For me, bittersweet chocolate is where it’s at. Oh, I enjoy snacking on the occasional milk chocolate bar (especially if it’s something excellent like Lindt), but as a baker I must absolutely have bittersweet chocolate in the house at all times.
Bittersweet chocolate contains no milk. It’s basically unsweetened chocolate with a little sugar and cocoa butter- and, sometimes, some vanilla. It has less sugar and more chocolate than Semisweet, although you probably can use the latter in a pinch if you don’t have the bitter stuff.
I use bittersweet chocolate in my ganaches, in my chocolate buttercream, in my “famous” chocolate mousse cake. I’ve also been known to eat it straight up, from the packet. This is much easier to do with thin bars or callets, but I can rarely be stopped from slicing a wedge off one of those huge couverture bars.
The next time you’re about to make a recipe calling for semisweet chocolate, try using bittersweet instead. The darkness will make everything richer, and more chocolatey. Here are some brands I recommend:
Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chips are what I have around my home 90% of the time. With 60% cacao content, they’re delicious (although not really for snacking), easily found in any grocery store, and absolutely awesome in chocolate chip cookies.
Scharffen Berger’s Bittersweet Baking Chunks are 70% cacao, and will make any chocolate lover swoon. There’s something about Scharffen Berger’s chocolate that makes brownies and cookies so luxurious.
Callebaut Bittersweet Callets are what we use exclusively at the bakeshop, and for good reason: we want our chocolate products to stand out, to be gloriously delicious, and smooth and rich. This is bittersweet chocolate that’s neither too bitter nor too sweet… and the callets are an easy pick-me-up snack for early-morning baking.