Everything you always wanted to know about CHOCOLATE, but were afraid to ask…

Joy at Joy of Desserts is hosting a Chocolate Round-up on April 20th. Be sure and join us. IFor all you CHOCAHOLICS out there I thought I would run this informative post on everything you every wanted to know about chocolate, but were afraid to ask and really need to know!

CHOCOLATE DICTIONARY with some definitions from WIKIPEDIA

  • BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE is chocolate liquor (or unsweetened chocolate) to which some sugar (typically a third), more cocoa butter, vanilla and sometimes lecithin has been added. It has less sugar and more liquor than semisweet chocolate, but the two are interchangeable in baking. Bittersweet and semisweet chocolates are sometimes referred to as ‘couverture’ (chocolate that contains at least 32 percent cocoa butter); many brands now print on the package the percentage of cocoa (as chocolate liquor and added cocoa butter) contained. The rule is that the higher the percentage of cocoa, the less sweet the chocolate will be.
  • COCOA POWDER There are two types of unsweetened baking cocoa available: natural cocoa (like the sort produced by Hershey’s and Nestlé using the Broma process), and Dutch-process cocoa (such as the Hershey’s European Style Cocoa and the Droste brand). Both are made by pulverising partially defatted chocolate liquor and removing nearly all the cocoa butter. Natural cocoa is light in colour and somewhat acidic with a strong chocolate flavour. Natural cocoa is commonly used in recipes which call for baking soda. Because baking soda is an alkali, combining it with natural cocoa creates a leavening action that allows the batter to rise during baking. Dutch-process cocoa is processed with alkali to neutralise its natural acidity. Dutch cocoa is slightly milder in taste, with a deeper and warmer colour than natural cocoa. Dutch-process cocoa is frequently used for chocolate drinks such as hot chocolate due to its ease in blending with liquids. Unfortunately, Dutch processing destroys most of the flavonoids present in cocoa.
  • DARK CHOCOLATE is produced by adding fat and sugar to cacao. It is chocolate without milk as an additive. It is sometimes called “plain chocolate”. The U.S. Government has no definition for dark chocolate, only “sweet chocolate”, which requires a 15% concentration of chocolate liquor. Sweet chocolate is not necessarily dark chocolate as there is no restriction of milk in it. European rules specify a minimum of 35% cocoa solids.
  • MILK CHOCOLATE is chocolate with milk powder or condensed milk added. The U.S. Government requires a 10% concentration of chocolate liquor. EU regulations specify a minimum of 25% cocoa solids. In the 1870s, Swiss confectioner Daniel Peter invented the process of solidifying milk chocolate using condensed milk, which was invented by Henri Nestlé in the 1800’s. Hershey process milk chocolate, invented by Milton S. Hershey, founder of The Hershey Company , is able to be produced more economically, by being less sensitive to freshness of the milk. Although the process is still a trade secret, experts speculate that the milk is partially lipolyzed, producing butyric acid, which stabilizes the milk from further fermentation. This compound gives the product a particular sour, “tangy” taste, to which the American public has become accustomed, to the point that other manufacturers now simply add butyric acid to their milk chocolates.
  • SEMI-SWEET CHOCOLATE is often used for cooking purposes. It is a dark chocolate with a low (typically half) sugar content.
  • SWEET COOKING CHOCOLATE aka GERMAN CHOCOLATE is similar to semi-sweet chocolate, but it contains a higher proportion of sugar and is used primarily for baking.
  • UNSWEETENED CHOCOLATE is pure chocolate liquor, also known as bitter or baking chocolate, mixed with some form of fat to produce a solid substance. It is unadulterated chocolate: the pure, ground, roasted chocolate beans impart a strong, deep chocolate flavour. With the addition of sugar, however, it is used as the base for cakes, brownies, confections, and cookies.
  • WHITE CHOCOLATE is a confection based on sugar and fat (either cocoa butter or vegetable oils) without the cocoa solids.


  • Chocolate will burn easily so be careful not to use high heat. Using a double boiler is almost always the best way. It is always advisable to chop or grate chocolate before melting. If chocolate becomes dry and grainy, it can be rescued by adding 1 tablespoon of real butter per pound of chocolate to make it fluid again.
  • Be sure to use dry utensils. Even a drop of water can cause your chocolate to thicken into a stiff mass. Once again it can be rescued though with the butter.
  • Unsweetened chocolate will liquefy when melted while semi-sweet and milk chocolates will hold their shapes until you stir them.
  • When melting chocolate in the microwave, make sure to do it in small amounts of time on medium heat, stirring each time until desired thickness is reached. Chocolate will burn very fast in the microwave.


  • 2 ounces chocolate chips = 1/3 cup
  • 3 ounces chocolate chips = 1/2 cup
  • 4 ounces chocolate chips = 2/3 cup
  • 6 ounces chocolate chips = 1 cup
  • 1 pound unsweetened cocoa powder = 4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder


  • 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate = 3 tablespoons cocoa + 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips = 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate + 7 tablespoons sugar + 2 tablespoons butter

Make sure to store chocolate tightly wrapped in a cool and dry place., 60-78 degrees. Try not to store your chocolate in the refrigerator unless you live in an unusually warm climate and really have to. Chocolate will absorb other odors so if you do need to refrigerate it, be sure to wrap it very tightly. If exposed to the cold and moisture the chocolate will oxidize and separate leaving a dry and grainy substance with a gray layer. If the chocolate becomes too warm, the cocoa butter will melt and rise to the surface forming an oxidated layer. When you melt it, it will reconstitute and return to the normal color.

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