There is 1 ounce in a square of baker’s chocolate. Six 1-ounce squares equals a cup of baker’s chocolate.
Baking Chocolate vs. Bittersweet and Semisweet Chocolate
Unlike the Hershey Bars sold in the candy aisle of the grocery store, baking chocolate is unsweetened, meaning it’s made entirely from processed and ground cocoa beans. It includes no sugar or other additives, making it extremely bitter. Because of this, most recipes that call for baking chocolate include sugar or other ingredients to make the final product taste good. Baking chocolate is sometimes called unsweetened chocolate.
Bittersweet and semisweet chocolate are also used for baking. Unlike baking chocolate, however, they may include sugar, vanilla or lecithin for taste or texture. Bittersweet and semisweet chocolate are required by law in the U.S. to be at least 35% cacao, but there are no guidelines for the two kinds of chocolate beyond that. As a result of this, bittersweet chocolate is not necessarily less sweet than semisweet chocolate. Chocolate with a higher cacao percentage has a richer taste but may need more sweeteners in the recipe depending on personal preference, so choose your semisweet or bittersweet chocolate accordingly.
Unsweetened or baking chocolate has the highest cacao percentage, 100%. Bittersweet and semisweet tend to hover around 60 to 80%. Milk chocolate has added milk solids and sugar, while dark chocolate is usually around 70% cacao or above but is intended for eating. White chocolate has no cacao at all, just cocoa butter and sugar. It works well when caramelized or paired with salt and nuts.
Forms of Baking Chocolate
Baking chocolate comes in many forms, each with their own advantages.
- Bars are easy to use and can be chopped into smaller pieces for melting or folding into cookie dough.
- Blocks are better for big batches of food since they’re harder to chop but cheaper per pound. A serrated knife can be used to scrape slices off the edge that can then be melted or broken into bits.
- Chocolate chips are less useful than you might expect. The additives that maintain the shape of the chips influence the flavor and texture of chocolate in ways that aren’t always expected. Higher quality brands with fewer ingredients can lower this effect. Either way, they’re good as a snack by themselves.
- Like baking chocolate, cocoa powder is usually unsweetened. It can be used as a flavorful substitute for flour when coating pans and is good for brownies and cakes. Dutch process cocoa powder is darker and has less acidity. It’s good for decorating deserts, but usually not for baking.
- Wafers are best for melting into frostings and glazes.
Substituting for Baking Chocolate
There are a few things you can do if you don’t have baking chocolate needed for a recipe:
- 3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder can be combined with 1 tablespoon of butter, margarine or shortening to make up for 1 ounce of unsweetened baking chocolate.
- 3 tablespoons of Dutch-process cocoa powder plus 1 tablespoon of shortening, butter or oil equals an ounce of baking chocolate
- 3 ounces of semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips may equal 1 ounce of baking chocolate, but you’ll need to cut sugar in the recipe by a ⅓ cup and shortening by 1 tablespoon
How to Store Baking Chocolate
Chocolate is best kept in a cool, dark and dry place, although it doesn’t need to be refrigerated after opening. While chocolate may gain spots of lighter color if exposed to moisture, this doesn’t change the taste of the chocolate. For best results, wrap opened chocolate in plastic wrap to preserve freshness.