If there’s one thing you expect to see during the Easter holiday, its chocolate candy. Made into eggs, bunnies and chicks, for example, you will find chocolate candy everywhere!
Most people have a favorite chocolate flavor and never go beyond what is familiar. However, there are many varieties and the process of developing these is interesting. You might be surprised to find that there’s more to chocolate than meets the taste buds.
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.