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Consumer Reports: Best chocolate for baking Valentine's Day treats

Posted at 8:36 AM, Feb 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-13 10:36:25-05

The type of chocolate you should use depends on what you're making. Consumer Reports home editor and trained chef, Paul Hope's first tip -- you don't have to use the most expensive chocolate!

"Paying more won't necessarily get you better tasting chocolate," says Consumer Reports Home Editor, Paul Hope. If you're gonna bake it into a recipe anyway chances most people won't be able to tell the difference. Instead, save the really fancy stuff for embellishments or snacking."

CR says that baking chocolate, for even the most elaborate desserts, still comes from one of these categories.

Want to make brownies or fudge? Use unsweetened chocolate. Also called bitter chocolate, it doesn't have sugar, flavorings, or added fat, and gives your recipe a strong chocolate flavor.

Cocoa powder is made of the "liquor" from crushed cocoa beans, processed to remove most of the fat and ground into a powder. It's easy to keep on hand due to its long shelf life, and can be used for hot chocolate, and a variety of desserts.

Semisweet or bittersweet chocolate is made with sugar and at least 35% chocolate liquor. These are great for brownies, cakes and dipping.

You'll see a lot of "white baking chips" or "morsels" in the baking aisle, but real white chocolate contains cocoa butter. So, check the label.

And milk chocolate is made with milk solids along with added sugar and fat. It's sweet flavor is best for desserts where the taste can stand on its own.

CR says whatever you buy, double-wrap your chocolate and keep it in a cool, dry place. If you refrigerate it, keep it away from anything that can transfer an odor, like cheese or fish.