Types of Chocolate: When it comes to chocolate, there’s no such thing as too much! But what exactly are the varieties of chocolate? What types can you find in the market, and how do they differ?
Here are the top 10 types of chocolate (in no particular order) that are available in the market today:
1. Milk Chocolate
Milk chocolate is made from cocoa solids and milk powder or condensed milk. This type of chocolate has a unique taste that combines both sweet and bitter flavors. It is often used as a base for other chocolates like white or dark chocolate.
2. White Chocolate
White chocolate is a confection made with cocoa butter, sugar, and milk solids. Unlike regular dark or milk chocolates, white chocolate does not contain any cocoa solids or cocoa butter; hence it doesn’t have any antioxidants or flavanols found in dark and milk chocolates. It also contains less fat than regular dark or milk chocolates.
3. Unsweetened Baking Chocolate
Unsweetened baking chocolate is made of unsweetened cocoa powder, sugar, and lecithin (an emulsifier). When heated, it produces a rich, bittersweet flavor with a smooth texture that blends well with other ingredients like butter and vanilla extract to make a classic chocolate flavor.
You can use unsweetened baking chocolate to make the frosting, brownies, cookies, and as a base for hot cocoa.
4. Dark Chocolate
This is the classic chocolate that most people think of when they think of chocolate. It’s bitter and sweet at the same time, with a slightly fruity aftertaste. Good dark chocolate will have at least 70% cocoa content, but if you want an even richer experience, look for something with more than 80% cocoa content.
5. Semisweet Chocolate
Semisweet chocolate contains between 35 percent and 50 percent cocoa butter. It can also include other fats such as vegetable oils, coconut oil, or palm kernel oil. Some semisweet chocolates have added sugar to sweeten them further than their natural sweetness derived from cocoa butter alone.
This results in a more bitter taste than milk chocolate, which doesn’t have added sugar but still tastes sweet because of its high-fat content from the cocoa butter component.
6. Bitter Chocolate
Bitter chocolate refers to dark chocolate with 60 percent cacao content or higher that has a strong flavor and aroma due to its high percentage of cocoa solids (not necessarily sugar). It is usually unsweetened, though you can make it sweet by adding sugar or other ingredients.
It has a rich, complex flavor that some people like and others don’t. The word “bitter” doesn’t necessarily mean bad; in fact, many people consider the bold flavor of bitter chocolate to be pleasant and satisfying.
7. Couverture Chocolate
You can make candies and other confections such as truffles and bonbons with this chocolate. Additionally, you can also use it to make cakes, cookies, and other desserts.
The higher quality couverture chocolates will have a higher percentage of cocoa butter than others, so they will be smoother tasting as well as easier to work with when making candies or other sweets like truffles or bonbons.
8. Cocoa Powder
This is simply dried cocoa beans ground into a fine powder used to make hot chocolate or other foods like baked goods like brownies and cookies. Cocoa Powder is an excellent source of magnesium, iron, and B vitamins. It also contains antioxidants that help fight free radicals in the body.
Cocoa powder often replaces cocoa butter, which is the fatty part of cocoa beans. Cocoa powder has a mild chocolate flavor that works well in baked goods and hot cocoa recipes.
9. Bittersweet Chocolate
Bittersweet chocolate has a rich, complex flavor that balances sweet and bitter notes with a slight tanginess. Chocolate manufacturers usually combine bittersweet chocolate with milk or white chocolate to make “dark” chocolate bars.
10. Sweet German Chocolate
Samuel German created sweet German chocolate. He named the product after himself and developed it for bakers to use as an ingredient. It contains sugar, unlike semisweet chocolate, so it is sweeter than semisweet chocolate.
This type of chocolate is used in German chocolate cake, a rich three-layer cake with a sweet, gooey filling in the middle and topped with coconut and pecans.
The different types and varieties of chocolate can be confusing, especially with many brands and labels on the market. Knowing your chocolate types and varieties could be a big help if you’re looking for a specific kind or simply want to know how chocolate is made.
There is a tremendous amount of variety in the types and preparations of chocolate. I have just barely scratched the surface here in my humble top 10 list. Regardless of which one you choose, remember to savor the flavor and get creative with your use of this timeless treat.