Styling and Photography by Laurie Mosco
When it comes to confections, chocolate is king. Chocolate sales totaled 16.7 billion in 2021 — the highest of any confectionery category (National Confectioner’s Association)! Milk Chocolate even has a national day dedicated in its honor (this year that’s July 28)! It’s true —we all love chocolate. But are you familiar with the major terms in chocolate making? Having a better understanding of how chocolate is made can help you to better direct customers to their chocolate favorites, while also serving up reasons to try new items, too.
Time to mold your mind – read on for the top terms to know related to chocolate making.
Bean To Bar
Bean to Bar is a term we’re seeing used a lot lately in the chocolate space. Popular with craft chocolate makers, like Raaka Chocolate, bean to bar indicates that the manufacturer processes the cocoa beans used to create their chocolate. This allows the maker to have even more control of the chocolate’s overall flavor.
Bittersweet chocolate is a sophisticated flavor that comes from the high ratio of cacao to sugar in the finished chocolate. Bittersweet chocolate is dark chocolate used in chocolate making and baking that has less than 50% sugar added.
Blend Chocolate is exactly what it sounds like — chocolate made with a blend of cocoa beans from various countries and/or regions.
When it comes to chocolate, bloom has nothing to do with growing and everything to do with the white film that appears on chocolate. Bloom happens when chocolate is kept at too cold of a temperature, causing its fat to come to the surface, and that pesky white film to emerge. Bloom also appears when chocolate melts and then cools. When it solidifies, fat is drawn to the surface.
A baking staple, cocoa powder is the leftover dried cocoa solids produced when all the cocoa butter is removed from cocoa beans during processing. Cocoa powder is used to create a rich chocolate flavor in baked goods.
Conching is one of the most important steps in the chocolate making process. It’s when liquid chocolate is mixed, agitated, and aerated to evenly distribute cocoa butter and develop flavor and character. This is the final stage of processing cocoa beans for chocolate making and where each manufacturer adds their signature mark to the flavor of their chocolate.
Dutched or Dutch (Alkalized) Cocoa
Dutched or Dutch (aka Alkalized) Cocoa is cocoa powder made from ground cocoa beans that have been washed with a potassium solution to bring the pH up to 7, which produces a milder chocolate flavor when used in baking. The cocoa powder type was given name “Dutch” in honor of the Dutch chemist who created the process.
Enrobed is the chocolate making process where the center of a chocolate candy (like caramel) is made FIRST and THEN put through a machine called an enrober to evenly coat the piece in a crisp, chocolate coating.
This is an easy one! Filled chocolate is any piece of chocolate with a center filling.
Ganache is a whipped mixture of chocolate and cream that often makes an appearance as fillings for truffles, as well as glazes for baked goods.
Hand-Dipped is the same process as enrobing minus the machine. Here the center of a chocolate candy is made first and then coated by hand in a thin, crisp chocolate coating. The hand-dipped process is also used for chocolate covered cherries, and other fruit (candied, dried, or fresh).
Molding is the process of pouring liquid chocolate into a mold (plastic, metal, or silicone) to create a shaped chocolate. Think chocolate bunnies at Easter or chocolate Santas and trees at Christmas.
Nibs are crumbled bits of dried cacao beans used to add intense chocolate flavor to sweet and savory dishes like Endangered Species Cacao Nibs + Dark Chocolate Bar or Jelina Chocolatier 75% Dark Chocolate Cocoa Nibs Bar.
One Shot Molding
One shot Molding is where a chocolate confection is made all in one shot. More specifically, it’s a manufacturing process for filled chocolate bars or pieces where the filling is injected directly into the center of the piece while the chocolate shell is poured at the same time. This is often the process used for pralines.
It you’ve ever enjoyed chocolate covered nuts, raisins, or dried berries, then you’ve tasted the results of panning. It’s the process of coating nuts, dried fruit, or other centers in chocolate. During the process, melted chocolate is tumbled around a pan that looks like a large kettle, constantly moving the centers to evenly coat each piece. Sometimes confectioners glaze is added to give the finished product a lustrous shine.
Semi sweet is a dark chocolate used in chocolate making and baking that contains more sugar than bittersweet chocolate contains, as well as added cocoa butter.
Chocolate cups your favorite? You can thank shell molding. Shell molding is a process used to make a filled chocolate cup, chocolate bar, or piece where a thin layer of chocolate is poured into a mold first to create an outer shell, then the filling is added and topped off with additional chocolate.
Single Origin Chocolate
Single origin is another term getting popular with premium chocolate makers. This means the chocolate is made with cocoa beans sourced from one single region, like Beyond Good By Madecasse Bars, made with cocoa beans from Uganda.
Chocolate’s signature sheen is made possible by tempering. Tempering is the process of heating and cooling chocolate in chocolate making to achieve a glossy sheen, to prevent it from easily melting when handled, and to allow the chocolate to set well for use in hand-dipped chocolates (see above).
You are now a chocolate making expert.
Time to put that new chocolate knowledge to the test and amp up your premium chocolate selection.
Nassau Candy’s Specialty Showcase Chocolate is a great place to start.