Cocoa butter: the natural fat which occurs in the cocoa bean. About 53% of a cocoa bean is cocoa butter. Color is ivory/yellow. Typically an expensive ingredient.


Cocoa solids: when cocoa butter is removed from the bean, the remaining dark

chocolate-colored substance is the cocoa solids. Contain anti-oxidants.


Chocolate liquor: the meat, or nib of cocoa beans ground into a smooth liquid. This is unsweetened (100%) chocolate. (USA)


Cocoa powder: after beans have been ground into liquor, about 50% of this is cocoa butter – the natural fat in a cocoa bean. About half of this butter is pressed out of chocolate leaving a powder which has about 25% cocoa butter left.

USDA defines breakfast cocoa powder as alkalized powder with 22- 24% cocoa butter. Natural cocoa powder is not alkalized. Most chefs prefer the Dutch-processed powder.


Dark chocolate: cocoa beans (chocolate liquor), sugar, (additional cocoa butter), soy lecithin, vanilla (natural or artificial vanillin)


Milk Chocolate: sugar, cocoa beans, milk powder, soy lecithin, vanilla


White chocolate: sugar, cocoa butter, milk powder, soy lecithin, Vanilla


Semi-sweet: (also known as bittersweet) Dark choc with at least 35% cocoa liquor (FDA identity).


Couverture: chocolates used for coating or covering confections. Must contain at least 32% cocoa butter.


Melting chocolate: usually done in a double boiler or in a microwave. (Never over direct heat) In double boiler, be sure not to get any water/moisture in the chocolate, or it will “seize” or harden. In microwave, use low heat and check every 15- 30 seconds.


Ganache: a mixture of about equal parts chocolate and a liquid, typically milk or cream. Used as centers for truffles and in pastry.


Viscosity: measures the fluidity or thinness and thickness of a liquid. Low numbers = very thin. Especially important to confectioners who cover their ganaches and make molded chocolates. Low viscosity = more cocoa butter.


Tempering: a process of heating and cooling chocolate to precise temperatures to chemically stabilize (or crystallize) the molecules in the cocoa butter. Proper tempering creates a smooth, shiny chocolate with snap!


Bloom: chocolate abuse! Fat bloom – when cocoa butter separates from the solids and rises to surface.  This is mostly due to excessive heat or improper tempering.


Storage: – similar to olive oil, chocolate prefers no or little exposure to air, light or humidity. Ideal temperature is 65 degrees +/- with low humidity.  Shelf life is about 2 years for dark chocolates and 1 year for both milk and white chocolates.