Compounds that protect cells against the damaging effects of reactive oxygen species by “quenching” the oxygen appetite of free radicals – unstable oxygen molecules that cause damage to cells, DNA and tissues. Research suggests that consumption of antioxidant-rich foods, including cocoa and dark chocolate, reduces damage to cells from free radicals. This may slow down, prevent, and even reverse certain diseases that result from cellular damage, and perhaps even slow down the natural aging process
The process which occurs after roasting and before grinding. Crushed beans are blended, determining the flavor of the chocolate.
Bittersweet (or Semisweet) Chocolate:
The darkest of eating chocolate with the highest percentage of chocolate liquor that contains extra cocoa butter to make it melt easily. Years ago, “bittersweet” referred to European dark chocolate, with “semisweet” attached to American dark chocolate. According to US regulations called the Standards of Identity (SOI), both bittersweet and semisweet must contain at least 35% chocolate liquor. Generally, semisweet chocolate contains 35-45% chocolate liquor. Bittersweet chocolate typically contains at least 50% chocolate liquor, resulting in a stronger chocolate flavor.
Cacao, chocolate or cocoa nibs:
Coarse piece that are the center (meat) of the cocoa bean, the basis of all cocoa –based products, including chocolate. Following removal of the outer cocoa bean shell, nibs are roasted and crushed between a series of heavy steel rollers or grinding stones; the frictional heat forms what is known as chocolate liquor (See chocolate liquor). Nibs contain about 53 percent cocoa butter (See cocoa butter).
A powerful, water soluble polyphenol and antioxidant that is easily oxidized. It is believed to have some value in fighting tumors as well as enhancing immune system function. Cocoa nibs are an excellent source of catechins.
The ground up center (nib) of the cocoa bean (otherwise known as unsweetened baking chocolate) in a smooth, liquid state. It contains no alcohol. Also called "chocolate liquid."
Seeds from the pod of Theobroma cacao, a tree native to the tropical Amazon forests. Commercially grown worldwide in tropical rainforests within 20° latitude of the equator.
The natural fat from the cocoa bean, obtained by pressing chocolate liquor. It is not a dairy product.
The cocoa solids resulting from pressing cocoa butter out of chocolate liquor. May be natural or dutched.
Known as confectionery coating. A blend of sugar, vegetable oil, cocoa powder and other products. Vegetable oil is substituted for cocoa butter to reduce the product cost and to make the coating easier to work with.
Also known as “sweet chocolate.” A general term for chocolates containing 15 – 35% chocolate liquor and less than 12% milk solids, as well as sweeteners and cocoa butter.
Dutch (or Dutched) Process:
A treatment used during the making of cocoa powder in which cocoa solids are treated with an alkaline solution to neutralize acidity. This process darkens the color of the cocoa and develops a milder chocolate flavor.
The act of coating a candy center by pouring chocolate over it, usually by mechanical means.
A smaller, simple flavanol that is found in red wine, tea and in abundant quantities in cocoa beans. May have potential heart health benefits, and has been found to have insulin-like effects.
The result of inadequate tempering or temperature abuse of a properly tempered chocolate. Visible as a dull white film on the surface of the chocolate with the possibility of a soft or crumbling texture on the interior. While visually undesirable, the product is fine and safe to eat.
A natural process by which bacteria, yeast and molds modify the composition of cocoa bean, so that when the beans are roasted, they yield characteristic chocolate flavor.
Flavanols are a distinct group of compounds within the flavonoids family – plant compounds that can be found in a variety of foods and beverages, such as cocoa, red wine, green tea and certain fruits and vegetables. The predominant flavonoids in cocoa are flavanols.
A class of plant secondary metabolites based around a phenylbenzopyrone structure. Flavonoids are most commonly known for their antioxidant properties, protecting against oxidative and free radical damage. Flavonoids are part of a broader class of compounds known as polyphenols.
Unstable oxygen molecules that cause damage to cells, DNA and other biological entities. Imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals causes "oxidative stress." Free radicals have been linked to cancer, aging, atherosclerosis, neurodegenerative diseases (Parkinson's & Alzheimer's).
Mechanical process of pulverizing the roasted cocoa bean nib to a smooth liquid known as chocolate liquor.
A natural food additive which acts as an emulsifier and surface active agent. Virtually all commercial lecithin products are derived from soybean. In chocolate manufacture lecithin controls flow properties by reducing viscosity. Typical usage levels range from 0.1 - 0.5%.
The best known kind of eating chocolate, it is made by combining chocolate liquid, cocoa butter, milk or cream, sweetening, and flavorings. All milk chocolate made in the US contains at least 10% chocolate liquor and at least 12% milk solids.
Non-alkalized chocolate liquor or cocoa processed without an alkaline treatment.
The center (meat) of the cocoa bean. Roasted or unroasted cocoa beans are mechanically cracked, allowing the separation of the cocoa bean shell from the cocoa nib.
Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC):
The measure of a food’s antioxidant power.
A broad class of naturally occurring compounds found in plants, characterized by the presence of more than one phenol group per molecule. Over 8,000 polyphenols have been identified in plants.
Product remaining after most of the cocoa butter has been pressed from the chocolate liquor. Press cake is pulverized to make cocoa powder
A subclass of flavonoids.
Cooking or heating process using high temperature or dry heat which fully develops the chocolate flavor of the cocoa beans.
Like bittersweet chocolate, semisweet chocolate is required by the US Standards of Identity to contain at least 35% chocolate liquor. Generally, semisweet chocolate contains 35 - 45% chocolate liquor.
Single origin cocoa or chocolate:
Made using cocoa beans from a select region and/or country for a distinct flavor profile.
Visible as a dull white film on the surface of the chocolate, usually dry and hard to the touch, the result of surface moisture dissolving sugar in the chocolate and subsequent re-crystallization of the sugar on the chocolate surface. Typically caused by cold chocolate being exposed to a warm humid environment with resultant condensation forming on the product. A visual and textural defect only; the product is fine to eat.
A process of preparing chocolate that involves cooling and heating so that it will solidify with a stable cocoa butter crystal form. This process is used to prepare chocolate for coating and dipping. Proper tempering, followed by good cooling, is required for good surface gloss and to prevent "fat" bloom.
Same as "chocolate liquor." The chocolate liquor is cooled and molded into blocks that can be used for baking.
A blend of cocoa butter, milk, sugar, and flavor. Not really “chocolate” since no chocolate solids other than cocoa butter are present, which explains the lack of brown color. In the US, since 2004, white chocolate needs to be at least 20% (by weight) cocoa butter, at least 14% total milk solids, and less than 55% sweeteners (such as sugar).
Process of cracking and removing the cocoa bean shell, which reveals the inner part of the bean (the nib).