Chocolate questions

Chocolate is the first food item to come to mind when we look for something rewarding and deeply sati

It is also easy to be creative. Cooking with chocolate will let you try some adventurous innovations. Use chocolate not only in sweet dishes, but savory as well.

The debate about chocolate is on.

Baking chocolate versus chocolate: What is the difference?

Whether you’re a long-time baker or someone who is new to baking, you’ve probably noticed that many recipes call for baking chocolate, as opposed to just chocolate. If you’re curious like I am you’ve probably wondered what the difference is, or maybe you’ve even tasted baking chocolate, thinking it was going to taste like you’re favorite candy bar. If so, it’s obvious baking chocolate is a lot different than the chocolate on your candy bar.

What is baking chocolate?

Creating chocolate is a long and involved process. First, cocoa beans have to be harvested and fermented. The beans are slowly ground causing the cocoa butter to melt while the chocolate solids are broken down. This creates a thick mass known as chocolate liquor which can be blended with other ingredients to make a wide assortment of chocolate products. Chocolate liquor left as is, is what’s known as baking chocolate, a very pure form of chocolate.

Why is baking chocolate bitter?

As mentioned above, the form of chocolate we know and love is sweetened with other ingredients such as sugar, cocoa butter, milk and so on. Chocolate in its purest form is not sweet, which is what baking chocolate is. Bakers prefer to use unsweetened chocolate because it allows them to control the degree of sweetness in various recipes. Semi-sweet chocolate is another form of baking chocolate that is sweetened somewhat, but still not as sweet as regular chocolate found on candy bars.

How to find good baking chocolate

Many chocolatiers make gourmet chocolate, both for baking and for consumption. The best way to find a good baking chocolate is to do a taste test of their regular chocolate products. If you decide you like the way their products taste, then most likely you will also like the flavor of their baking chocolate. On the other hand, if you find their chocolate tastes off or not right, you will probably want to pass on their baking chocolate as well.

Many recipes call specifically for unsweetened baking chocolate. If semi-sweet or sweetened chocolate is used instead, you may find the recipe is fundamentally altered. So, choose your baking chocolate wisely, and when called for in a recipe, be sure to use unsweetened baker’s chocolate only and don’t substitute it with anything else.

Is white chocolate really chocolate?

While strolling through the grocery store aisles, you’ve probably seen white chocolate sitting on the shelf next to the chocolate, whether its baker’s chocolate or the sweetened kind you find in many confections. So, what exactly is white chocolate and is it really chocolate?

How white chocolate is made

White chocolate contains cocoa butter, which comes from the cocoa bean which chocolate is made from. The cocoa butter is combined with milk, sugar and other ingredients such as vanilla to give it its smooth, creamy flavor. The cocoa butter does have a hint of chocolate flavor, but in order to be considered chocolate by the Food and Drug Administration, the product must contain cocoa solids from the chocolate liquor (thick liquid that comes from fermented, dry roasted, shelled and ground cocoa beans). Chocolate liquor is the key ingredient in all chocolate, with the exception of white chocolate.

Cocoa butter is produced by pressing the fat from the chocolate liquor. Chocolate is created by reuniting the cocoa solids (cocoa powder) with the cocoa butter. White chocolate, on the other hand, is made simply by using cocoa butter and adding sweeteners and other flavors, so due to the lack of cocoa solids (chocolate liquor) white chocolate technically isn’t chocolate.

Why is white chocolate so addicting?

One of the reasons a lot of people find white chocolate so addicting is due to its creamy, smooth texture and the way it melts in your mouth. Not to mention the fact that it does contain sugar. And while it lacks addicting substances such as caffeine and theobromine, many people claim an addiction to white chocolate.

Not All White Chocolate is Created Equal

When shopping for quality white chocolate here is a list of things to look for:

  • Be sure it’s ivory in color, and not actually white. True white chocolate (made from cocoa beans) should be ivory in appearance.
  • Read the ingredients. If you see vegetable oil or fat in the list of ingredients, it’s not true white chocolate. Cocoa butter should be the main ingredient.

So, while there is a lot of controversy whether white chocolate is really chocolate or not, when it boils down to it, it doesn’t really matter…all that matters is that it’s yummy and delicious!