is leaving me craving some Scotchmallow from See’s candies. One of my favorite candies in the world! How can one ever get bored of See’s? Okay, I am off to soak myself in chocolate now.
Until next time! This is Gourmand Chic signing out of the Epicurious Life!