Chocolate: Master This Versatile Ingredient To Elevate Your Baking
Learn about the different types of chocolate used in baking and how to use them to their full potential
Brownies. Molten lava cake. Chocolate ganache. Truffles. Pain au chocolat. For many, those words alone conjure up feelings of warmth, comfort, and home.
Chocolate is one of the most popular ingredients in baking, used to make some of the best and most decadent desserts around the world. In fact, it’s so ubiquitous that you’d be hard-pressed to find a culture in which chocolate isn’t used.
Because of its widespread use, you’ve most likely baked with chocolate at some point or another in your life. Whether it was making late-night brownies from a brownie mix, or trying to impress your crush with a chocolate cake for their birthday, I’m willing to bet almost every one of you reading this has used chocolate in baking before.
Whether you’re a home cook or a maker of munchies brownies, have you ever stopped to think about what’s in the chocolate you’re using? Or wondered if you can use an ordinary chocolate bar in place of baking chocolate? I know I’ve asked these questions, so I set out to find out everything there is to know about the use of chocolate in baking.
What is chocolate?
Before we talk about the different types of chocolate used in baking, we need to know what chocolate even is.
Growing up, I loved eating chocolate. Twix bars are still my favorite candy, and brownies are my go-to dessert. However, it wasn’t until I started cooking for myself that I paused to think — what is chocolate?
At a high level, every type of chocolate is made from the products of processed cacao seeds: cocoa liquor and cocoa butter.
First, the seeds are harvested from the cacao tree and fermented. This involves leaving the seeds outside and covering them with banana leaves for a few days.