There’s nothing better to sweeten your day than a piece of chocolate—and it’s not just because of the delicious taste. Studies show that eating it increases the amount of serotonin, an antidepressant, and the release of feel-good endorphins in your brain.
Derived from the cocoa plant cacao, chocolate is mixed with fat, such as cocoa butter or oil, and sugar to produce the sweet, edible version. And some forms, including dark chocolate and cocoa, contain anti-oxidants that potentially reduce the risk of heart disease.
So now that you can feel less guilty about indulging yourself, all you have to do is decide which chocolate to use!
Types of Chocolate
Don’t look to satisfy your sweet tooth with this type. It’s pure chocolate liquor from ground chocolate beans, and it has a bitter taste. However, it is used as a base for a variety of baked goods because sugar is usually added. Test the theory by trying our recipe for chocolate fudge.
Created by adding milk powder, this type is probably the most popular for its extra sweet taste. Join the trend by trying our recipes for milk chocolate-malt brownies or chocolate heart peanut butter cookies.
This type is not as sweet as its counterparts and does not include milk as an additive. Semi-sweet chocolate is a form of dark chocolate with lower sugar content, but it has slightly more sugar than bittersweet chocolate, which is Europe’s version of dark chocolate. Go dark with our recipe for dark chocolate raspberry fondue or wild blue energy chews.
Removing cocoa liquor from milk chocolate will give you white chocolate, which has a rich, dairy taste. Get creative with our recipes for white chocolate lime bars or white chocolate cheesecake.
Chocolate should be stored in a dry, cool place that is between 60°F and 78°F. If the temperature is higher or if humidity is above 50%, trying wrapping it in a moisture-proof wrap. It can be stored in a fridge, but let it stand at room temperature before serving.
Because it can burn easily, chocolate should be melted slowly. For microwaving, chop it up into small pieces (it will melt easier this way) and put it in a microwave-safe container or heat on medium power for a minute at a time, stirring in between until the chocolate is completely melted. Make sure no water comes into contact with it because it will clump or seize.
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