Along with cocoa, chocolates contain fats like cocoa butter or plant oils, and powdered sugar. The result is a solid confection, which is one of the most popular foods in the world. Chocolate is also a favorite flavor throughout the world. Chocolates can be of several different types, that can be prepared by simply altering the quantities of cocoa and other ingredients.
The chocolate that is more commonly consumed is 'sweet chocolate', which basically combines cocoa solids, cocoa butter or other types of fats, and sugar. Dark chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, milk chocolate, and semisweet chocolate are some other popular varieties, of which bittersweet chocolate is commonly used in baking and cooking.
What is Bittersweet Chocolate?
It is the chocolate that contains a small amount of sugar, along with chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, and sometimes, vanilla and lecithin. It can be considered a sweetened form of dark chocolate. According to FDA (Food and Drug Administration) of the United States, chocolates that contain at least 35% cocoa liquor are bittersweet chocolates. This value can be greater in some high quality bittersweet chocolates. Due to their high cocoa content, such bittersweet chocolates usually possess a more intense flavor. They can be eaten like sweet chocolates, or used for baking and cooking. They are usually found in the form of chips, bars, and chunks.
Replacing Bittersweet Chocolate in the Kitchen
Many times, the term bittersweet chocolate and semisweet chocolate are used interchangeably. Both the types are occasionally termed as 'couverture', which means that these chocolates contain at least 32% cocoa butter. However, bittersweet chocolate usually contains more chocolate liquor and less sugar, as compared to semisweet chocolate. But still, both can be substituted for each other in baking with good results. Some semisweet chocolates can also contain up to 35% chocolate liquor, and so, they can be quite similar to some bittersweet chocolates.
Semisweet chocolate can be ideal for cookie and brownie recipes. However, many pastry chefs prefer bittersweet chocolate over semisweet chocolate, due to its rich chocolate flavor. You can add some cocoa powder or unsweetened chocolate to semisweet chocolate, in order to make it a better substitute for bittersweet chocolate. Semisweet chocolate is usually available in the form of bars, chips, and chunks.
Another chocolate that is commonly used to substitute bittersweet chocolate is sweet chocolate. Sweet chocolate contains more sugar than both bittersweet and semisweet chocolates.
You can also use unsweetened chocolate to substitute bittersweet chocolate in a recipe. To replace bittersweet chocolate with unsweetened chocolate in your recipe, you can add some sugar to the unsweetened chocolate.
To sum up, semisweet, sweet, and unsweetened chocolate are the three types of chocolates that can be used in place of bittersweet chocolate in a recipe. However, due to its rich and intense flavor, bittersweet chocolate is usually preferred over sweet and semisweet chocolates. Besides the flavor, it also contains flavonoids and other antioxidant compounds, just like dark chocolate. Therefore, like dark chocolate, consumption of bittersweet chocolate in moderation can be beneficial for our health.