A little bit of information about chocolates.
1. What is the difference between unsweetened, semisweet, and milk chocolate?
The main difference is the amount of chocolate liquor they contain. The higher the amount of chocolate liquor, the purer the chocolate is.
- Unsweetened, baking, or bitter chocolate is pure hardened chocolate liquor with no sugar or milk added. It has a rich intense flavor, a dark brown color, and is used mostly for baking.
- Bittersweet chocolate and semisweet chocolate are also called dark chocolate. They contain from 35 to 70 percent chocolate liquor and varying amounts of sugar, cocoa butter, and emulsifiers. They can be eaten as is or used for cooking and baking.
- Milk chocolate or sweet chocolate has 15 percent chocolate liquor plus milk powder, sugar, cocoa butter, and flavorings. It is good for eating, but not very suitable for cooking since the milk solids present tend to burn.
2. Can I substitute one type of chocolate for another?
Here are some of them most common chocolate substitutions:
- 1 square or 1 ounce of unsweetened chocolate = 3 tablespoons cocoa powder + 1 tablespoon fat
- 1 ounce semisweet chocolate = 1/2 ounce unsweetened chocolate + 1 tablespoon sugar
- 6 ounces or 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips = 2 squares or ounces unsweetened chocolate + 7 tablespoons sugar + 2 tablespoons shortening
3. Do I have to store chocolate in the refrigerator?
Store chocolate, well wrapped, at room temperature, away from heat and humidity, which can cause some changes in the appearance of the product. Some prefer storing chocolate in the refrigerator, especially in hot weather. Storing in the refrigerator may cause whitish spots to appear on the surface of the chocolate which does not affect the taste of the product. When storing chocolate in the refrigerator, make sure it is well wrapped and placed away from food that has strong smells, since chocolate easily absorbs odors.
4. What is the best way of melting chocolate?
To make sure that chocolate does not burn, melt it in a double boiler. But chocolate can also be melted for a couple of seconds in a microwave oven (watch the time!); for a few minutes in a slow oven (about 225ºF); or even by direct heat using a thick-bottomed pan over very low heat.
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