It occured to be a few days after posting my last Kitchen Tips that chocolate would have been a great topic to go with the easter theme. Alas, hindsight. Today we’ll talk a little about chocolate and the ways to classify it. Below are some of the most common types of chocolate.

Milk Chocolate is the only chocolate with milk solids and also contains a large amount of sugar (usually 50%). These two together often outweigh the actual amount of cocoa, so it tends to be softer than most. This is the mildest of the chocolates and can be eaten out of hand or used in cooking. To be classified as milk chocolate in the United States, it must contain at least 10% cocoa.

Dark Chocolate is chocolate with no milk solids added. Because it’s not competing with milk solids, it has a more intense chocolate flavor. This also means it’s dryer and has a more noticable bitter aftertaste. Sweet, semisweet and bittersweet should be considered types of dark chocolate (none of these contain milk solids additives). It’s worth noting, though, that the United States has no official requirements for the label “dark chocolate.”

  • Sweet chocolate is the sweetest of the dark chocolates. The United States requires all sweet chocolate to have at least 15% cocoa but says nothing on the amount of sugar. Traditionally, the amount of sugar is around 60%. 
  • The difference between bittersweet and semisweet is a bit blurry. Semisweet chocolate should be between bittersweet and semisweet on the sweetness scale, but there is no requirements on distinguising them. Both require 35% cocoa and the sugar usually ranges between 30-50%. Often, semisweet is considered to have half the amount of sugar as sweet, putting it at 30%. 

Unsweeted Chocolate is your “purest” chocolate, also known as bitter or baking chocolate. It contains no addition of sugar, cocoa butter or milk solids. Keep in mind that there is cocoa butter in it naturally; usually 50-55%. Due to it’s strong, bitter taste, this chocolate is never eaten just out of hand.

White Chocolate is not chocolate at all, as it contains no cocoa. It was invented in Switzerland in the 1930s and is made from purified, usually deodorized cocoa butter, milk and sugar. It tastes very little like chocolate

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