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Semi-sweet or dark chocolate for baking:

I have several diff. chocolate bars at home with different percentages of cacao, ie: 65%, 70%, etc. How do I know which one to use for baking, as the recipe never says. And if a recipe calls for an amount that would equal two cups, let's say, can I combo the 50% and 75% cacao bars?

asked by barb48 almost 3 years ago
6 answers 3184 views
added almost 3 years ago

Can you tell us more about the recipe? Is this a brownie, in which you need to melt down the chocolate? A cookie?
For cookies, I use all different grades of chocolate, depending on the goal--but most recipes will call for semi-sweet. I like a dark chocolate chip cookie and I use Guitard, I think it's 62%.
Brownies, on the other hand, will call for baking chocolate, which is bittersweet, likely about 58% or above.
If it were me, I'd save the highest grade chocolate bars for eating and melting down to make ganache.


June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added almost 3 years ago

for me it depends upon the recipe. I prefer the flavor and intensity of bittersweet chocolate, so sometimes I use that even when semisweet is called for by the author. And for cakes I usually go with unsweetened.

added almost 3 years ago

Agree for the most part with chefono, especially regarding the no substituting of chips for bars when melting chocolate; you can, however, flip the other way.

Otherwise, I think a lot of this is about taste. If you're making something like a flourless chocolate cake or a mousse--something which really showcases chocolate--you'll want to use a richer chocolate that is of the best quality you can afford. But in many things like frostings and cookies, you can really get away with using what you want, regardless of what the recipe dictates. I like mixing milk and semisweet in chocolate chip cookies, for instance.

added almost 3 years ago

When I wrote "baking" above, I was referring to instances where chocolate is a part of the chemistry rather than chips in cookies. Cocoa solids and sugar have opposite properties when mixed with liquid ingredients; fat content can influence the outcome as well. There's a parallel with cocoa in baking -- it's important to distinguish between "dutched" and so-called "natural" powders.

Diana B

Diana B is a trusted home cook.

added almost 3 years ago

You might find this analysis of dark chocolate of interest: http://www.cooksillustrated...