Different Chocolates Are Not Interchangeable

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
Both recipe writers and cooks need to be as precise as possible about the kinds of chocolate they use. Different chocolates have very different proportions of cocoa butter, cocoa particles, and sugar. The proportions of cocoa particles and sugar are especially important when chocolate is combined with wet ingredients. Sugar dissolves into syrup, thereby increasing the volume of a preparation’s liquid phase and contributing fluidity, while cocoa particles absorb moisture, decrease the volume of the liquid phase, and reduce fluidity. A recipe developed for sweet chocolate may fail badly if it’s made with a 70% premium bittersweet chocolate, which has far more drying cocoa particles and far less syrup-making sugar.