Q. In recipes calling for baking chocolate, which is the best type? And what are the differences among the many types?
A. Baking chocolate -- also known as unsweetened chocolate or bitter chocolate -- is cooled, hardened chocolate liquor. By U.S. standards, unsweetened chocolate should contain between 50 and 58 percent cocoa butter. When sugar, lecithin, and vanilla are added, you get bittersweet, semisweet or sweet chocolate, depending on the amount of sugar present.
Baking chocolate is used primarily as an ingredient in recipes such as brownies, cakes, and frostings. While the purest form of baking chocolate has no sugar added to it, the major chocolate brands represented in the baking aisles of most supermarkets often have several sweetened versions to choose from.
Unless a recipe specifically calls for "semisweet baking chocolate" or "sweetened baking chocolate," go ahead and use the unsweetened variety. Otherwise, the chemical and baking properties of the recipe may be compromised.
See the next page for more baking chocolate facts.
For more information about chocolate, see: