With Easter upon us, there’s probably going to be a lot of chocolate around. We all know there are different types of chocolate, but do you know how it’s all made. Here’s a little chocolate lesson for you.
The cacao beans are found inside the fruit of the Theobroma cacao tree. Once removed, they are fermented, dried, roasted and ground into cocoa butter and chocolate liquor. It is in the combination of different quantities of the cocoa butter, chocolate liquor and sugar that produces the different types of chocolate available and enjoyed today.
• Cocoa powder is made from chocolate liquor which has been partially defatted, dried and ground. Natural cocoa powder is lighter in color than that which has gone through the Dutch-process.
• Unsweetened chocolate is made from pure chocolate liquor and is also called ‘bitter’ or ‘baking’ chocolate. This is best used in recipes calling for sugar. This is the form of chocolate used to create all other varieties of chocolate except white chocolate.
• Dark chocolate contains chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, vanilla, sugar and lecithin, which is an emulsifier. This type of chocolate can range from 30% to 80% cocoa solids. The higher percentage of cocoa solids will determine how sweet or bitter chocolate will be.
• Bittersweet chocolate has at least 35% cocoa solids but can have up toward 80% chocolate liquor. There is no requirement to the amount of sugar in bittersweet chocolate so the taste will vary depending upon the manufacturer.
• Semi-sweet chocolate has at least 35% cocoa solids and is used primarily in the United States to make chocolate chips.
• Milk chocolate includes cocoa butter, chocolate liquor and either dry milk solids or condensed milk. It must contain 10% chocolate liquor, 12% milk solids, and at least 3.39% butterfat. It is much sweeter than semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate.
• White chocolate does not contain chocolate liquor but must contain at least 20% cocoa butter, 14% milk solids and no more than 55% sugar. Be sure to purchase white chocolate with the cocoa butter and milk solids or you won’t be getting real white chocolate.
These aren’t all of the different varieties of chocolate, but, they’re the ones most people are familiar with. Even comparing these seven types of chocolate, you can see that there’s more to chocolate than meets the taste buds.