All About Chocolate

The best part of baking has to be the chocolate! Apart from licking the bowl and spoon clean and drooling over the consistency and sweet smell, there may be some terminology you're unsure about. Knowing the difference between types of chocolate can make a significant impact on your result so let's go. 

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Unsweetened chocolate 

This chocolate is the easiest because it is pure chocolate without any added sugar, cocoa butter or milk products. This means that the chocolate is very bitter and isn't something you'd want to nibble on. It's usually used in recipes that use added sugar and other dairy products to enhance its sweetness. 

Dark and bittersweet chocolate 

Bittersweet chocolate contains at least 35% of pure chocolate and has a small amount of sugar added. Usually, it has a cacao percentage of more than 60%; this is typically listed on the bars of the chocolate. Dark chocolate is just a term that can mean anything from semisweet to bittersweet chocolate. Can be somewhat confusing, right? 

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Semisweet chocolate

Semisweet chocolate is the piggy in the middle. This is because it is half sweet milk chocolate and a bitter dark chocolate. It contains at least 35% of pure chocolate with both sugar and cocoa butter added. This is a go-to for a lot of recipes and is usually the form of chocolate in chocolate chips. 

Milk chocolate 

Milk chocolate is the sweetest chocolate and is always on the shelves of supermarkets when it comes to Cadbury's and other well-known brands like Gookie Dough and our gorgeous chocolate chunks! It contains cocoa butter and sugar but also milk solids. Typically there is 10% chocolate liquor (sounds fancy) and at least 12% of milk products. 

White chocolate 

(Image credit: The Happy Foodie) 

White chocolate is the liar of the lot. It's technically not classed as a chocolate product because it doesn't include chocolate liquor and is a combination of cocoa butter, sugar, milk and flavouring such as vanilla. Products on the supermarket shelves can catch you out when it comes to white chocolate because if the ingredient label doesn't contain cocoa butter, then it isn't white chocolate and just a flavoured baking product. 

So, now you have more of an idea of how your favourite tasty treat is made up of and how true to cocoa it really is! If you need to melt chocolate of any form, it's important to do it on a low and slow level, so the chocolate doesn't harden (I'm talking to you white chocolate in particular!). The best method is in the microwave on 50% power in 30-second stages and stirring each time! Happy indulging! 

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