Types of Chocolate

Nibs, which are the "meat" of cracked, roasted cocoa beans, are the source of all chocolate and cocoa and cocoa butter. These nibs, when ground under considerable pressure, are liquefied by the heat of the grinding process itself. The resulting chocolate liquid, often called chocolate liquor, is composed of fine cocoa powder in suspension and a fat known as cocoa butter. Commercial chocolate is resolidified chocolate liquor with extra cocoa butter added for richness and smoothness. Commercial cocoa is that portion of the chocolate liquor which remains after most of the cocoa butter has been extracted.

Cooking chocolate is available in most markets in several distinct types. The chocolate offered by each manufacturer represents a personal taste and a personal blend. It is for you to decide which suits your taste best.

Bitter chocolate, often referred to as unsweetened or baking or cooking chocolate, is made without sugar, as its name implies. It is sold in cakes of eight ounces each of which are in turn, for convenience, marked off in eight one-ounce squares. It is also sold in a semiliquid form in sealed one-ounce envelopes as no-melt chocolate, or by trade name. In our testing, we have used the cake chocolate throughout unless otherwise stated. Bitter chocolate, because of its deep, rich chocolate flavor, is the kind most frequently called for in cakes and other baked or steamed desserts.

Semisweet chocolate is lightly sweetened and while it is sold in eight ounce cakes similar to those made of bitter chocolate, it is also sold packaged in bits or pieces. The weight of these packages varies, of course, but is clearly marked on each envelope. Measurements for bits have sometimes been given by package weight, sometimes by cup. It seems to us that this should not cause too much confusion. This chocolate, because of its sheen when melted, is generally used for candy dipping. It is also used for cake frostings and fillings and sauces and many creams.

Sweet chocolate, as its name implies, is definitely sweet. When it is used in any dish, sauce, filling or frosting, liittle additional sugar is needed. Like the semisweet chocolate, it too is available both in bars and packaged bits and pieces. It may be eaten as is, of course, but it lacks the smooth melting quality that typifies milk chocolate.

Milk chocolate is the everyday eating chocolate best known in candy bars. It is made by combining chocolate liquor with extra cocoa butter, sugar, flavorings and milk or cream. It may be melted as is and used for frosting or filling or sauce or in a variety of "made" dishes- pies, puddings and creams.

Cocoa powder, as we have mentioned, is the dry portion of the chocolate liquor that is left when most of the codcoa butter has been removed. The term includes various kinds of cocoa such as breakfast cocoa (which may be sweetened or not) , medium and low-fat cocoas and Dutch process cocoa, which has been treated with alkali to neutralize the natural acids. Dutch process cocoa, which has nothing to do with Holland or the Dutch, is darker than other cocoas and has an individual flavor.

Chocolate syrup, of course, is both flavored and sweetened, and iis itself used as a flavoring and a sweetener. Chocolate sauce, on the other hand, is a more or less finished product and is used on cakes, puddings, and ice creams as needed.

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