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Why Bake with Bittersweet?

Fine Cooking Issue 54

In many of our recipes, we call for bittersweet chocolate when we’re looking for deep, intense chocolate flavor. That’s because, in general, bittersweet chocolates contain less sugar and a higher percentage of cocoa (also called chocolate liquor or cacao) than semisweet chocolate. There are no federal standards, however, defining the difference between the two, so the percentage of cocoa in one manufacturer’s semisweet chocolate might be higher than that in another’s bittersweet. (For example, Scharffen Berger’s semisweet chocolate contains 62% cocoa, about the same amount in what many other brands define as their bittersweet chocolate.) If that seems confusing, the good news is that bittersweet and semisweet chocolates are interchangeable in recipes. Just don’t confuse either of the two with unsweetened chocolate. Then you’ll really taste a difference.

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