Semi-Sweet and Bittersweet Chocolate
chocolate is another name used to describe any sweetened chocolate that does not
contain milk solids i.e.. extra-bittersweet, bittersweet, and semi-sweet.
In general, European dark chocolate refers to bittersweet, while American dark
chocolate refers to semi-sweet. The two chocolates are used interchangeably.
However, flavor, texture, and appearance of the finished product may be changed
depending on the type and quality of chocolate used.
Semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolates contain cocoa liquor,
sugar, cocoa butter,
vanilla, and sometimes lecithin (acts as an emulsifier).
The quality and blends of cocoa beans, amount and quality of the added
ingredients, and the processing determines the quality of the chocolate. Each
brand has their own special formula and method of processing.
Bittersweet and semi-sweet chocolates
contain at least 35% chocolate liquor in North America and 43% in Britain. The
best chocolates can contain 65-70% chocolate liquor. The higher the content of
chocolate liquor, the more rich and flavorful the chocolate. Bittersweet
chocolate generally has a stronger chocolate flavor. Semi-sweet chocolate
generally contains more sugar than bittersweet. However, because the
amount of sugar this type of chocolate contains is not regulated, what one
manufacturer calls bittersweet may be called semi-sweet by another manufacturer.
Semi-sweet and bittersweet chocolate, if
well wrapped and stored in a cool dry place with good air circulation, will keep
Dark chocolate is widely used
in all types pastries, confections, and desserts and is also eaten out of hand.
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3 ounces = 85 grams
"Chocolate contains more than 500
flavors, which makes it more complex than any other food. No
wonder it's capable of satisfying practically everyone's sensory taste."
- Debra Waterhouse, Why Woman Need
Choosing and Storing Chocolate
There are many good brands of chocolate on
the market today, both domestic and foreign. (The brands I use most are Lindt, Scharffen Berger Semi-Sweet and
Some popular brands are:
Baker's, Callebaut, Cocao Barry, El Rey, Ghirardelli,
Guittard, Hersheys, Lindt, Nestle, Perugina, Scharffen Berger, and Valrhona.