For those of you who haven’t ever cooked with chocolate, we’re about to dispel a popular misconception. No, you do not melt your favorite candy bar and toss it into the cake mixture. There is a special type of chocolate used when baking cakes, muffins, cookies, tarts, etc. Its called baking chocolate.
What is baking chocolate?
Baking chocolate is made by cooling chocolate liquor and allowing it to harden. It is often referred to as ‘bitter’ or ‘unsweetened’ chocolate as well. According to standards set by the US, baking chocolate should contain anywhere between 50-58% cocoa butter. As the name ‘unsweetened’ chocolate suggests, baking chocolate in its purest form does not have any sugar added to it. There are some major chocolate brands however, that have sweetened versions of baking chocolate to choose from.
Why it’s good for baking
Baking chocolate is used in the preparation of a variety of desserts. These include brownies, cakes, frostings, and puddings. When a recipe calls for unsweetened chocolate, it is very important to use just that because otherwise, the chemical and baking properties of the dessert would be compromised.
According to the famous chocolate company Ghirardelli, a slab of baking chocolate should be 100% cacao. Due to the lack of sugar, this particular type of chocolate has a naturally bitter taste. This is ideal for cooking because the chocolate is meant to add flavor and most recipes call for certain amounts of sugar or various other sweeteners to be added as well. This results in a more full and rich chocolate flavor. If you were to use regular chocolate bars instead of baking chocolate in your cooking, your desserts would turn out much sweeter than they are supposed to be.
Baking chocolate also melts more uniformly. Anyone who has cooked with chocolate knows how temperamental the substance can be. Due to the fact that baking chocolate contains very few ingredients in addition to cacao, the chocolate is easier to melt and temper.
Baking chocolate vs. Regular chocolate
Want to know the detailed differences between the two? Check out the table below:
Baking chocolate is one of those types of chocolate that you can’t just gobble down on its own. Anyone who, as a child, has snuck into their mothers baking cabinet and tried stealing some chocolate knows that baking chocolate on its own does not taste nice…at all. It is meant to be used in cooking to provide chocolate flavor.