All you used to have to do is check out the candy aisle for some great-tasting chocolate. But, chocolate comes in many forms not just to eat but to bake and create. The next time you are buying chocolate for your recipes, use the following tips.
If the last kind of chocolate you bought was a Hershey’s bar, listen up. The baking aisle in the supermarket is filled with all types of chocolate from milk chocolate morsels to flavored morsels to block chocolate to gourmet varieties. What you choose depends on why you need it.
1. Semisweet morsels – Everybody loves chocolate chip cookies. They are a favorite after-dinner or party-time treat. So, what chocolate do you reach for? Most people reach for the semi-sweet chocolate morsels or chips. They hold their shape and are not bitter. Once you bite into them, they melt into sweet goodness. Use them also for muffins and pancakes.
2. Semisweet chocolate bricks – This is primarily baking chocolate. It can be cut up and melted for chocolate candy, chocolate cakes and icings.
3. Unsweetened dark chocolate bars – Unsweetened chocolate is used for recipes that call for other sweet ingredients like sugar or honey to offset the bitter taste. Many unsweetened dark chocolate bars don’t contain anything but cocoa solids so they are safe for those with food allergies.
4. Dark chocolate or milk chocolate bars – With or without the nuts or fruit pieces, these are great for eating. If you are trying to get your daily dose of chocolate, eating a dark variety without the nuts or fruit will be the best overall as far as calories. Dark chocolate has many health benefits. Milk chocolate is creamy but the added milk also adds calories and fat. Eating a specialty or gourmet chocolate bar will yield a smoother taste. Depending on the chocolate manufacturer, you may get a different taste with each brand you try.
5. Cocoa powder – This is where the chocolate begins as a presscake once the cocoa butter is removed. The presscake can then be packaged as cocoa powder for hot chocolate and also for baking. Unsweetened baking cocoa is best for recipes. Hot chocolate has other dried ingredients added like sugar and dehydrated marshmallows. It is just for drinking.
Have fun. If you are an avid baker, try different types of chocolate to make your creations. Gourmet chocolates are usually made from different types of cocoa beans which can intensify the flavor. Keep a variety of chocolate products on hand so that you are always prepared to whip up something good when the mood hits you.