Below you will find some commonly used chocolate terms along with their definitions:
American chocolate truffle – A mixture of dark or milk chocolate using butterfat and occasionally hardened coconut oil.
Antioxidants – Antioxidants are nutrients and enzymes which slow down or prevent cells in tissue from oxidizing.
Baking Chocolate – This term is a synonym for “bitter” or “unsweetened” chocolate. Baking chocolate is made up of approximately 50% cocoa butter.
Bitter Chocolate -This term refers to the chocolate mentioned above and is often referred to as baking chocolate.
Bittersweet Chocolate – This term refers to a dark chocolate that contains on average 30% cocoa butter, a minimum of 50% chocolate liquor and has been sweetened and flavored with sugar and often times vanilla. Bittersweet chocolate does not contain any milk product either dried or liquid. Lecithin is often added to bittersweet chocolate to prevent separation of cocoa and cocoa butter.
Bloom – The formation of a white waxy substance on the outside of chocolate resulting from improper storage. Bloom occurs from sweating chocolate when sugar crystals dissolve in the chocolate and become visible on the outside of the bar or when cocoa butter (the fat within the chocolate) separates from the chocolate and becomes visible on the outside of the chocolate.
Broma process – The process of hanging ground cacao beans in a warm room where cocoa butter drips from the hanging beans rather than being pressed from them.
Cacao Bean – the bean harvested from the cacao pod off the cacao theobroma tree, these beans are processed to create chocolate and cocoa products.
Cocoa Butter – Cocoa butter is a fat which is extracted from the cacao bean or from the cocoa liquor itself.
Cocoa Liquor – Cocoa liquor is the paste that is formed when cacao beans are ground so finely that they turn in to a thick hot paste. Cocoa liquor is extremely bitter.
Cocoa Nibs – Ground up cacao beans.
Cocoa Powder - Cocoa powder results from the cocoa pressing process, after the cocoa butter and chocolate liquor are removed from the bean. There are two types of cocoa powder: natural and alkalized. Natural cocoa is the light brown powder which results from the pressing process. Alkalized or Dutched cocoa powder is what results when cocoa nibs are treated with alkalizing solutions to lower their Ph.
Dark Chocolate – Dark chocolate is made from cocoa liquor, cocoa butter and sugar.
Dufour - The French creator of the first truffle from Chambery, France, this event occurred in 1895.
European chocolate truffle – uses syrup and a base made with milk powder, cocoa powder, and fats, which result in an oil-in-water emulsion.
Flavonoids – Naturally occurring elements which can be found in chocolate (as well as elsewhere). Flavonoids act as anti-oxidants helping to protect the body from the aging process and the damage which occurs from free radicals as we age.
Ganache – Ganache is made by heating heavy cream and once heated it is poured over chopped dark chocolate at a ratio of 2:1 – meaning two parts cream to one part dark chocolate. As chocolate melts under the heated cream the mixture is stirred to combine the ingredients and create the ganache.
Invert Syrup – Invert syrup is a golden yellow substance which is composed of equal parts fructose and glucose. Used as a replacement for sucrose invert syrup is considerably sweeter and when used in baking it provides a golden color to baked goods when used.
Milk Chocolate – Milk chocolate is made from cocoa liquor, cocoa butter, sugar and milk.
Semisweet Chocolate – This term refers to the same type of combination of chocolate as bittersweet chocolate; however, in general semisweet chocolate contains a lower percentage of chocolate liquor (35%.)
Soya lecithin – A byproduct of soy bean oil which can also be extracted from by using a solvent. By adding soy lecithin to their chocolate as an emulsifier chocolate manufacturers prevent separation of the cocoa and cocoa butter elements in their final chocolate product. Without using soya lecithin as an emulsifier in chocolate, chocolate would never reach the correct consistency to result in the confections that we love so much.
Swiss chocolate truffle – Made by pouring melted chocolate into a hot mixture of cream and butter. When the Swiss truffles are set they are usually sprinkled with cocoa powder rather than covered with a hard shell of chocolate. Due to the use of fresh dairy ingredients Swiss truffles have a short shelf life as opposed to their American and European cousins.
Unsweetened Chocolate - This term is also used to refer to “baking chocolate” and is a chocolate that contains 50% cocoa butter and represents the true bitter taste of cacao before it is sweetened.
Vanillin - A compound extracted naturally from vanilla beans or manufactured in labs to add a vanilla flavor to chocolate.
White Chocolate – White chocolate is made from cocoa butter and sugar and absolutely no cocoa liquor at all