Many people think German chocolate bars originated in Germany because of the name. They actually originated in the United States in the mid 1850s, created by a man named Sam German, and named after their creator. It is similar to semi-sweet chocolate but has added sugar that enhances the sweetness of items baked using it. Substitutions for German chocolate bars include items commonly found in a kitchen pantry.
For every ounce of German chocolate called for in a recipe, substitute one tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa, one tablespoon plus one teaspoon of granulated sugar and one teaspoon of vegetable shortening. Mix in with the other ingredients, stirring well.
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Bittersweet or Semi-Sweet Chocolate
Use one ounce of bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate plus 1/2 tablespoon granulated white sugar for each ounce of German chocolate called for in the recipe. Mix in with the other ingredients and stir well. Baking chips for the chocolate in this substitution work well.
For each ounce of German chocolate required in the recipe, mix three level tablespoons of Dutch-process cocoa with one tablespoon of butter. Dutch cocoa will not react with baking powder because of the alkalization process used when in the production process; use this substitution in recipes that call for baking soda.