Whether you're baking mini brownies or whipping up a delectable cake, your recipe likely calls for a specific chocolate to create the sweet end result. Some might require bittersweet chocolate, while others might say to use a semisweet variety. A recipe may not use any of these types and require baking chocolate instead!
But what is the difference between these varieties of chocolate? Can one be substituted for the other in a recipe without being noticed? Here are some of the key points to understand when it comes to chocolate for baking.
Bittersweet chocolate tastes just as it sounds - this variety comes with a sweet taste that is topped off with a tartness once it touches tastebuds. Although many people prefer not to eat bittersweet chocolate on its own, this sweet concoction can do wonders for various baked goods ranging from brownie pops to wedding cakes.
TLC.com reports that by U.S. government standards, bittersweet chocolate must have a chocolate liquor content of at least 35 percent. While it contains some sugar, it is not as sweet as the semisweet variety.
Just keep in mind that because it has a higher percentage of cacao, it is more intense than other types. For this reason, you might want to steer clear of using it in a treat that is meant to be light, such as angel food cake or kids' cupcakes.
Semisweet chocolate can contain between 15 and 35 percent chocolate liquor, according to the Chocolate Manufacturers Association, which gives creators more room to add sugar. For this reason, the variety tends to be more tasty on the tongue without the immediate tartness. Semisweet chocolate can provide additional depth to the flavor of many treats.
Substituting Bittersweet for Semisweet Chocolate
It's an age-old question that bakers continue to wrestle with today - can you swap bittersweet for semisweet in a recipe and vice versa? The answer is yes! Chow.com reports that while bittersweet chocolate can be more tart than semisweet, it all depends on the way that the cacao beans were processed. Some semisweet chocolate can be just as bitter as bittersweet, meaning there may be little difference if you were to swap one for the other in a recipe. If you only happen to have one on hand for a recipe, don't run out to the store - use what you have and your baked goods will still turn out delicious.