If you always like to accompany your cup of coffee with a chocolate cookie or other chocolate-based treat, or if you usually order a hot chocolate drink, you might not consider yourself a chocoholic, but you certainly make it to the fans’ category. But even of chocolate is not your first choice when it comes to desert, you should probably by familiar with at least its main categories, just in case you are asked if you prefer couverture over white chocolate for your ice-cream glace.
- Dark Chocolate can contain anything from 30% to 75% cocoa solids. It has a slightly sweet flavor and a dark color and it is the chocolate type most used in cooking. For everyday cooking and the majority of the recipes for dark chocolate, choose one with around 50% cocoa solids. However, dark chocolate with a higher cocoa solid content will give a richer, more intense, flavor. This chocolate is often called luxury or continental chocolate and has a cocoa solid content of between 70-75%. Occasionally, cooking experts support that it is essential to use a better chocolate, but the recipe should specify when that is the case.
- Milk Chocolate, as its name suggests, contains milk and has lovely creamy, mild, and sweet flavor. It is mostly used as an eating chocolate, rather than in cooking. However it does have its place in chocolate cookery, especially for decorations, and when a milder, creamy flavor is required. It is more sensitive to heat than dark chocolate so care must be taken when melting it.
- White Chocolate contains lower cocoa butter content and cocoa solids. It can be quite temperamental when used in cooking. Always choose a luxury white cooking chocolate to avoid problems and take great care not to overheat when melting it. White chocolate is useful also for colour contrast in decoration, creating a dramatic effect when it is placed over darker backgrounds.
- Couverture is the preferred chocolate for professional use, as it retains a high gloss after melting and cooling. Nevertheless, it requires tempering and is only available from specialist suppliers. In case it can be found to special cooking supply stores, it usually is more expensive than regular milk chocolate.
- Chocolate Glace is a chocolate-flavoured cake covering which is an inferior product not generally used by true chocolate lovers. However, it has a high fat content, making it easier to handle when making some decorations such as curls or caraque. In case you do not want to compromise flavor too much, but have difficulty making the decorations with pure chocolate, try adding a few squares of chocolate-flavoured cake covering to a good quality chocolate.
- Chocolate Chips are available in dark, milk, and white chocolate varieties, and are used primarily for baking and as decoration materials.
- Coco Powder is the powder left after the cocoa butter has been pressed from the roasted and ground beans. It is unsweetened and bitter in flavor. It gives good, strong chocolate flavor when used in cooking.