ABCs of Baking: C for Chocolate

My love for chocolate has always been a driving force behind my baking, and I wanted to share a little bit about the different kinds of chocolate.

From cocoa powder to baking chocolate to chocolate chips, each variation and derivation of the delicious cacao plant has a use in baking, and there are a few things to know about each. I could easily do an entire video on each type, but in the interest of time, I’ll stick with the basics.

First, cocoa powder. There are two types of Cocoa powder: natural and Dutch-processed. The difference comes down to chemistry, as natural cocoa powder is acidic and Dutch-processed is neutral. For this reason, be sure to use the specific kind listed in the recipe. If the recipe doesn’t specify, it’s best to go with Natural.

Next, Baking chocolate. These are the bars of chocolate you find in the baking section of your local grocery store. They are typically unsweetened, but also come in bittersweet and semi-sweet varieties. They are made with very few ingredients other than the cacao, so they will melt uniformly and mix into your batter easily.

Chocolate Chips contain sugar and are made with stabilizers in order to retain their shape, making them a popular choice for mixing into cookies and brownies. That being said, I also prefer to use them when making chocolate-covered pretzels and doing a chocolate drizzle on my cookies.

A tip I want to leave you with is that chocolate burns easily, so it’s best to go slow and steady when melting it to avoid it getting clumpy. If you are using a saucepan on the stovetop, keep the heat low and stir regularly. If you melt it in a glass bowl in the microwave, go in 30 second increments and stir between each.