Chocolate comes in many forms and they are all used for different things and differ where taste is concerned. We’re breaking down some of the most common varieties of chocolate and what they’re used for.
Often referred to as baking chocolate or bitter chocolate, this chocolate is, as the name suggests, totally unsweetened and not meant to be eaten as is. It is made up solely of chocolate liquor (what you get once you dry, roast and grind the center of a cocoa beans). Unsweetened chocolate is bitter (you won’t want to nibble on this stuff) but is balanced out when combined with sugar in various cake and cookie recipes.
Bittersweet chocolate must be comprised of at least 35 percent cocoa solids or else it’s not living up to its name. A small amount of sugar is added, but otherwise these bars are made up of around 50 to 80 percent chocolate liquor. Bittersweet chocolate can also be used for baking.
In addition to chocolate liquor, dark chocolate is made up of sugar, cocoa butter, vanilla (or other flavourings) and an emulsifier. The percentage you see listed on most bars of dark chocolate is known as the cocoa content and can range from 30 percent up to 80 percent. Cocoa content refers to the percentage of ingredients in the bar that come from the cocoa bean. The lower the percentage the sweeter your dark chocolate will be.
If you’ve eaten a classic chocolate bar lately (Kit-Kat, Snickers), you were enjoying milk chocolate. Sweet, creamy and mild in flavour, milk chocolate is made from milk solids, cocoa butter and sugar. Milk chocolate is not normally used in baking aside from milk chocolate chips, which are a decadent addition to cookies.
White chocolate is actually not chocolate at all. The mild-tasting, creamy, sweet treat contains no cocoa solids, and is made with cocoa butter, milk and sugar. White chocolate is often used as a garnish on cakes, or as a coating (on cake pops for example), and you’ll also find it in candy bar form.