Chocolate is a popular treat all around the world, yet the word “chocolate” can refer to a variety of things. This is evident with a stroll down the chocolate aisle of a supermarket. It’s difficult to decide with so many possibilities. The term “chocolate” can apply to a wide range of products, from sweet milk chocolate to very dark chocolate with 80 percent cocoa and everything in between.
So, what exactly are all of these different kinds of chocolate?
When it comes to different varieties of chocolate, two things matter – the quality and simplicity of its ingredients and the quantity of cacao in the chocolate. Quality is important, whether you’re eating chocolate straight from the wrapper or using it to make a show-stopping cake for a fancy dinner. Bad chocolate is just that: bad, and good chocolate is a delectable experience.
How do you know it’s good chocolate? You read the label. Cocoa or cacao is always the first ingredient stated on the label of good chocolate. Sugar is the second and, in some cases, the sole second ingredient. Cocoa butter and lecithin are added to chocolate with a lower cacao content to give it a beautiful, smooth texture. Look for additives like non-cocoa butter fats, vegetable oil, artificial sweeteners, and milk replacements to identify a “poor” bar of chocolate. These substances are used as low-cost fillers to reduce the price of the chocolate, but they also make it less palatable.
Varieties of Chocolate
This quick guide to chocolate types will help you decipher the many different chocolate names and select the best sort of chocolate for your recipe.
1. Cocoa Powder
This unsweetened powder is partially defatted chocolate liquor that has been pulverized. Cocoa powder comes in “Dutch-processed” (alkalized) or natural varieties and has a strong chocolate flavor.
Natural cocoa powder has a light brown color and a strong chocolate flavor. Because natural cocoa powder is slightly acidic, it’s preferable to use it in recipes that require you to add baking soda. The deeper-colored alkalized cocoa powder has a milder chocolate flavor, and is less acidic. For baking powder-based recipes, alkalized cocoa powder is recommended.
2. Unsweetened Chocolate
Chocolate is also referred to as “bitter” or “baked” chocolate. This chocolate liquor is made entirely of pulverized cocoa beans. Although it looks and smells like chocolate, it has a bitter taste and is best used in cooking where sugar can be added to make it more pleasant.
Unsweetened chocolate offers baked goods a deep, rich chocolate taste because cocoa beans have equal quantities of cocoa solids and cocoa butter. Except for white chocolate, all other types of chocolate start with unsweetened chocolate.
3. Dark Chocolate
Chocolate with chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, sugar, vanilla, and lecithin as ingredients (an emulsifier). Dark chocolate does not include any milk solids. Commercial dark chocolate bars can have cocoa content ranging from 30% (sweet dark) to 70% to 80% (very dark). Semi-sweet and chocolate are also included in the category of “dark chocolate.”
4. Bittersweet Chocolate
Chocolate that has at least 35% cocoa solids, as determined by the FDA. Most bittersweet bars contain at least 50% chocolate liquor, with some bars containing as much as 70% to 80%.
This chocolate has a stronger, bitterer flavor than sweet dark or semi-sweet chocolate bars. However, because the amount of sugar in chocolate is not controlled, a “bittersweet” bar from one manufacturer may taste sweeter than a “semi-sweet” one from another.
5. Semi-sweet Chocolate
Semi-sweet chocolate includes at least 35% cocoa solids and is darker than bittersweet chocolate but sweeter than sweet dark chocolate. However, due to a lack of sugar content restrictions, these classifications are subjective and inconsistent between brands.
6. Sweet Dark Chocolate
It’s “dark chocolate” in the sense that it’s free of milk solids, but it nevertheless has a high sugar content and is significantly sweeter than other dark chocolates. Many sweet dark chocolate varieties contain only 20 to 40% cocoa content.
7. Milk Chocolate
Milk chocolate contains either condensed milk (as in most European kinds) or dry milk solids in addition to cocoa butter and chocolate liquor.
In the United States, milk chocolate must contain at least 10% chocolate liquor, 3.39 percent butterfat, and 12 percent milk solids. Milk chocolates are often sweeter than dark chocolate, with a lighter color and a milder chocolate flavor. It’s more difficult to temper milk chocolate effectively, and it’s more prone to overheating.
8. White Chocolate
The cocoa butter in white chocolate gives it its name, but it includes no chocolate liquor or other cocoa compounds. As a result, it lacks a strong chocolate flavor and instead tastes like vanilla or other flavorings.
