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Healthy Diet Plans >>  Chocolate >>  Bittersweet chocolate

What is bittersweet chocolate?

Dark bittersweet chocolate can be described as a type of dark chocolate, which has been sweetened, but does not contain any form of milk, i.e., neither liquid, nor dry milk. Bittersweet chocolate is mainly made from ingredients like cocoa butter, chocolate liquor, sugar and at times, vanilla too. Contrary to its name, chocolate liquor does not contain any alcohol. Instead, it is a form of cocoa that is obtained when cocoa beans have been ground down to a liquid form. The higher the amount of chocolate liquor present in chocolate, the more intense the flavor is likely to be.

Hence, a good quality bittersweet chocolate bar contains anywhere between 65% and 70% of chocolate liquor, if not more. This chocolate liquor is solidified into blocks, which is known as unsweetened chocolate or baking chocolate. In most instances, lecithin is also a part of the bittersweet chocolate ingredients, as it is an emulsifying agent.

Bittersweet chocolate Vs semisweet chocolate

Several people get confused between bittersweet chocolate and semisweet chocolate and use both the phrases interchangeably. However, there is a difference between the two types of chocolate, in spite of the fact that semisweet chocolate can be used as a bittersweet chocolate substitute, in most recipes. It is possible for people to buy bittersweet chocolate in different forms, from most stores and supermarkets. This chocolate can be found in different forms or desserts like bittersweet chocolate cake, bittersweet chocolate chips, bittersweet chocolate cookies, bittersweet chocolate sauce and bittersweet chocolate frosting, to name a few. Hence, if such recipes require bittersweet chocolate as an ingredient, it is perfectly alright to use semisweet chocolate instead.

Bittersweet chocolate Vs unsweetened chocolate

Unsweetened chocolate can be described as unadulterated chocolate and it is usually very bitter and almost unpalatable on its own. Hence, it is not the same as bittersweet chocolate and semisweet chocolate. However, there are many chocolate makers who prefer to use unsweetened chocolate in their recipes, instead of semisweet chocolate or bittersweet chocolate, as it helps them gain better control over the flavor, texture and sweetness of the final product. Several chocolate makers use unsweetened chocolate in their desserts, but increase the amount of sugar used, instead. Similarly, in case a chef uses bittersweet chocolate in recipes that call for unsweetened chocolate, then the amount of sugar used should be decreased. Hence, although there is a difference between bittersweet chocolate and unsweetened chocolate, they can be used interchangeably in many recipes.

Bittersweet chocolate recipes

There are several bittersweet chocolate recipes that have become very popular, especially with those people who do not like desserts, which are overly sweet. Given below are some of the most popular recipes in which bittersweet chocolate is used:

Bittersweet chocolate coated truffles

Ingredients for the chocolate truffles:

• Bittersweet chocolate chips or squares:    4 ounces
• Butter, cut into squares:      2 tablespoons
• Heavy whipping cream:     2 tablespoons
• Liqueur (Grand Mariner, Amaretto, Crème de menthe) :  1 ½ to 2 tablespoons
• Crushed nuts (Optional):     2 tablespoons

Ingredients for the chocolate coating:

• Bittersweet chocolate chips or squares:    4 ounces
• Vegetable oil, (almond, walnut or  peanut):    2 teaspoons


• Take a double boiler and place the bittersweet chocolate chips or broken squares in it. Keep stirring the chocolate, so that it does not burn. Alternately, it is also possible to use a microwave oven to melt the chocolate.
• Once the chocolate has melted, remove it from the heat and mix it with the butter.
• Mix both the ingredients properly together and then add the heavy whipping cream, as well as the liqueur to it. After mixing these ingredients, the crushed nuts need to be added.
• Allow this chocolate mixture to cool, for at least 15 to 20 minutes, or till it is thick and firm enough to be rolled into shape, which will hold.
• Spread a sheet of foil paper on a baking pan and drop a heaping teaspoon of the chocolate mixture on to it.
• Shape the truffle as desired, preferably round and then cover the pan with cling wrap. Place the pan in the freezer for around 20 to 30 minutes, till the truffles get firmer.
• To make the coating, melt the bittersweet chocolate in a double boiler, or in a microwave oven. Once the chocolate has melted remove the heat and stir the oil in.
• Allow this chocolate to cool, till it reaches around 85 to 90 degrees F and is at a consistency that is suitable for dipping.
• Take the firm truffles one by one and dip them into the melted chocolate, using a fork, so that several layers of chocolate can be spooned.
• Once again, place the truffles on to the foiled baling pan and allow them to cool for at least 2 hours

The truffles can be stored in an airtight container, for up to several days.

Bittersweet chocolate chip cookies


• Bittersweet chocolate chips:      6 ounces
• All purpose flour:       1 ½ cup
• Baking soda:       ½ teaspoon
• Butter, unsalted, at room temperature:    ½ cup
• Dark brown sugar:       ½ packed cup
• Egg:        1 large
• Fine salt:        ½ teaspoon
• Granulated sugar:       ½ cup
• Pure vanilla extract:       ¾ teaspoon


• Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F and line a few baking sheets with parchment
• Take a medium bowl and whisk the baking soda, flour and salt together. Set the ingredients aside, for a while
• In a large mixing bowl, add the butter to the granulated and dark brown sugar. Blend all the ingredients together, using an electric beater, till they form a fluffy batter. Gradually beat the egg and then the vanilla extract into this batter.
• Gradually, add the flour, as well as the bittersweet chocolate chips to the mixture, till it resembles dough.
• Take heaping tablespoons of the cookie dough and roll them into balls, using the hands. These balls should be placed on the baking sheet, with a couple of inches between each ball.
• The balls should be flattened a bit with the fingertips, before being baked in the oven. The cookies need to be baked for around 15 minutes or so, or till they are golden brown in color.

Submitted on January 16, 2014