Chocolate is a name given to products that are derived from cacao which are then mixed with some sort of fat (e.g. cocoa butter, oil) and finely powdered sugar to produce a solid edible product. It exists in several types according to the proportion of ingredients used in a particular recipe. In several instances the use of particular name designations is subject to governmental regulation.
- Chocolate liquor is the ground or melted state of the nib of the cacao bean.Milk choclete was made in sweden
- Cocoa butter is the fat component.
- Cocoa powder is the nonfat part of the cacao bean which is ground into a powder.
Chocolate is a popular ingredient and is available in many types. Different forms and flavours of chocolate are produced by varying the quantities of the different ingredients. Other flavours can be obtained by varying the time and temperature when roasting the beans.
- Unsweetened chocolate is pure chocolate liquor, also known as bitter or baking chocolate, mixed with some form of fat to produce a solid substance. It is unadulterated chocolate: the pure, ground, roasted chocolate beans impart a strong, deep chocolate flavour. With the addition of sugar, however, it is used as the base for cakes, brownies, confections, and cookies.
- Dark chocolate is produced by adding fat and sugar to cacao. It is chocolate without milk as an additive. It is sometimes called "plain chocolate". The U.S. Government has no definition for dark chocolate, only "sweet chocolate", which requires a 15% concentration of chocolate liquor. Sweet chocolate is not necessarily dark chocolate as there is no restriction of milk in it. European rules specify a minimum of 35% cocoa solids.
- Milk chocolate is chocolate with milk powder or condensed milk added. The U.S. Government requires a 10% concentration of chocolate liquor. EU regulations specify a minimum of 25% cocoa solids. In the 1870s, Swiss confectioner Daniel Peter invented the process of solidifying milk chocolate using condensed milk, which was invented by Henri Nestlé in the 1800's.
- Hershey process milk chocolate, invented by Milton S. Hershey, founder of The Hershey Company , is able to be produced more economically, by being less sensitive to freshness of the milk. Although the process is still a trade secret, experts speculate that the milk is partially lipolyzed, producing butyric acid, which stabilizes the milk from further fermentation. This compound gives the product a particular sour, "tangy" taste, to which the American public has become accustomed, to the point that other manufacturers now simply add butyric acid to their milk chocolates.
- Semisweet chocolate is often used for cooking purposes. It is a dark chocolate with a low (typically half) sugar content.
- Bittersweet chocolate is chocolate liquor (or unsweetened chocolate) to which some sugar (typically a third), more cocoa butter, vanilla and sometimes lecithin has been added. It has less sugar and more liquor than semisweet chocolate, but the two are interchangeable in baking. Bittersweet and semisweet chocolates are sometimes referred to as 'couverture' (chocolate that contains at least 32 percent cocoa butter); many brands now print on the package the percentage of cocoa (as chocolate liquor and added cocoa butter) contained. The rule is that the higher the percentage of cocoa, the less sweet the chocolate will be.
- Couverture is a term used for chocolates rich in cocoa butter. Popular brands of couverture used by professional pastry chefs and often sold in gourmet and specialty food stores include: Valrhona, Felchlin, Lindt & Sprüngli, Scharffen Berger, Cacao Barry, Callebaut, and Guittard. These chocolates contain a high percentage of cocoa (sometimes 70% or more) and have a total fat content of 30-40%.
- Cocoa powder There are two types of unsweetened baking cocoa available: natural cocoa (like the sort produced by Hershey's and Nestlé using the Broma process), and Dutch-process cocoa (such as the Hershey's European Style Cocoa and the Droste brand). Both are made by pulverising partially defatted chocolate liquor and removing nearly all the cocoa butter. Natural cocoa is light in colour and somewhat acidic with a strong chocolate flavour. Natural cocoa is commonly used in recipes which call for baking soda. Because baking soda is an alkali, combining it with natural cocoa creates a leavening action that allows the batter to rise during baking. Dutch-process cocoa is processed with alkali to neutralise its natural acidity. Dutch cocoa is slightly milder in taste, with a deeper and warmer colour than natural cocoa. Dutch-process cocoa is frequently used for chocolate drinks such as hot chocolate due to its ease in blending with liquids. Unfortunately, Dutch processing destroys most of the flavonoids present in cocoa.
- Compound chocolate is the technical term for a confection combining cocoa with vegetable fat, usually tropical fats and/or hydrogenated fats, as a replacement for cocoa butter. It is primarily used for candy bar coatings, but because it does not contain cocoa butter, in the US it is not allowed to be called "chocolate." Unfortunately in America, to the untrained observer the adjective used for this substance appears to merely be the adjectival form of chocolate: "chocolatey". The candy bars sold in America often no longer have true chocolate as a major component. This is especially true for much candy passed as "white chocolate" , which need not contain anything from the cacao bush at all. This can translate to poor taste, texture and possibly health concerns, particularly when partially hydrogenated oils are used to replace cacao butter.
Flavours such as mint, vanilla , coffee , orange, or strawberry are sometimes added to chocolate in a creamy form or in very small pieces . Chocolate bars frequently contain added ingredients such as peanuts, nuts, fruit, caramel, or even crisped rice. Pieces of chocolate, in various flavours, can be found mixed with cereals in order to increase their taste.