Out of Chocolate? #cooking

As always, understanding what is in something or how it is made is often the key to understanding what can be used to substitute in
its place.

In this case, Chocolate, so lets start at the begining

  • First the process of making Chocolate begins with the Harvest of the ripe cocoa pods twice a year
  • The beans are then scooped out of the pods
  • Then for 5 to 7 days the beans and pulp are fermented
  • Next the beans are dried
  • The beans are then roasted like coffee
  • After roasting the then paper like shell is cracked and removed by winnowing
  • What is left is call the nib

Now we get to the point that becomes important to our discussion as the next few steps tell us what we need for our substitution.

  • The nibs are then ground until they become a paste known as cocoa liquor.
  • This unrefined form of chocolate contains both the cocoa solids and the cocoa butter
  • Using a hydraulic press, or sometimes with the use of water, the cocoa butter is removed leaving behind cocoa solids
  • These solids are then ground into a powder we know as cocoa powder*

To make chocolate

  • Chocolate makers take some of this cocoa butter to cocoa liquor where it is further refined into extremely fine particles. It is at this stage that other ingredients are added, sugar, milk powder (for milk chocolate) and other flavors.
  • The chocolate is then tempered so that the desired type of chocolate crystal is formed.
  • The final step is to mould it into the form desired

So now having an overview of how chocolate is made we know that unsweet chocolate is basically cocoa powder (cocoa liquor with all of the cocoa butter removed) with cocoa butter, or fat, added back in a greater amount than the original liquor had. The sweet or
semisweet forms of chocolate simply have sugar added and the milk chocolate additionally has dry milk added.

Ingredient Substitute
unsweetened chocolate
1 ounce (1 square)
3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder plus 1 Tbsp. shortening, butter, coconut oil or margarine
semisweet chocolate
1 ounce (1 square)
1 ounce (1 square) unsweetened chocolate (or substitute above) plus 3 Tbsp. sugar
Sweet Bakers (german)
1 ounce (1 square)
1 ounce (1 square) unsweetened chocolate (or substitute above) plus 4 Tsp sugar
milk chocolate
1 ounce (1 square)
1 ounce (1 square) sweet or semisweet chocolate


* Dutch process cocoa powder (also sometimes called “alkalized,” “European style,” or “Dutched”) is washed with a potassium carbonate solution that neutralizes cocoa’s acidity from about 5 or 6 to a pH of 7, that of water. Since Dutch process cocoa isn’t acidic, it doesn’t react with alkaline leaveners like baking soda to produce carbon dioxide. That’s why recipes that use Dutch process cocoa are usually leavened by baking powder, which has a neutral pH.

Ingredient Substitute
Dutched Cocoa Powder
(3 Tbsp)
3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder plus 1/8 Tsp baking soda

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