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Which chocolate is best for baking?

I use mainly bittersweet and unsweetened for brownies, cakes, and ice cream and want to know which brands are better. I don't have many options where I am - this is what's available to me in my neighborhood stores. I know there are better chocolates available to me online but I want to just stick to what I can buy at the store. Out of these brands which do you like?

Green & Black
Nestle Chocolatier
Baker's
Ghirardelli
Lindt Excellence

The Green & Black and the Lindt were in the candy aisle - can I use those for baking? When you use chocolate in homemade ice cream, is it best to use baking bars or the type intended just for eating?

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  1. I'd probably go for the Ghiradelli. I wouldn't use Baker's chocolate for anything more than a doorstop.

    Is there a Trader Joe's in your area? Their chocolate is actually quite good for the price, and better than any of the chocolates on your list.

    It kind of depends on what you're making too. For truffles & souffles I buy the best chocolate I can, usually Sharffenberger or e. Guittard. If I make a cake or something with a lot more added sugar and butter, Ghiradelli would be fine.

    3 Replies
    1. re: sgwood415

      Unfortunately the closest TJ's is about three hours away. Next time I'm back home in Chicago I will have to stop by and stock up.

      1. re: seconds

        Mail order might be a good option. I wouldn't "stock up" on too much, since the quality of chocolate begins to degrade after a couple of weeks.

      2. re: sgwood415

        Regarding the Baker's chocolate as a doorstop... I actually just read in an interesting article (Link: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article... ) about which bittersweet chocolate was best for baking. They also rated best for eating.

        Bakers and Nestle Chocolatier won (Nestle 1st and Bakers 2nd) the baked-in brownie recipe! I was pleasantly surprised as I would not have expected that at all. Lindt actually won out in the tasting contest. Again, a surprise. Sweet Earth did best overall.

        I think when baking it is important to keep in mind that chocolate needs to be formulated for baking to achieve best results. Any chocolate you love the taste of purely on that premise alone would probably work best for a recipe with no baking involved.

      3. Wouldn't the chocolate in the candy aisle be too sweet? I would think it would be sweetened, not bittersweet. What about buying chocolate by mail? You wouldn't be able to control the temperature conditions during mailing, but it would probably be ok. I have liked Valhrona for baking.

        1. Christopher Kimball's _The Dessert Bible_ has a great few pages on this. His favorite chocolate you'd need to get mail order and unfortunately i don't remember the name(try to get a copy of this book or check it out at your library if you can), but he also says that Ghiradelli seems to be the best grocery store chocolate.

          1. The other one I like for baking (and again you would need to get this by mail, it sounds like) is Scharfen Berger (sp).

            4 Replies
            1. re: kary

              oh! that is the exact one that kimball suggests.

              1. re: kary

                Count me in as another Scharfen Berger user and their cocoa too.

                1. re: Candy

                  http://www.scharffenberger.com/recipe...

                  And some of the best recipes come from their own recipe file.

                2. re: kary

                  I don't know where you are located, but Scharffen Berger has a store in New York (Amsterdam/83-ish). I would imagine it's pretty easily attainable in California as well since that's where it comes from. I think you can order directly from their website: http://www.artisanconfection.com/stor...

                3. I love Belcolade chocolate from Puratos - proper traditional Belgian chocolate! It's beautiful stuff to work with.....

                  Not sure if you can get it online though?!?!?