Understanding Chocolate Variations

Understanding Chocolate Variations

Chocolate and Cocoa Glossary

In order to work with chocolate you need to understand the basic terms and variations of chocolate.

Artificial or Synthetic Chocolate: Artificial chocolate is a product that contained no cocoa bean derived ingredients. In extreme cases, artificial chocolates are also derived without milk or sugar ingredients.

Bitter Chocolate: Bitter chocolate is a chocolate liquor that has been cooled and molded into blocks. Bitter chocolate is also known as unsweetened, baking, or cooking chocolate.

Cacao (cocoa) Beans: Cacao beans are the fruit of the cacao tree and the source of origin for all true chocolates and cocoas.

Cacao Nibs: Cacao nibs are the “meat” of the cacao bean. After the beans are cleaned and roasted in a controlled environment the shells are removed leaving the nibs.

Chocolate:  Legally, chocolate is a term used to describe unsweetened chocolate and chocolate liquor. More common usage implies milk chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, and sweet chocolate.

Chocolate Flavored:  This is a term used for food products flavored with cocoa or chocolate liquor but not enough to deem the product as chocolate as defined by the Standards of Identity.

Chocolate Flavored Syrup: Commonly referred to as chocolate syrup. This is a combination in varying proportions of chocolate liquor or cocoa, sugar, water, salt, and sometimes other flavorings such as vanilla.

Chocolate Liquor: Base material of all chocolate products. The nibs, which contain more than fifty percent cocoa butter, are ground by a heat process to liquefy the cocoa butter and form chocolate liquor. There is no alcohol content to chocolate liquor.

Cocoa Butter: Cocoa butter is a vegetable fat extracted from chocolate liquor in process known as “pressing” at high pressure. The distinctive melting properties of cocoa butter give chocolates their satisfying texture.

Cocoa Powder: The dry substance that remains after the cocoa butter is extracted from chocolate liquor.

Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder: Cocoa powder from nibs or chocolate liquor that has been treated with alkali to neutralize the natural acids. Dutch Process cocoa is darker and slightly different in flavor than that of so-called natural cocoa.

Compound Chocolate: This is an industrial term for chocolate-like products in which most or all of the cocoa butter has been removed and replaced by an alternate vegetable fat. These types of chocolate are more commonly known as “white chocolate” or confectioners’ coating; usually available in dark, white, or pastel colors.

Milk Chocolate: a combination of chocolate liquor, added cocoa butter, sugar, and, milk and cream. Milk chocolate must contain at least ten percent chocolate liquor. It may also contain optional ingredients.

Pre-melted Baking Chocolate-Type Product:  A mixture of unsweetened cocoa and vegetable oil in foil or plastic envelopes.

Semi-Sweet Chocolate: A combination of chocolate liquor, added cocoa butter, and sugar. It must contain at least thirty five percent chocolate liquor. Most commonly found in the form of baking chips.

Sweet (Dark) Chocolate: A combination of chocolate liquor, added cocoa butter, and sugar. It must contain at least fifteen percent chocolate liquor and has a higher proportion of sugar than semi-sweet chocolate.

Standards of Identity: A rigid set of identifications, as established by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which designates for each chocolate and cocoa product the percentage of key ingredients that must be present in order for them to bear the name of such product.