Whether you yourself are a professional baker or you just have a personal passion for delicious homemade baked goods and confections, a little clarity is helpful from time to time. The culinary world - and that includes the world of baking and confectionery - is rife with tall tales and myths, so today we’ll take a look at semi-sweet baking chocolate, what it is, and how you can use it.
Baking chocolate, in general, is a hardened form of chocolate liquor that contains high percentages of both cocoa solids and cocoa butter. It is often hard and fairly brittle and has a very potent, very bitter flavor. It is also high in theobromine which is partially responsible for chocolate’s distinct gustatory signature. Most baker’s chocolate is also meant to stand up well to heat and so it is often used in a number of different baked goods that we will explore shortly. Some baker’s chocolate is unsweetened, but it occasionally has sugar added to it to help mitigate some of the bitterness, in which case it may be called sweetened or semi-sweet.
Unlike milk chocolate and compound chocolates, which have milk or oils adding to them, causing them to melt more easily, baking chocolate is ideal for making some of these popular treats.
Brownies may be the single most iconic baked good that frequently makes use of semi-sweet or even regular baker’s chocolate. Don’t use chocolate chips or cocoa powder unless the recipe you are using actually calls for it, as these can alter not only the flavor of the finished brownies but also the texture and consistency. Remember, adhere to your recipe as closely as possible, but it never hurts to try out little tricks like adding a drizzle more vegetable oil for super-moist brownies or another ounce of semi-sweet chocolate for rich, powerful flavor.
Not all cakes are chocolate cakes, but those that are never are better than when they are made with a dosage of special care in addition to high-quality bakers chocolate. Sometimes a recipe calls for the extremely rich, even overpowering flavor of unsweetened baker’s chocolate, but sometimes a recipe calls for sweetened or semi-sweet baking chocolate. If it does, be ready a satisfying chocolate flavor that you can imitate with chocolate substitutes or even weaker forms of chocolate like milk chocolate.
Just as with cake, not all cookies are chocolate, but there are some deliciously satisfying recipes for fudge and double fudge cookies out there that will sate your cravings for cocoa and then some. Look around to find a recipe you want to try, and remember to use the baking chocolate it calls for, but experiment between the number of eggs, butter, or shortening you use to come up with the perfectly crisp or the ideally gooey chocolate cookie.
Frosting and Icing
If you make your own frosting or icing, then you will have total control over the finished product. Some people like a somewhat chalky and crumbling icing and some love a lush, thick buttercream. Either way, the finished product is up to you. It takes a lot of skill and experience to make really good homemade frosting with baker’s chocolate, too, but with a little practice and attention, you’ll become proficient at melting together the butter, chocolate, sugar, and maybe even milk for the perfect consistency.
Fudge can be really tricky to learn how to make, and there are a lot of recipes out there; some call for differing amounts of cream, butter and sugar, and even more important than the composition of the ingredients is how carefully you attend the cooking temperature and duration to get that perfectly smooth finished fudged. In some recipes, regular baker’s chocolate would be far too bitter for a pleasantly finished fudge, which can make semi-sweet baking chocolate perfect for some recipes.
One fine use of semi-sweet baking chocolate is as decoration, and there are a number of ways you can use it. As we mentioned above, semisweet chocolate is more palatable, especially in nominal amounts, than regular baker’s chocolate. Use a grater to finely grate some semi-sweet chocolate over your finished frosted cakes or cookies for a little extra kick and visual effect. You can even grate a little bit over the foam of hot chocolate to provide the same.
Find It Here!
You’re in the right place to find all of the baking essentials you could possibly need, and that includes semi-sweet chocolate for baking. Check out our collection of essential ingredients and if you have any questions at all on our products or would like some advice, remember that our team is only a call away. You can reach us at 724-274-6314; we’d love the chance to hear from you and get to learn what you value as a customer!