The form of chocolate most often used in cake and cookie recipes. While the terms bittersweet and semisweet are often used interchangeably, bittersweet generally has a greater percentage (at least 50 percent) of chocolate liquid. Both have an intense flavor that comes from the quality of the liquor. Sugar, vanilla, and cocoa butter are added for an even richer taste.
“Bittersweet chocolate” is chocolate liquor (or unsweetened chocolate) to which some sugar (less than a third), more cocoa butter, vanilla, and sometimes lecithin has been added. It typically has less sugar and more liquor than semisweet chocolate, but the two are interchangeable when baking. Bittersweet and semisweet chocolates are sometimes referred to as ‘couverture’. Many brands now print on the package the percentage of cocoa in the chocolate (as chocolate liquor and added cocoa butter). The higher the percentage of cocoa, the less sweet the chocolate is.
In March 2007, the Chocolate Manufacturers Association, whose members include Hershey’s, Nestlé, and Archer Daniels Midland, began lobbying the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to change the legal definition of chocolate to allow the substitution of “safe and suitable vegetable fats and oils” (including partially hydrogenated vegetable oils) for cocoa butter in addition to using “any sweetening agent” (including artificial sweeteners) and milk substitutes. Currently, the FDA does not allow a product to be referred to as “chocolate” if the product contains any of these ingredients. To work around this restriction, products with cocoa substitutes are often branded or labeled as “chocolatey” or as in the case of Hershey’s Mr. Goodbar containing vegetable oils, “made with chocolate”.
We are proud to say that Epicurus.com participated in the fight against the change.