Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Check Icon Print Icon Note Icon Heart Icon Filled Heart Icon Single Arrow Icon Double Arrow Icon Hamburger Icon TV Icon Close Icon Sorted Hamburger/Search Icon
Ingredient

Bittersweet Chocolate

Buy Now
Save to Recipe Box
Print
Add Private Note
Buy Now
Saved Add to List

    Add to List

Print
Add Recipe Note
Buy Now

What is it?

Whether a chocolate is called unsweetened, bittersweet, or semisweet depends mostly on the percentage of cacao the chocolate contains. As the cacao percentage increases, the chocolate itself will taste more intensely chocolatey and less sweet. Bittersweet chocolate generally contains less sugar than semisweet and is called for in recipes that are looking for deep, intense chocolate flavor. But the distinction between the two types becomes hazy between brands.

Don’t have it?

Semisweet chocolate can usually be substituted with success.

How to choose:

Today, supermarkets and specialty shops offer semisweet and bittersweet chocolates that range from 54% to more than 70% cacao. The choice is exciting, but chocolates with radically different cacao percentages can produce radically different results. Unless a recipe specifies a very high-percentage chocolate, stick with bittersweet chocolate in the 54 to 60% cacao range.

How to prep:

While most recipes call for a double boiler for melting chocolate, a wide, shallow skillet of water with a stainless-steel bowl of chocolate sitting directly in it can work better. The open bath lets you see and adjust the water if it begins to boil or simmer too actively, whereas the water in a double boiler is usually out of sight and thus trickier to monitor. Just as chocolate in a double boiler will scorch if the cook is inattentive, chocolate in an open bath must also be watched carefully, stirred frequently, and removed from the bath when melted.

How to store:

Well-wrapped and stored in a cool, dry place, dark chocolate has an indefinite shelf life. However, its high fat content means it can easily pick up other flavors, so be careful of what you store near it.

Click here to purchase

    Recipes

  • chocolate-rye blackout cookies
    Recipe

    Double Chocolate Rye Blackout Cookies

    These superdecadent, bittersweet cookies are excerpted from the Joys of Baking by Samantha Seneviratne, and inspired by Dorie Greenspan’s aptly named World Peace Cookies.

  • Neapolitan cookies
    Recipe

    Italian Neapolitan Cookies

    These buttery cookies are a traditional Italian treat and easier to make than they look. The recipe uses one dough divided onto three portions and flavored with almond, mocha, and…

  • pistachio-cherry biscotti
    Recipe

    Chocolate-Dipped Cherry-Pistachio Biscotti

    These sweet and tart cookies are crunchy because they’re baked twice, which makes them ideal for dunking into espresso or dessert wine. Dipping them in melted chocolate is optional, but…

  • chocolate espresso cream pie
    Recipe

    Chocolate Espresso Cream Pie

    A layer of rich chocolate ganache under mocha pudding might seem like overkill, but is heaven sent for chocolate lovers. A little espresso powder gives the whipped-cream topping some edge.

  • Recipe

    Milky Swirl Brownies

    These rich, almost creamy brownies are an amazing treat for chocolate lovers. The condensed milk lightly caramelizes at the brownie edges during baking. You might not want to share those…

  • Recipe

    Chocolate Raspberry Charlotte Royale

    Deep chocolate cake and ganache with a creamy raspberry interior and a stunning presentation make this showstopper the perfect end to any celebratory meal. See the article for step-by-step photos.…

  • Recipe

    Hazelnut White Chocolate Cheesecake Bars

    These sophisticated cookies combine the flavors of earthy hazelnuts and sweet white chocolate. Depending on your craving, you can finish these bars with either bittersweet chocolate ganache or sour cream…

  • Recipe

    Mint Chocolate Bars

    A minty buttercream gets sandwiched between two layers of chocolate goodness: a chewy brownie and a rich ganache. The crème de menthe gives the buttercream the perfect hint of holiday…

  • Recipe

    Chocolate Chunk Skillet Cookies with Toasted Coconut and Pecans

    These cookies are excellent made into sundaes; the slight dip in the middle of a mini skillet cookie makes a perfect hollow for the ice cream. If you don't have…

  • Recipe

    Double Chocolate-Tahini Skillet Cookie

    Tahini (sesame paste) adds a welcome savory element to this brownielike cookie.

Comments

Leave a Comment

Comments

  • APonKP | 11/20/2015

    Today there are specialty chocolates, like Tccho Unsweetened at 99%. These are delicious and I would like to use them in something like a flourless chocolate cake. It would be helpful to have instructions on how to adjust a recipe written many years ago.

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Delicious Dish

Find the inspiration you crave for your love of cooking

Fine Cooking Magazine

Subscribe today
and save up to 44%

Already a subscriber? Log in.

Videos

View All

Connect

Follow Fine Cooking on your favorite social networks

Subscribe

We hope you’ve enjoyed your free articles. To keep reading, subscribe today.

Get the print magazine, 25 years of back issues online, over 7,000 recipes, and more.

See my options