What Is the Difference Between German Sweet Chocolate & Semi-Sweet Chocolate?

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Semi-sweet and German sweet chocolate are two forms of dark chocolate. They contain chocolate liquor, cocoa butter and sugar, plus emulsifiers and vanilla or vanilla flavoring. The proportions of chocolate liquor and sugar differ between these two types of chocolate. They also differ in flavor and their cooking and baking applications. German sweet chocolate is sweeter than semi-sweet chocolate and has a milder chocolate flavor.

History of German Sweet Chocolate

  • Contrary to popular belief, the origin of German sweet chocolate is American, not German. German sweet chocolate is a style of chocolate developed by Samuel German of the Baker's Chocolate Company in 1852. It was created as a snacking chocolate bar. German sweet chocolate is also called German's sweet chocolate, German chocolate and sweet dark chocolate.

Sugar

  • German sweet chocolate is sweeter than semi-sweet chocolate because it contains a higher proportion of sugar. Semi-sweet chocolate is made by adding sugar to unsweetened chocolate. According to the editors of "Cooks Illustrated," semi-sweet chocolate contains an average of 50 percent sugar depending on the brand. German sweet chocolate contains more sugar than semi-sweet chocolate, typically 60 percent or more.

Chocolate Liquor

  • All chocolates are made from roasted cacao beans. The beans are ground to form a thick liquid called chocolate liquor. The amount of chocolate liquor in a processed chocolate product corresponds to the intensity of chocolate flavor. Semi-sweet chocolate contains at least 35 percent chocolate liquor. German sweet chocolate contains at least 15 percent chocolate liquor.

Uses

  • Semi-sweet chocolate is used in cookies, brownies, cakes, puddings, frostings and sauces. It is sold in squares and more commonly as chips that tend to resist melting and hold their shape when heated because they contain less cocoa butter than chocolate bars or squares. German sweet chocolate is sold in bars by Baker's and is usually melted or grated and added to baked goods. It is mainly used in German chocolate cake and other baked goods when a mild chocolate flavor is desired. Its muted chocolate flavor makes it a poor choice for frostings, sauces and deeply chocolate-flavored baked goods that benefit from a more pronounced chocolate flavor.

References

  • "Cooks Illustrated"; Chocolate 101; Sean Lawlor; November/December 2005
  • "American Classics"; The Editors of Cooks Illustrated; 2002
  • "Chocolate From the Cake Mix Doctor"; Anne Byrn; 2001
  • Photo Credit Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
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