While the majority of people know about the most common chocolates such as milk chocolate, semi-sweet and dark chocolate, did you know there are actually many different types of chocolate? All chocolates are made from the cacao bean but that is where their similarities stop, each chocolate is processed in a different way, sweetened and flavored differently, and has different percentages of cocoa solids and cocoa butter. Here are 12 of the different chocolates you might encounter.
Dark Chocolate – Dark chocolate has more cocoa and less sugar. It is considered a grownup’s candy, simply because it is very rich and has a much deeper and complex flavor. Dark chocolate ranges from 35 to 80 percent. The lower percentages are typically found in semisweet chocolates and the higher percentages are found in candy and baking bars.
Milk Chocolate– Milk chocolate has milk solids in it, a minimum of 12 percent by law. It is generally much sweeter than dark chocolates, however you can find dark milk chocolate as well. Milk chocolate is most commonly found in candies and chocolate bars, although it is used for some baking it is mostly considered an eating chocolate.
Unsweetened Chocolate – Unsweetened chocolate has no sugar in it and is usually used for baking, hence the name bakers chocolate. You can substitute bakers chocolate for semisweet, reducing the sugar one tablespoon for each square and a half of chocolate.
Chocolate Chips – Most of us are familiar with the chocolate chips which go in our cookies. Traditionally these are made from semisweet chocolate, but these days you can find them in milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and white chocolate as well. Chocolate chips have less cocoa butter than bar varieties to help them hold their shape.
White Chocolate – White chocolate is not actually chocolate but cocoa butter, sugar, vanilla and milk solids. It contains no actual cocoa. White chocolate adds creaminess and structure to desserts.
Chocolate Extract – Chocolate extract is cacao beans with alcohol to draw out the flavor. It is generally used to add a hint of chocolate to a recipe or to enhance the chocolate flavor. Brownies or cakes taste richer and deep when using chocolate extract.
Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder – Dutch processed cocoa powder is cocoa powder that has been neutralized using the Dutch process. In most recipes Dutch cocoa powder can be interchanged with natural cocoa powder.
Natural Cocoa Powder – Cocoa powder is dry cocoa solids which have been partially defatted. When added to a recipe with baking powder it gets a reddish tinge making it perfect for a devils food or red velvet cake. Natural cocoa powder has an intense complex flavor.
Cacao Nibs – Available from the health food store, these are cracked bits of roasted cacao beans. This is the raw version of most of the chocolates you find in your store. Because they are unsweetened it has a bitter but not unpleasant flavor.