Chocolate is a wonderful thing. It’s delicious, it’s versatile, and there are countless ways to enjoy it. But what do you know about chocolate? Do you know the difference between dark chocolate and white chocolate? Or if semi-sweet is better than bittersweet?
How about milk vs. dark vs. white? Don’t worry! We’re here to help with our guide to different types of chocolate. Read on and then go out into the world knowing that when someone asks you how they should eat their chocolate bar (spoiler alert: always let them choose), you’ll be able to tell them exactly what they need!
Milk Chocolate: The entry-level chocolate
Milk chocolate is made with milk solids, which makes it sweeter than dark chocolate. It contains less fat and cocoa powder than dark chocolate, so while it doesn’t have as much natural health benefits as some other forms of chocolate (like raw cacao or unsweetened baking bars), milk chocolate still has some antioxidants.
It’s also a great option for baking: The sweetness of milk chocolate lends itself well to recipes like brownies or cookies. And because kids love the creamy taste of milk chocolate more than any other kind, this type is often used for candy bars that are geared toward children.
Dark Chocolate: For when you’re feeling extra fancy
- Dark chocolate is made with a higher percentage of cocoa solids, which means it contains more antioxidants than milk chocolate.
- You can get dark chocolate with different percentages of cocoa solids, from about 30% to as high as 99%. The higher the percentage of cocoa solids, the more bitter your dark chocolate will taste—but also the more health benefits you’ll reap from eating it.
- With its intense flavor and creamy texture, dark chocolate is a great way to end a meal or celebrate an occasion—just don’t overdo it!
White Chocolate: It’s not technically ‘chocolate’, but it’s delicious
White chocolate is made from cocoa butter and sugar, but it doesn’t have the same cacao content as dark chocolate. As a result, white chocolate has a much sweeter taste than regular chocolate (which is why it’s often used in candy bars). Although it’s technically not “chocolate” per se, it will still satisfy any cravings you may have for something sweet!
Semi-sweet Chocolate: This is chocolate for baking
Semi-sweet chocolate, like bittersweet and dark, is made with a high percentage of cacao. The difference is that semi-sweet chocolates have more sugar added to them. The higher amount of sugar makes them more versatile in baking; this chocolate can be used alone or paired with other flavorings to make cakes, frostings and even cookies!
You’ll find it easy to substitute one type of chocolate for another because they’re all roughly the same percentage of cacao (cacao refers to the actual nuts from which the beans are harvested). For example: if you want your cake to have a hint of sweetness but not too much bitterness, go ahead and use semisweet instead. If you want something richer and sweeter without sacrificing flavor or richness (which would happen if you used milk chocolate), then go with semisweet again!
This is also why this type works well as an ingredient in many recipes—you’ll find yourself using it when cooking souffles or making brownies because its low acidity means that every bite will taste just as sweet as the last one did (and not just because another spoonful’s been consumed).
Unsweetened Chocolate: If you really want to taste the cocoa in your chocolate, this is the stuff for you
Unsweetened chocolate is the purest version of chocolate. It has a high cocoa percentage and is not sweetened with sugar. This kind of chocolate is used in baking, or even to make a hot drink called “chocolate milk.”
Bittersweet Chocolate: This is the kind of chocolate you want if you’re going to go all out on quality
Bittersweet chocolate is the highest quality of all the types of chocolate. It’s made with a higher percentage of cocoa butter, which gives it a richer taste and texture. Bittersweet chocolate also has a higher percentage of cacao solids than semisweet chocolate.
If you’re going to go all out on quality, bittersweet is what you should be looking for—it’s ideal for baking and cooking purposes as well as eating out of hand.
If you’re looking to try something new and exciting, any of these types of chocolate are sure to please. It’s also worth noting that there are many different combinations of milk, dark, white and bittersweet chocolates that can be made into delicious treats for any occasion. If you’re feeling adventurous, we recommend trying one or two types out for yourself!