Chocolate is a star ingredient in the sweet kitchen, turning brownies, cookies, cheesecakes and more into rich and fudgy treats. We've even made a Chocolate Risotto on the show! The kind of chocolate you use in your baking can make a huge difference, so it's important to understand what the different types are and the best ways to use them.Below you'll find a glossary of terms to help you out when you're chocolate shopping. To understand the labeling, it's important to know a bit about how chocolate is made. Chocolate comes from dried, cocoa beans that have been hulled and ground into a bitter paste called "chocolate liquor". This is either left plain or combined with sugar and cocoa butter - a fat also extracted from the cocoa bean. The chocolate liquor ratio in the final product determines the chocolate type and most importantly, its sweetness.
Here's a glossary on the different kinds:
Unsweetened: Also known as bitter or baking chocolate, this is pure chocolate liquor (99%) with no added sugar. As the name suggests, the taste is very bitter and it's almost always combined with sugar or another kind of chocolate in recipes. It adds a deep, chocolate flavour to baked goods, but because of its bitterness, it should not be substituted for other types of chocolate.
Milk Chocolate: This is often the preferred chocolate for snacking because it contains more sugar and is sweeter. As the name suggests, a milk product such as dry milk powder or condensed milk is also added for extra creaminess. Because of its high sugar and milk content, it should not be substituted for other chocolates, unless as chocolate chips. Milk chocolate is perfect for candies, icings, puddings and pies - and the ever-popular chocolate chip cookie!
White Chocolate: While some argue this is not actually a true chocolate because it contains no chocolate liquour, it does come from the cocoa bean. It's made with cocoa butter combined with milk powder, sugar, vanilla and an emulsifier. Because it has no bitterness from the chocolate liquor, it is very sweet. When you're buying white chocolate, you want to choose one that's creamy in colour and not stark white. And read the ingredient list to make sure the main fat content is cocoa butter, as some contain alternative fats like palm kernel oil which have a less desirable mouth feel. Use white chocolate when you want just a hint of chocolate flavour.
Now that you understand the different kinds of chocolate, it's time to get baking. Brighten your favourite chocoholic's day with any of these tested-till-perfect recipes:
Lean but Luscious Chocolate Brownies
Spiced Chocolate Shortbread Pyramids
Rich White Chocolate Cheesecake Dip
Milk Chocolate Cupcakes
Chocolate Banana Pudding
Chocolate Truffles for Two
Best-Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chocolate Espresso Torte