True chocolate contains cocoa butter. The main types of chocolate, in decreasing order of cocoa liquor content, are:
- Unsweetened (bitter) chocolate
- Dark chocolate
- Milk chocolate
- White chocolate
Unsweetened chocolate, also known as bitter chocolate, baking chocolate, or cooking chocolate, is pure cocoa liquor mixed with some form of fat to produce a solid substance. The pure ground, roasted cocoa beans impart a strong, deep chocolate flavour. With the addition of sugar in recipes, however, it is used as the base for cakes, brownies, confections, and cookies.
Dark (Sweet, Semi-Sweet, Bittersweet) Chocolate
Dark chocolate has an ideal balance of cocoa liquor, cocoa butter, and sugar. Thus it has the attractive, rich colour and flavour so typical of chocolate, and is also sweet enough to be palatable. It does not contain any milk solids. It can be eaten as is or used in baking. Its flavour does not get lost or overwhelmed, as in many cases when milk chocolate is used. It can be used for fillings, for which more flavourful chocolates with high cocoa percentages ranging from 60% to 99% are often used. Dark is synonymous with semi-sweet, and extra dark with bittersweet, although the ratio of cocoa butter to solids may vary.
- Sweet chocolate has more sugar, sometimes almost equal to cocoa liquor and butter amounts (45% to 55% range).
- Semi-sweet chocolate is frequently used for cooking. It is a dark chocolate with less sugar than sweet chocolate.
- Bittersweet chocolate has less sugar and more liquor than semi-sweet chocolate, but the two are often interchangeable when baking. Bittersweet and semi-sweet chocolates are sometimes referred to as couverture (see below). The higher the percentage of cocoa, the less sweet the chocolate is.
Milk chocolate is solid chocolate made with milk, added in the form of milk powder. Milk chocolate contains a higher percentage of fat (the milk contributes to this) and the melting point is slightly lower. It is used mainly as a flavouring and in the production of candies and moulded pieces.
The main ingredient in white chocolate is sugar, closely followed by cocoa butter and milk powder. It has no cocoa liquor. It is used mainly as a flavouring in desserts, in the production of candies and, in chunk form in cookies.