According to the legislation, white chocolate must include a minimum of 20% cocoa butter, 14% milk solids, and a maximum of 55% sugar. Certain “white chocolate” goods on the market use vegetable fats instead of cocoa butter; these should be avoided because they don’t include any cocoa products and aren’t really white chocolate.
9. Couverture Chocolate
This is the chocolate that professional bakers and confectioners generally use. It includes a high percentage of cocoa butter (at least 30%) as well as a high percentage of chocolate liquid. This high ratio makes the chocolate more expensive, but it also ensures that it is smooth and melts fast and evenly. The preferred chocolate for tempering and enrobing chocolates is Couverture. It’s available in dark, milk, and white kinds, and you can get it online or at a cake decorating store with a good selection.
10. Gianduja Chocolate
A European form of chocolate created from chocolate and nut paste is known as Gianduja. The most popular hazelnut paste is hazelnut paste. However, an almond paste can also be used to make Gianduja.
It’s available in milk or dark chocolate. Gianduja chocolate can be used as a flavor or a milk or dark chocolate alternative. It’s soft enough to roll or cut at room temperature but too soft to use for chocolate molding.
11. Candy Coating Chocolate
“Confectionery coating,” “summer coating,” and “compound coating” are all terms for the same thing. These phrases refer to confectionery goods that use vegetable or palm oils instead of cocoa butter and are flavored with dark, milk, or white chocolate. Because these items are less expensive than most chocolates and do not include considerable amounts of chocolate liquor, they lack a rich chocolate flavor and a pleasant feel. They have good melting and molding capabilities, and because they do not require tempering and can survive high ambient temperatures, they are frequently used in candy production for dipping or enrobing. Candy coating should never be mixed with genuine chocolate since the fats are incompatible, and the resulting candy will be unappealing and discolored.
12. Sweet German Chocolate
Sweet German chocolate is dark baking chocolate named after Samuel German, a guy who invented it. He made this chocolate intending to make it easier for bakers. Therefore he added sugar directly to it. As a result, it has a sweeter flavor than semi-sweet chocolate. German Chocolate Cake, a rich cake with three layers of chocolate cake, sweet, gooey frosting in the middle, and coconut and pecans on top, is made with this type of chocolate.
13. Ruby Chocolate
Ruby chocolate is the newest variation on the market, having been created in September 2017 in China. It’s created from ruby cocoa beans, native to Ecuador and Brazil, giving the chocolate its rose tint. Even though there are no berries in the recipe, it is supposed to taste like a blend of white chocolate and berries.
14. Caramelized White Chocolate
Caramelized white chocolate, also known as toasted white chocolate or blond chocolate, is white chocolate that has been roasted until it caramelizes. The result is a caramel-like flavor that is less sweet than classic white chocolate while still maintaining a creamy texture. (It’s not really a new “kind” of chocolate, but it’s too good to leave out.)
Blond chocolate can be purchased from gourmet manufacturers such as Valrhona, or it can be made at home by baking white chocolate in a low-heat oven and repeatedly stirring until it turns a deep golden brown color.
Caramelized white chocolate can be used in the same way as plain white chocolate. The caramelization helps to balance out the sweetness, and the toasted aromas go well with other chocolates (like dark).
See more of this here: What Chocolate Goes With Blueberries | What Chocolate Goes with Raspberries | What Chocolate Goes with Blackberries | What Chocolate Goes With Strawberries | What Chocolate Goes With Cherries
Types of Chocolates Based on Their Form
Let’s look at the many varieties of chocolates depending on their form now that you’ve selected which type of chocolate will best fit your taste buds:
1. Chocolate Bars
Melting down bars is a breeze. Chocolate chips can be made by breaking them down into bits. They can be used in a variety of ways.
2. Chocolate Chips
Chocolate chips are designed to keep their shape even when exposed to extreme heat. When you bake them in cookies at 350 degrees, you’ll notice that they all look the same.
Although these can be used to melt things, they aren’t the best option.
Keep in mind that they will melt quickly at roughly 80 degrees but will retain their shape. Their shape will be broken if you touch them with a spoon. They don’t melt evenly and frequently form streaks and lumps. Keep them in mind for your cookies!
3. Chocolate Wafers
Wafers are a great way to melt chocolate. They don’t keep their shape as chips do. When heated, they melt nicely and are set up firmly.
Which new chocolate are you planning to try next now that you know there’s so much more to chocolate than your favorite chocolates?