Semi-Sweet and Bittersweet
Dark 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.
3 ounces = 85 grams
Choosing and Storing Chocolate
There are many good brands of chocolate on
the market today, both domestic and foreign. (The brands I like to use are
Lindt Bittersweet, Scharffen Berger Semi-Sweet and Baker's.)
Some popular brands are:
Baker's, Callebaut, Cocao Barry, El Rey, Ghirardelli,
Guittard, Hersheys, Lindt, Nestle, Perugina, Scharffen Berger, and Valrhona.
Mail order/Internet sources:
Celebrations catalog or their website. (1-800-328-6722 for a catalog or sweetc.com).
- The Baker's Catalogue or their website (1-800-827-6836 or bakerscatalogue.com).