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Do you use good chocolate when you bake?

I've been getting partial to Ghirardelli chocolate baking bars in recipes requiring melted chocolate and was wondering if others find that the "premium" chocolates are superior in terms of taste and texture? Also, what baking chocolate do you prefer?

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  1. heck yeah. Callebaut is my favorite, but i like Ghirardelli too.

    2 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      Callebaut is my favorite as well, but I often end up using Lindt as it is readily available near my apartment.

      1. re: MMRuth

        i third callebaut. totally worth the extra $$

    2. Absolutely. I use Trader Joe's -- either the bittersweet pound+ bar if the recipe calls for chocolate, or their fairly new unsweetened baking bar if the recipe calls for "bakers" or "unsweetened" chocolate. The Trader Joe's "Belgian" chocolates are made by Callebaut.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        Really? Wow, that's a good tip to know.

        Thanks Ruth!

        1. re: newfoodie

          Yeah. I was widely rumored, and then confirmed when a batch of TJ's label went out with "Callebaut" stamped on the chocolate -- I guess someone wrapped the wrong batch or forgot to change the mold.

        2. re: Ruth Lafler

          TJ's are my favorites too. If I run out I sometimes use Hershey's Special Dark + unsweetened grocery store chocolate, 6 oz Hershey's to 2 oz unsweetened, but this only in emergencies (and as posted by Paulustrious below, only for things destined for consumption by less picky friends). Also like the French Nestlé chocolat noir in 200 gm bars which I bring home for France or importune friends to bring me.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            i suspected as much, but thanks for the confirmation, Ruth!

          2. My local market in SF has Guittard on sale 2-3 times per year. I buy up a bunch of semi sweet. I can use that for most applications by decreasing sugar in the recipe. Callebaut is great but ridiculously expensive...

            1 Reply
            1. re: hankstramm

              I also use Guittard semisweet and made a fantastic chocolate frosting and cake with it using the frosting recipe in Food and Wine February edition. For bittersweet, I use Valrhona. For unsweetened, I used Ghirardelli. Great results with all three.

            2. This sounds snobbish, but it depends on my audience. (Gustatience?)

              If I am making a chocolate mousse for someone who is a hershey bar fan then I don't spend a lot of money. Here in Toronto I get a chocolate imported by Premier Brands. The label says Imported Continental Belgium chocolate - 77% Cocoa.

              300grams is $3 to $4.

              1. For every day baking, I use Trader Joe's. It's too expensive for me to use callebaut or valrhona all the time. For special occasions, I go all out.

                1. Yes for me if I'm going to make something special I prefer Scharfenberger dark chocolate. For baking (and nibbling.) Something about breaking off a diamond of that stuff that just makes my day.

                  Trader Joes Belgian chocolate is a good product too, and for everyday no big deal, I like Hershey's. I wonder sometimes if I can even tell the difference. I am by no means a chocolate snob. I do love bittersweet chocolate, I know that.
                  If I am making a chocolate chip cookie, it seems that Guittard is the one I'll be more than likely use. Why? Because it's always on sale! OMG, I just looked. hate to admit how much chocolate I have. It's a good thing Easter is coming!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: chef chicklet

                    Another vote for Scharfenberger. It makes the most amazing brownies.

                    1. re: chef chicklet

                      I like guittard chocolate chips, too. Nestle Chocolatiers had a decent chocolate chip, not as good as Guittard but close. They've disappeared, though.

                    2. Yes, I use a Ghirardelli baking bar in my chocolate bread pudding--it's intense!

                      I use sweetened Ghirardelli cocoa powder for brownies, using their recipe on the canister plus fresh raspberries or strawberries with white chocolate chips. I look forward to picking raspberries just so I can make brownies. ;)

                      We have blocks of Callebaut on hand for melting and dipping strawberries.

                      One of the best cocoa powders I ever encountered in my life came from Choco-Musée Érico in Québec City. I finished it recently and sadly cannot buy it online. :( It was the darkest, most exquisite cocoa powder I ever encountered.

                      As others have mentioned, I like Guittard chocolate chips, too, and have Scharffen Berger bars and powder.

                      HOWEVER, I also have a can of Hershey's cocoa powder and have used Droste, too. I'm an equal opportunity chocoholic.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: kattyeyes

                        Since this post came back to life, I'm a Valrhona girl now, though I do still keep Hershey's and Ghirardelli cocoa powders on hand as well. One thing for sure, you can ALWAYS find chocolate in this kat's kitchen. :)

                      2. I use a chocolate from Spain, Chocolate Negro Artesano by a company called Caro, available in NYC from Ideal Cheese on First Avenue (51-52.) It cost around $24 for a 1Kg block. I use it for all chocolate cooking and the chips I chop from the block, irregular and larger than commercial version, are great improvement.

                        1. I tend to use different Valrhona chocolates.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: bigfellow

                            Valrhona is one of the best. Callebaut too, but is totally too expensive.

                            1. re: hankstramm

                              Unless you buy it at Trader Joe's in those deceptively marked Pound Plus Belgian chocolate bars. It really is Callebaut.

                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                Funny thing is, I do by the Pound Plus Belgian. I'll have to do some blinds with the Callebaut to see.

                                The 72% has become my go to chocolate in the last 2-3 years.

                          2. Yep, I do. I use Ghirardelli chips and bars and/or Scharffenburger bars for "regular" baking. I've been getting into making chocolates etc lately and have been using Michel Cluizel, Callebaut, and Valrhona.

                            1. Always. I use Valrhona, TJ's or when I'm in a pinch (like when I'm in Maine) I'll use Lindt.