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Feb 13, 2007 04:55 AM

Semisweet vs bittersweet

I have to do the birthday thing AND the valentines day thing all in one week! Birthday dinner is tonight, and I'm all set except -

I'm making a molten chocolate lava cake (paula deen recipe from, and it calls for 6 oz of bitter sweet chocolate AND 2 oz of semi sweet. I'm always well stocked with various chocolate squares for baking, and I have plenty of semi sweet. Do they make bitter sweet squares? Should I just buy a chocolate bar? Are they interchangeable?

Help! Thanks!

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  1. Think of semi-sweet in the 60% range and bitter-sweet in the 70-85% range. Not interchangeable. Get the best you can find. If it is Lindt or Sharffenberger. I have recently found the new line from Hershey's to be very good. It is not made or produced in the US but does cary the Hershey lable and is stocked in many grocery stores

    1 Reply
    1. re: Candy

      I would disagree that they're not interchangable. Most recipes that call for one kind of chocolate can easily use the other. It depends mostly on your personal taste. However, since the recipe calls for both types, you can probably assume that the creator of the recipe considered the blend of flavors desirable. But...if I didn't have both handy and didn't feel like running out to the store I would use whichever I had. No, the flavor would not be quite the same, maybe not quite as complex, but the dessert would still be eminently edible. I've done this on more than a few occasions and have yet to have any complaints.

      Having said all that, it being V-day and all, and the fact that a molten lava cake really does showcase your chocolate (unless you're planning to drown it in a sauce or cream), I would be apt to go as over the top with the quality of the chocolate as I could afford. Valrhona or Scharffen Berger if possible, El Rey or Belgian Callebaut otherwise. (Not that there aren't many other great chocolates out there - those are just my preferences.)

    2. Bittersweet should be sold in your baking isle & is sold in bars. I have used Nestle Chocolatier 62% Cacao with great success. It comes in 8 oz size & you can eat the leftover 2 oz or combine with heavy cream to make ganache (yum!) and then even make a delicious cup of hot chocolate. Get the bittersweet- it will add another dimension to the taste of the cake. Enjoy & let us know how the lava cake came out.

      1. I've had excellent results with the Ghirardelli baking bars that come in semi-sweet and 60% bittersweet.

        1. I think all the above posters have said most of what I would have said- the most siginificant part of this experience for you, Nalega, is the quantities involved. Because the whole recipe only calls for 6 oz of chocolate in total, I don't think the overall cocoa solids percentage will have a significant impact on the finished product- the amount of cocoabutter (fat) won't make or break the recipe, either. If you have the opportunity (and who doen't like the opportunity to keep eating molten lava cakes?) track down some varous sweetnessess and try making a mostly bittersweet version, too- I know my tastes run more towards the bitter.

          1. So I bought a bag of bittersweet ghiardelli chips (couldnt find the squares). I also halved the recipe (it was supposed to make 6, and there are 2 of us!). I don't know if it was a mixture of the 2 chocolates or what, what the recipe is fantastic, and SO easy. I would gladly make this for a small dinner party, or for another romantic dinner for 2. It was as easy as my one bowl brownies, and far more impressive. I dusted some powdered sugar over each cake, and added a small scoop of ice cream. This is for serious chocolate lovers only.