When it comes to cooking with chocolate, it helps to understand the key differences between different types:
Unsweetened chocolate contains 100% cacao (the substance found in cocoa beans that gives chocolate its flavor) and no sugar. It’s bound together by cocoa butter, an edible fat extracted from cocoa beans. Too bitter to eat straight, unsweetened chocolate is commonly known as bakers’ chocolate.
Dark chocolate is the catch-all term for chocolate that contains at least 70% cacao. Dark chocolate can vary wildly in flavor and bitterness depending on the sugar content and quality of the cocoa beans.
Bittersweet chocolate contains around 70% cacao and 30% sugar. It’s a popular alternative to unsweetened chocolate in baking, requiring less sugar added to the recipe. It’s the perfect choice for decadent, mouthwatering chocolate mousse (see recipe below).
Semisweet chocolate contains around 60% cacao and 40% sugar. It's a great all-purpose chocolate that can be eaten straight, used in baking, or drizzled for decoration.
Milk chocolate contains anywhere from 10% to 40% cacao combined with sugar and milk solids. Sweeter than dark chocolate, it’s a favorite for little palates. Treat your tiny valentines to irresistible milk chocolate flourless cakes (see recipe below). Baked in individual ramekins, they’re perfect for kids!
White chocolate contains 0% cacao and is made of only cocoa butter, sugar and sometimes vanilla. Because it doesn’t contain cacao, some chocolate purists don’t consider it to be chocolate at all - but that doesn’t stop it from being delicious. White chocolate makes a perfect accent for rich, buttery hazelnut shortbread cookies (see recipe below).
Entertaining a crowd this Valentine's Day? Warm and creamy chocolate fondue is the perfect party food! Forget open flame sets from the 1950s—our version only requires a slow cooker and a little imagination. Mix it up with both sweet and savory dippers, like chopped fruit, pretzel rods, nut clusters and even potato chips. Impressive enough for guests but easy enough to whip up any night of the week, it’s a throwback dessert that’s making a comeback!
Slow Cooker Chocolate Fondue
Or try one of these tasty treats to say “I love you” anytime:
Molten Chocolate Cakes
Quick 'n' Easy Chocolate Pudding
Milk Chocolate Flourless Cakes
White Chocolate Hazelnut Shortbread