There are several different types of chocolate and each of these carries its own benefits and drawbacks. Unsweetened chocolate is cocoa in its pure form mixed with some form of fat to make a solid substance; it carries the greatest amount of health benefits. When chocolate is sweetened but has a miniscule amount of milk added to it, or no milk at all, it is called dark chocolate. When milk and sugar are added, the result is milk chocolate. The amount of sugar added to chocolate determines if it is bittersweet or sweet. Chocolate lovers may prefer one type of chocolate over another. It is important to understand the differences between chocolate types in order to choose the best source for health advantages. The various types of chocolate are also an important factor to consider when cooking with chocolate as each type has different characteristics and properties.
Milk chocolate is chocolate made with sugar, milk, and chocolate. It is not to be confused with chocolate milk, but rather is a solid form that may use milk in either condensed, liquid, or powder form to make the chocolate texture more pliable. Milk chocolate is a frequent ingredient in candy and is associated with the Milton S. Hershey who founded the Hershey Company. Milk chocolate is often high in fat and calories due to the sugar and milk content.
Sweet chocolate is created with chocolate liquor (or melted nib of the cacao bean), sugar, cocoa butter, and additional ingredients. It has a lower amount of chocolate content than dark chocolate and is approximately 30% chocolate. Cocoa butter is composed of the fat from the cocoa bean. Sweet chocolate is known for its various ingredients, which give it different flavors. It is a frequent ingredient in many confectionery and candy recipes.
Semisweet or Bittersweet (Dark) Chocolate
Semisweet chocolate is composed of dark chocolate that uses approximately half as much sugar as found in sweet chocolate. It is also composed of milk products. Bittersweet or dark chocolate is composed of either unsweetened chocolate or chocolate liquor and may have a minimal amount of sugar added. Dark chocolate tends to have approximately 1/3 of the amount of sugar found in other chocolates and does not use much milk, if any. Due to the low chocolate high cocoa content, dark chocolate is associated with being the healthiest of all chocolate forms. Unsweetened chocolate is usually found in the form of unsweetened cocoa or in unsweetened chocolate baking bars. The amount of cocoa in dark chocolate varies, but due to its reduced sugar and milk content, has a higher chocolate percentage, is lower in fat, and lower in calories. Those who wish to eat chocolate for its health benefits will find the darker the chocolate, the greater the benefits.
One of the first questions asked about white chocolate is if it is really created from cocoa. When choosing white chocolate it is imperative to check the ingredients as you will find that there are many products on the market that are referred to as white chocolate yet do not contain cocoa. The U.S. Government regulates how much cocoa is included in white chocolate in order to legally be classified as white chocolate. True white chocolate is made from cocoa butter, sugar, milk, and is a pale yellow color. There are many who develop an affinity for its smooth, mellow taste, however, white chocolate carries very little health benefits. When choosing chocolate for health advantages, such as for flavonoids or antioxidants, a better choice is dark chocolate. If enjoying white chocolate for its delicious taste, keep in mind that the food product is rich in calories and fat and should be consumed in moderation.