“Choose COUVERTURE to impress, or grab COMPOUND for less stress. Don’t be a rookie, leave BAKING CHIPS for the cookie.”
Deciding on the right type of chocolate can be overwhelming. There are just so many options! But don’t stress. We are here to help you figure out which type of chocolate will work best for your favorite treats and recipes. The good news is choosing a favorite chocolate is like choosing a favorite drink combination – everyone is so different and unique, but there is a lot of chocolate out there, and you are sure to find something you love! But you have to know what you are looking at. Let’s start with the basics. Here are some of the first things you should know about chocolate.
This is real chocolate. It is usually considered to be of higher quality because it is made of chocolate liquor and cocoa butter. But it cannot simply be melted down. Instead, it has to go through the tempering process (melting the chocolate to just the right temperature to rebuild the cocoa butter crystals that give coverture chocolate creations that extra snap, shine, and sheen). We recommend this type of chocolate if you are looking to make it the main flavor profile in a recipe.
Instead of the chocolate liquor and cocoa butter of couverture chocolate, it is made of cocoa powder and oil (usually soybean, palm kernel, or cottonseed). There is no wax in compound chocolate, as some people believe. It is simply the feeling of the oil on the tongue. And though compound chocolate tastes a little different and has a different mouthfeel, compound chocolate is so easy to melt down and sets up fine with no additional steps. We recommend compound chocolate if you are hoping to use it as an accent flavor, like for caramel apples or dipped pretzel rods.
Also known as chocolate chips, baking chips can be found in both couverture and compound varieties. But they have more solids and less cocoa butter or oil in them. This means the baking chips retain their cute shape when baked and are perfect for things like cookies and brownies. But baking chips should not be used for melting or tempering, because they are more likely to burn.
All varieties of chocolate come in different flavors, including milk, dark, white, semisweet, bittersweet, unsweetened, etc. Want more in depth information? Check out our Guide to Chocolate. And the beautiful thing about using chocolate in your own kitchen is the experimentation. Just because a recipe calls for bittersweet chocolate chips doesn’t mean it will be ruined if you try it with dark chocolate chips. So, how do you know which chocolate will taste best? Our best advice is to try them all!