Chocolate Glossary- Part I

June is National Candy Month, which means you should be making and eating lots and lots of candy- especially chocolate! But when it comes to candy-making, do you know your chocolate terms?

Check out the terms and definitions below to see how much you know about chocolate and candy-making:

BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE – Also known as semi-sweet. Prepared by blending a minimum of 35% chocolate liquor with varying amounts of sweeteners and cocoa butter.

BLENDING – The process which occurs after roasting and before grinding. Crushed beans are blended, determining the flavor of the chocolate.

CHOCOLATE LIQUOR – Produced by grinding the cocoa bean nib (center) to a smooth, liquid state. Cocoa butter content of 50-58% and fine grind gives chocolate liquor a rich, smooth consistency. Also known as unsweetened baking chocolate.

COCOA BEANS – The source of all chocolate and cocoa. Cocoa beans are found in the pods of the cocoa tree, Theobroma Cacao, which is an evergreen typically grown within 20 degrees of the equator.

COCOA BUTTER – A natural fat that is present in cocoa beans. It is obtained by pressing chocolate liquor.

COCOA POWDER – The result of grinding or pulverizing press cake which is available in different fat levels. May be natural or dutched process.

COMPOUND – Known as a confectionery product. Vegetable oil is substituted for cocoa butter. Confectionery products are typically a blend of sugar, cocoa powder and/or chocolate liquor and a vegetable oil.

DEXTROSE – A corn sweetener. Also termed glucose or corn sugar. Is a reducing sugar and produces a high temperature browning effect in baked goods.

DUTCHED PROCESS – An alkaline treatment of the nib prior to grinding, or the liquor prior to pressing. This process darkens the resultant chocolate liquor or cocoa and modifies the chocolate flavor.

EMULSIFIER – A surface-active agent promoting the formulation and stabilization of an emulsion. Lecithin is an emulsifier used in chocolate manufacturing to help control flow properties.

ENROBING – The act of coating a candy center by pouring chocolate over it. Usually done by mechanical means.

FAT BLOOM – The white cast and soft texture which is the result of poor tempering or exposure of the chocolate to high temperatures. While visually undesirable, the product is safe to eat.

FERMENTATION- A natural process by which bacteria, yeast and molds modify the composition of the cocoa bean, so that when the beans are roasted, they yield characteristic chocolate flavor.

FINENESS – The measurement of the average particle size of the coating solids. Fineness is expressed in ten-thousandths of an inch or microns.

GRINDING – A mechanical process of pulverizing the roasted cocoa bean nib to a smooth liquid known as chocolate liquor.

Information from Merckens.

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