My mantra when it comes to chocolate is: It’s all good. Another mantra: It isn’t very clear. It isn’t very clear. I have been writing about chocolate for almost a decade. However, I still struggle to understand the key attributes of each type. Is it possible for dark chocolate bars to contain milk? To make cookies, should I choose semisweet or bittersweet chocolate? The real question is: Is it white chocolate?
Different types of chocolate
For the many times I was a child, and I ate unsweetened baking chocolate as my mom made a cake. It wasn’t very pleasant and smelled great. However, these days are over because there are many delicious options for unsweetened cocoa, whether you are baking with it or simply enjoying it with tea.
All chocolate is made from scratch. First, remove the pods from the cocoa tree. You’ll find 50-100 beans inside the cocoa fruit if you cut them open. The beans are then dried in the sun by farmers. The chocolate factory roasts the beans and then breaks them into pieces (called cacao nibs). Finally, winnowing removes the husk from each bean. The beans are then ground into a paste, which, once cooled, becomes a block of chocolate. Unsweetened chocolate should not contain any added sugar and shouldn’t contain any other ingredients. It should contain about half of the 100% cocoa butter (natural fat from the cocoa bean), and the rest is just under 50%.
Semisweet and bittersweet are often found on bags of chocolate chips. However, the meanings can be a bit confusing. The FDA says semisweet and bittersweet can be interchangeable. They both fall under the same category, “sweet chocolate”. Semisweet and bittersweet must have at least 35 per cent cocoa. The percentage of ingredients does not have to be related to quality. A 35 per cent chocolate is 35 per cent cocoa bean, while 65 per cent are other ingredients like sugar, milk powder, or soy lecithin. What about milk powder? Yes, powdered milk is used to make chocolate. Liquids won’t mix well with chocolate.
Dark chocolate is something I spend my entire day thinking about, tasting and discussing. Surprisingly, there’s no legal definition. Technically, dark chocolate is a bar of bittersweet or semisweet chocolate. Therefore, it’s also called “sweet chocolate.” However, even though we tend to think of milk and dark chocolate as being opposites, there’s no reason why dark chocolate shouldn’t contain dairy. It does, often. There is no legal definition of “sweet chocolate, ” so dark chocolate has no specific percentage. However, it must be above the 35% required to make semisweet or bittersweet. Anything above 55% will be labelled as dark. A lot of dark chocolate is now being made from single-origin chocolate. Single-origin is when all the beans are from the same place. This allows you to taste the terroir, and different chocolates may have different notes.
The ingredients for milk chocolate are sugar, cocoa nibs and milk powder. It must contain at least 15% cocoa to be legal milk chocolate. There are also plant-based options made with almond, coconut, or oat milk.
White chocolate is something that everyone has an opinion on, regardless of whether you like it or not. Some people even say it isn’t real chocolate. It is, however, real chocolate if it meets certain requirements. The main ingredient in white chocolate should be cocoa butter. This is the natural fat found in cocoa beans. It should not contain any other fats, such as palm oil, so white chocolate has a bad reputation. The United States law requires that white chocolate contain at least 20% cocoa butter and no other vegetable fat. There are also restrictions on how much milk, fat, and sugar-white chocolate can contain. The bottom line is that real chocolate must be made from cocoa butter. You should hate the game and not the player.