Chocolate is the most popular ingredient used throughout the world and is available in several types. Chocolate is made up of a number of raw and processed foods that are produced from the seed of a tropical Cacao tree. Cacao has been cultivated for at least three millennia in Central America and Mexico, dating back to 1100 BC. The different types of chocolate consist of:
Unsweetened chocolate is pure chocolate liquor also known as baking chocolate. It is a pure, ground, roasted chocolate bean with a strong and deep chocolate flavour. It is the base for cakes, cookies, brownies, and confections.
Dark chocolate is produced by adding fat and sugar cacao. Dark chocolate has no milk and has a minimum of 35% cocoa solids.
Milk chocolate has powdered milk or condensed milk added with a minimum of 25% cocoa solids.
Semisweet chocolate is usually used for cooking purposes and is a dark chocolate with a low sugar content.
Bittersweet chocolate is chocolate liquor with a small amount of sugar added, more cocoa butter, vanilla, and lecithin added. The higher the percentage of cocoa butter, the less sweet the chocolate will be.
Bittersweet and Semisweet chocolate are sometimes refered to as Couverture.
Couverture is a term refering to chocolate rich in cocoa butter. Couverture is used by professional pastry chefs and sold in gourmet stores. Valrhona, Lindt & Sprungli, Scharffen Berger, Callebaut and Guittard are brands that contain 70% or higher cocoa and a fat content of 30-40%.
White chocolate is made up of sugar and fat without cocoa solids.
Cocoa powder comes in two unsweetened forms; Natural cocoa is light in color and a little acidic with a strong chocolate flavor. natural cocoa is commonly used in recipes with baking soda. Dutch-process cocoa is slightly milder in taste with a deep color.