How To Choose a Quality Chocolate

The truth is all chocolate is not the same. There are some chocolates that are great to use in certain recipes such as Chocolate Ganache and Modeling Chocolate.

I think back to Milton Hershey in his small factory in Hershey, Pennsylvania and wonder if they knew the impact that Chocolate would have on the world of cakes. I could just imagine the varieties of chocolates, oh to be a taste tester ( a woman can dream right!) In this blog post, I will attempt to explain the process for choosing a good quality chocolate.

I have put together a list that I like to use to determine the best type of Chocolates to use for your Modeling Chocolate and Chocolate Ganache recipes. Cocoa or Cocoa Butter is the first ingredient, otherwise, the chocolate may be high in sugar.

  • Cocoa or Cocoa Butter is the first ingredient

The mark of a quality chocolate for your recipes is that the first ingredient is cocoa or cocoa butter. If cocoa butter or cocoa is not the first ingredient, it is usually a sign that the content of the chocolate is high in sugar.

  • Cocoa percentage of at least 60%

Michelle Tampakis of the New York Institute of Culinary Education suggests that a cocoa percentage of 60% is good for snacking and that a cocoa percentage of 80% produces a more bitter flavor that is better suited for baking. The truth is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make a good chocolate ganache or modeling chocolate. I have made both using Nestle Semi-Sweet Morsels and Ghirardelli White Morsels both of which can be found in your local grocery store.

  • Chocolate that is uniform in color

Have you ever seen chocolate with white striations or variations of color? I have usually seen this with Halloween candy that has sat atop the refrigerator or a few months and is ready to be tossed. The color distorts a bit if the chocolate has passed its peak freshness.

  • Chocolate that “snaps” as it breaks

Chocolate that snaps as it breaks and breaks cleanly is a sign a quality chocolate. A quality chocolate shouldn’t crumble as it breaks.

  • Chocolate that is within its best by date

Dark chocolate actually keeps longer than white chocolate, however it is best to use chocolate by its best by date. You should always toss any chocolate that smells or tastes funny; also, keep the chocolate wrapped in its original packaging for best results.

I hope that this post was informative. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think!