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For most people, choosing between white chocolate, milk chocolate or dark chocolate is a personal preference and has nothing to with the ingredients themselves. But have you ever asked yourself, why white chocolate is white, not brown? Or is white chocolate really chocolate? Or maybe you didn’t care, as long as your cravings were satisfied.
Before we indulge ourselves in what white chocolate is exactly, we first must understand the fundamentals of chocolate.
Chocolate in any form comes from the cocoa bean. Chocolate production begins with the harvesting of the cocoa bean pods. The beans, about the size of almonds, are red in color and roasted. After roasting, the shells are removed to leave behind chocolate nibs (cocoa solids and cocoa butter).
Cocoa butter is the main fat content of chocolate while the cocoa solids are what is ground into powder. The cocoa solids determine how light or dark the chocolate ends up being - or white in the case of white chocolate.
Cocoa nibs can be pressed into a nut butter like paste, referred to as chocolate liqueur. The bitter substance contains no alcohol but forms the basis for real chocolate.
Despite the obvious color difference between white and dark chocolate, the biggest contrast is how much cocoa bean solids are in the chocolate. Some argue that white chocolate isn’t actually chocolate because it contains no cocoa solids or liquor. However, it can contain cocoa butter, the main fat of chocolate and has a similar texture to milk chocolate. Yet without the cocoa solids, it technically isn’t chocolate.
Dark chocolate contains the highest percentage of cocoa nibs. The minimum amount is 35 percent but some chocolate products are 85 percent. The higher amount of cocoa, the darker and stronger the chocolate bar is to the palette. Dark chocolate also doesn’t contain any milk solids like white chocolate.
Milk chocolate is roughly 10 to 15 percent cocoa liquor and 12 to 15 percent milk solids. Its sweetness and creaminess come from added sugar and milk.
In 2002, the Food and Drug Administration (FD) established a standard of identity for white chocolate. According to the FDA white chocolate must be at “least 20 percent cocoa butter, at least 14 percent total milk solids, at least 3.5 percent milkfat.”
If the chocolatier doesn’t meet these standards, it can’t be labeled white chocolate. Fortunately, there are some delicious chocolate bars that meet this standard. One thing to look out for is that lower quality white chocolate might use vegetable oil or condensed milk as the milk solids.
White chocolate comes in many forms. The most popular way to consume its creamy goodness is a chocolate bar. However, white chocolate chips make perfect chocolate chip cookies and white chocolate cocoa is a refreshing alternative to dark. Another indulgence is white chocolate orange spread.
So the question of is white chocolate chocolate might not need to be answered when chocolate is concerned. However, for those wanting to know, you can go ahead and say, no, no it isn’t!
There are some obvious differneces between white and dark chocolates. But what you might not have known is that while there are definitely some health benefits to eating dark chocolate, eating white chocolate strips those flavinoids that give chocolate (specifically dark chocolate) any health benefits.