Chocolate Production

Varieties of chocolate

Production of chocolate chip is very labor intensive. The process involves removing cacao beans from pods, then fermenting, drying and roasting them to develop flavor and reduce bitterness.

The cacao beans are then crushed to a thick paste known as chocolate liquor. The liquor can be further processed into two components: cocoa solids and cocoa butter. There is about 53 percent cocoa butter and 47 percent cocoa solids in the liquor.

Chocolate liquor is blended with cocoa butter in varying quantities to make different types of chocolate, including: dark, milk and white. The chocolate liquor can also be cooled and molded into blocks known as unsweetened baking chocolate.

Dark chocolate is produced by adding fat and sugar to cacao. It is chocolate without milk as an additive. Milk chocolate is chocolate with powdered or condensed milk added to it. White chocolate does not contain any cocoa solids as it is made with sugar and fat (like cacao butter or vegetable oils).

Bittersweet and semisweet chocolates each contain at least 35 percent chocolate liquor. Bittersweet chocolate has less sugar and more liquor than semisweet chocolate, but both are interchangeable in baking homemade cookies. Flavor and sweetness vary from brand to brand since there is no specific guideline on the amount of sugar in each. So it's possible that bittersweet from one brand is just as sweet as semisweet from another.

Bittersweet and semisweet chocolates come in blocks, bars and chips. Chocolate chips do contain some vegetable fat that help them retain their shape when baked. So for better results, use chocolate bars or blocks in cookie recipes when they call for melting chocolate.

Picture with permission from Cookies-In-Motion