What is Baking Chocolate?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 17 October 2016
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Baking chocolate is chocolate that is intended for use in baking. It does not taste very good in plain form, but when combined with other ingredients to make things like cakes, cookies, and brownies, it provides a very intense chocolate flavor. Many markets carry this chocolate in their baking supply sections. It is also possible to order specialty baking chocolate directly from chocolate producers.

The production of chocolate is a long and involved process. It starts with the harvesting and fermentation of the cocoa beans. The beans are slowly ground, causing the cocoa butter in the beans to melt while the chocolate solids are broken down. The result is a thick mass which is known as chocolate liquor, which can be blended with cocoa butter, milk, sugar, and other ingredients to make a wide assortment of chocolate products. In the case of baking chocolate, the chocolate liquor is packaged as-is, with no additions, making it a very pure form of chocolate.

In addition to basic baking chocolate, it is also possible to find bittersweet and semisweet chocolate, which has been blended with sugar. Many bakers prefer to use unsweetened, because the flavor is stronger, and because some recipes call specifically for this type. Semisweet varieties in an unsweetened recipe may throw the balance off, causing a fundamental alteration in the recipe.


The advantage to using unsweetened chocolate is that the baker has total control over the level of sweetness in the finished product. It also has a concentrated chocolate flavor, since it has not been blended or adulterated, with a more pure taste. Parents often find that this chocolate carries another advantage: young residents of the household will not nibble away at it, because it tastes extremely bitter when eaten plain.

A number of specialty chocolatiers make gourmet baking chocolate, often with a very high price tag. The value of this chocolate varies considerably, and bakers who are considering buying a fancy brand may want to do a taste test before they commit. The key determining factor in terms of quality is the source of the beans and the way in which they are handled. Cocoa beans have a range of flavors that can be easily identified in chocolate liquor form. Bakers who like dark and bittersweet chocolate products produced by a company will probably enjoy their baking chocolate, but if they find an off taste or flavor in their chocolate, it is likely to be even stronger in the unsweetened form, gourmet or not.


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Post 11

White baking chocolate burns quicker than the regular kind. You have to adjust your oven temperature accordingly if you are going to be substituting it for regular baking chocolate.

I put chunks of white chocolate into my chocolate chip cookies instead of using chocolate chunks. The chunks turned brown and tasted a little bit like burnt cookies, even though the dough around them was not overcooked at all.

I have learned to turn my oven on 325 instead of 350 when making white chocolate chunk cookies. The cookie itself doesn't get as well done, but I love gooey cookie dough, so it doesn't matter to me.

Post 10

When a recipe calls for baking chocolate, cocoa powder is what I like to use instead. It is already in a form that can be stirred into the liquid ingredients, and I like skipping the step of melting the baking chocolate.

My cookbook has a conversion chart, and it says that for every ounce of baking chocolate you use, you can substitute three tablespoons of cocoa powder plus one tablespoon of oil or butter. I buy butter in a carton, so it is already soft enough to be creamed in with the cocoa and sugar.

Post 9

@SarahSon – Sometimes baking chocolate will develop what's called “chocolate bloom.” This is when a white layer of film develops on top of it, and though it looks like mold, it is really harmless.

Usually, if chocolate has been stored in a warm place and then moved to a dry place, you will see this crackly white appearance on top. However, it doesn't affect the flavor at all. I have baked with chocolate like this that had been in the cupboard for seven months, and I could not detect a difference in flavor.

Post 8

@SarahSon-- There should be an expiration date on your box of baking chocolate. I also make sure to keep mine well wrapped. If I use only part of a bar, I will wrap it up and store it in an bag.

My mom told me to never store baking chocolate next to a place that generates heat like your oven or dishwasher. It is best to store it in a cool, dark place and then it should be good up until the expiration date with no problem.

Post 7

How do you know if baking chocolate is still good? I have always stored this in the cupboard and if it has been in there too long, it doesn't like that great.

Would it last longer if I stored it in the refrigerator instead of up in the cupboard?

Post 6

I love dark chocolate, but this is still different than baking chocolate. What I love about using baking chocolate is you can get such a pure cocoa taste.

If you like a rich, chocolaty taste, using this type of chocolate will give you just that. I read once where you will get the best tasting baking chocolate if they use only cocoa butter.

If you look at the list of ingredients and they also use something like palm oil, you probably won't get as much of the intense chocolate flavor you are hoping for. You might pay less for it, but will notice a difference in the quality.

Post 5

I remember the first time I took a bite of a bar of baking chocolate. I was expecting the sweet taste of chocolate that I love, and was so surprised when it tasted bitter and wasn't sweet at all.

This was my first experience with baking chocolate, and I wasn't so sure I liked it! My mom always kept a box of Baker's chocolate in the cupboard, and she didn't have to worry about it disappearing before she was ready to use it.

Post 4

@gameaddicted - I really like that you recommended another chocolate for baking. I also like that this article discusses the reasons for using unsweetened chocolate and it makes a very valid point when it says that the baker has complete control over the sweetness. Some people just can't handle a lot of sugar and I'm sure it would be better to develop a recipe with baking chocolate for people who are diabetic and have it still taste as decadent as if you were using tons of sugar. You could even combine the sugar and a substitute if you wanted.

Post 3

@BelugaWhale - I agree. I really like the Baker's brand and think it's one of the best chocolates for baking. It usually comes in bars that you just break up and plop into the recipe. Ghirardelli baking chocolate is a little expensive, but is really good as well. You might actually want to try it in that recipe you were discussing to see if there is any difference in richness or texture.

Post 2

@empanadas - I know the cookies you're talking about. We usually make them during the holidays. I like that the article mentions Baker's baking chocolate because I think it's quite possibly the best baking chocolate out there. I have seen it used in countless deserts from cookies to cakes to scones and more. It is really great to work with, but yes you could always purchase semi-sweet or milk chocolate to work with as well to eliminate that step of adding sugar and risk making your piece too sweet. Still a great brand, though!

Post 1

Baking chocolate is usually very bitter to taste. This is why you combine it in baking recipes with sugar. There is a great recipe that calls for it that has been in my family for years (it is really from Betty Crocker or something like that). They are called Chocolate Crinkle cookies and they are very, very delicious. It is just one of what I assume is many baking chocolate recipes out there.

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