Chocolate Glossary!


A chocolate-coconut cordial made in Sierra Leone.

Known as the best type of chocolate for baking,
it is made from chocolate liquid which has been cooled and molded into blocks. Also Known As: Unsweetened Chocolate.


A dark chocolate containing a minimum of 35% chocolate liquor as a general rule. In spite of that ruling, bittersweet usually contains about 50% chocolate liquor. Semi-sweet chocolate falls more into the 35% range. Can be used interchangeably with baking chocolate. Also Known As: Semi-sweet blocs, squares, bits.

Cocoa butter, the fatty part of chocolate, can solidify into different crystalline forms at different temperatures. This means that untempered chocolate is vulnerable to changes in temperature. Chocolate must be tempered to stabilize it before use, or crystals may form, causing what is called “bloom”. This can appear as a white film on the surface of chocolate, and in some cases the chocolate may become soft or crumbly. While bloom is unwanted, it is not harmful and chocolate with bloom is still safe to eat.

Cocoa powder which contains at least 22% cocoa butter.

The cacao tree (Theobroma cacao) is a native of South America. Its fruit is a large pod which can contain many imbedded seeds. The pod is fermented, then the seeds are removed, cured and roasted. The end results are called nibs. Cacao has a high fat, carbohydrate and protein content. Besides chocolate, cacao is used in the preparation of cosmetics and medicines.

The most common type is creme de cacao, and is found in many chocolate-based drinks. There are also many other specialty chocolate liqueurs available.

This is the basic building block from which all chocolate and cocoa products are developed. It comes from ground nibs. Also Known As: Chocolate Liquor.

A shop or a candymaker that creates and sells chocolate confections.

Seeds from the pod of the cacao tree (Theobroma cacao), native to Amazon forests. The center of the cocoa bean is called the nib, from which chocolate is made.

The vegetable fat contained in a cocoa bean. It is a yellowish-white fat. It is removed from chocolate liquid by using high pressure.


The portion of chocolate liquid that remains after most of the cocoa butter is removed. It is an unsweetened powder. Different types of cocoa powder include breakfast cocoa, medium and low fat cocoas, and Dutch process cocoa.

Raw unprocessed chocolate is not yet ready to eat, because it is too gritty. To make it smooth, liquid and rich, it is rolled and kneaded until it achieves the desired state. Special machines designed to perform this action contain rollers that are shaped like conches, giving the process its name.

A blend of sugar, vegetable oil, cocoa powder and other products. Vegetable oil is used in place of cocoa butter to reduce costs, and to cause it to melt easily and then harden quickly. It is really more of a chocolate-flavored candy, not a true chocolate. It can be used to coat fruit bits, and for other decorating purposes. Also Known As: Compound or Decorator’s Chocolate.


For a chocolate to be couverture it must contain at least 32% cocoa butter. Some couverture chocolates contain up to 39% cocoa butter. The addition of this extra cocoa butter give it the right texture and consistency to be used for hand-dipping chocolates. It can also be used to enrobe a candy, which means that the chocolate is poured over the candy to coat it. Also Known As: Coating Chocolate, Enrobing Chocolate

Cocoa powder which has been treated with alkali to neutralize acidity. The process creates a darker, milder chocolate.

Ganache is used to glaze cakes, or can be beaten until fluffy to use as fillings for truffles and other candies. It is made by mixing chopped semi-sweet chocolate with boiling cream, then stirring until smooth.

Cocoa powder containing less than 10% cocoa butter.

Cocoa powder containing between 10% and 22% cocoa butter.

Milk chocolate is made by combining chocolate liquid, extra cocoa butter, milk or cream, sweetening, and flavorings. This chocolate is generally considered the best for eating, because of its sweetness.

A wooden stick with rings attached to the bottom. It is used to whip chocolate drinks to make them foam on top.

After cocoa beans are fermented and roasted, the nibs, which are the center of the bean, are ground and become chocolate liquid. The high fat content is what allows them to become a liquid.


Semi-sweet chocolate is created by blending chocolate liquid with varying amounts of sweetening and extra cocoa butter. Flavorings may be included. Semi-sweet chocolate is available in bar form, but is usually sold in pieces or chips. Semi-sweet contains between 15% and 35% chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, sugar, lecithin, and vanilla. It may be used in recipes that call for bittersweet or sweet chocolate, but is not interchangeable with milk chocolate. Also Known As: Semi-sweet blocs, squares, bits, chocolate chips, morsels.

Made by mixing chocolate liquor with sweeteners and extra cocoa butter. Flavorings may be included. Sweet chocolate is usually molded into bars. It contains a minimum of 15% chocolate liquor.

A method of preparing chocolate so that it will not develop fat bloom. Chocolate that will be used for dipping or coating must be tempered, which also gives it a glossy quality, free of streaks. The classic tempering method is to melt chocolate until it is lump free. Then 1/3 of the chocolate is poured onto a marble slab, spread and worked back and forth with a metal spatula until it becomes thick and reaches a temperature of about 80 degrees. This chocolate is then added back to the remaining 2/3 of the melted chocolate and stirred. The process is repeated until the entire mixture reaches 88-92 degrees for semi-sweet chocolate, 84-87 degrees for milk or white chocolate. Care must be taken not to over temper chocolate, which brings it back to its original state – grainy and susceptible to fat bloom.

Chocolate liquid which has been cooled and molded into blocks. This is the best type for baking or cooking. Also Known As: Bitter Chocolate.

Not a true chocolate, since it does not contain cocoa solids. It is a mixture of sugar, cocoa butter, milk solids, lecithin, and vanilla. If cocoa butter is not mentioned, the product is a confectionary or summer coating, not white chocolate. You need to be careful when melting white chocolate because it is more fragile than true chocolates.

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