Essentials: Chocolate Basics

Satisfy that chocolate craving in your very own kitchen. All you need is baking chocolate and a little know-how. It also helps to know a few clever tasting terms.

Related To:

Tasting

Taste chocolate before you bake with it, and gravitate to the types you enjoy. Here's how professional chocolate tasters break chocolate down:

 

  • Appearance – how it looks; shiny, dull, etc.

  • Aroma – how it smells; hints of quality ingredients

  • Break – how it snaps when broken apart

  • Melt – how easily it melts for baking

  • Taste – bitter, sweet, salty, etc.

  • Aftertaste – the taste after the taste

  • Texture – smooth, brittle, grainy, etc.

  • Roundness – fruit qualities, spices and depth

Types

Bittersweet – lends an intense chocolate flavor, but can lack the roundness needed for chocolate mousse or truffles; great for bundt cake, soufflé or any recipe where the chocolate has to stand up to other ingredients

Semisweet – has rounder, fruitier qualities that work well in mousses, truffles and recipes that depend heavily on the chocolate flavor

Unsweetened – also called "baking chocolate," it's used for recipes like brownies, where granulated sugar is added; because it's so bitter, it can be hard to judge by taste, so check its appearance and aroma

Milk – sweet chocolate; not used as much in baking/cooking; lacks the health benefits of dark chocolate

White Chocolate – technically not chocolate, because it's made from cocoa butter, not cocoa solids; consider using for decorative purposes or the occasional nibble

Cocoa Powder – primarily used in baking, comes in two styles: natural (non-alkalized), and Dutch-processed (alkalized); natural has a "direct" chocolate flavor, while Dutch is mellower

Chips & Chunks – designed to hold their shape during baking, so not a good substitute for chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate

Storing

Keep chocolate wrapped in a cool, dry place — not the refrigerator. Milk chocolate keeps for up to a year. Dark chocolate keeps for even longer.

When those white dots or streaks appear on the outside, it's because the cocoa butter has separated. That's called "blooming," and it's still totally safe to eat.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Confessions of a Culinary Student: Tempering Chocolate

Culinary school requires a lot of time, money and pressure, so Cooking Channel asked culinary students for their No. 1 "ah-ha!" moment or takeaway from class so you can benefit from what they learned — without enrolling.

Top 3 Essential Tools for Cooking During Colder Months

Cooking Channel's Kelsey Nixon shares a few essential tools that she finds herself reaching for regularly throughout the winter.

Confessions of a Culinary Student: Breading for the Perfect Fried Crust

Culinary students share their biggest secrets with Cooking Channel, like how to bread something to achieve the perfect fried crust.

On TV

UpRooted

7am | 6c

UpRooted

7:30am | 6:30c

UpRooted

8am | 7c

UpRooted

8:30am | 7:30c

UpRooted

9am | 8c

UpRooted

9:30am | 8:30c

Unwrapped 2.0

10am | 9c

Unwrapped 2.0

10:30am | 9:30c

Food: Fact or Fiction?

11:30am | 10:30c

Food: Fact or Fiction?

12:30pm | 11:30c

Food: Fact or Fiction?

1:30pm | 12:30c

Good Eats

2pm | 1c

Good Eats

2:30pm | 1:30c

Burgers, Brew & 'Que

3:30pm | 2:30c

Burgers, Brew & 'Que

4:30pm | 3:30c

Man Fire Food

6:30pm | 5:30c

Man Fire Food

7:30pm | 6:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Man Fire Food

8pm | 7c

Man Fire Food

8:30pm | 7:30c

Man Fire Food

9:30pm | 8:30c

Cheap Eats

10pm | 9c

I Hart Food

10:30pm | 9:30c

Good Eats

11pm | 10c

Good Eats

11:30pm | 10:30c

Man Fire Food

12am | 11c

Man Fire Food

12:30am | 11:30c

Man Fire Food

1am | 12c

Man Fire Food

1:30am | 12:30c

Cheap Eats

2am | 1c

I Hart Food

2:30am | 1:30c

Good Eats

3am | 2c

Good Eats

3:30am | 2:30c
What's Hot
What's Hot

The Best Thing I Ever Ate

New Episodes Mondays 9|8c

So Much Pretty Food Here