Selecting a high-quality chocolate can be overwhelming and confusing. A very easy way to test its quality is by hearing it. Yes, you read correctly…by checking if it “clicks” when you tear it apart. Higher quality chocolate makes a sharp click, a harder noise due to its reduced sugar and fat content compared to milk chocolate.
But what about the different listed ingredients? Here is the breakdown, let’s go over how chocolate is made:
- The cacao tree produces pods containing cocoa nibs which are fermented and roasted.
- Cacao beans are broken and deshelled, resulting in cacao nibs which is the flesh of the bean. Nibs are about 50-60% cocoa butter. Coco bean has a fruit flavor, what gives chocolate its bitter taste is dependent on how long they roast and ferment the bean.
What’s the difference between ingredients?
Chocolate is made from cocoa (cacao), mixed with fat (e.g., cocoa butter) and finely powdered sugar to produce a solid chocolate bar or chip.
In the American chocolate industry, it means:
Chocolate liquor: the ground or melted state of the nib of the cacao bean, containing about equal parts cocoa butter and solids.
Cocoa butter: the fat component of the bean.
Cocoa solids: the remaining nonfat part of the cocoa bean, which is ground into a powder.
Bittersweet chocolate: unsweetened chocolate to which they add some sugar (less than 33%) more cocoa butter, vanilla flavor and sometimes lecithin as an emulsifier. It usually has less sugar and more liquor than semisweet chocolate.
Unsweetened chocolate (bitter or baking chocolate): pure chocolate liquor mixed with some form of fat to produce a solid substance.
Semisweet chocolate: dark chocolate with 50% less sugar as cocoa (sweet chocolate) and does not contain milk solids.
Why is dark chocolate better?
The primary health-promoting benefit of dark chocolate 🍫comes from its high levels of its potent antioxidants ➖flavonoids. These are important because they protect cells and tissues from damage by free radicals 💪which are unstable molecules that can alter and weaken cells.
Most of the studies that have measured the health benefits of dark chocolate have used serving sizes of about 1.5 to 3 ounces.
✔️ It may help improve blood flow preventing artery blockage
✔️Can help raise “good” cholesterol
It would work best if you REPLACE it with another sweet or chocolate instead of adding it to whichever you already eat.
How to select the best dark chocolate:
- Shop for a bar with at least 70% cocoa beans.
- Cocoa or chocolate liquor is listed as the first ingredient.
- There may be several forms of cocoa listed, such as cocoa powder, cocoa nibs and cocoa butter, which are acceptable additions to dark chocolate.
- Avoid chocolates made with trans fats, milk, artificial flavors, fructose or large amounts of sugar.