Chocolate is one of the most loved foods in the world. Chocolate came originally from the Americas. The ancient Maya Indians called cocoa beans the “food of the gods.”
It’s used in making cake, cookies, ice cream, hot cocoa, and other tasty pastries. It can be eaten with nuts or raisins or any number of other things. But chocolate isn’t just sweets and candy bars. Chocolate is used in cooking, too. Around the world, chocolate is an ingredient in serving many delicious dishes.
Did you know that chocolate isn’t naturally sweet? It’s bitter. Sugar has to be added to make sweet treats out of pure chocolate. Chocolate is made from cocoa beans. These beans are the seeds of the cacao, or cocoa, tree. Cacao trees grow in warm, tropical climates like those in South America, Central America, and Africa.
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How Is Chocolate Made?
Chocolate is made by drying and roasting the cocoa beans. The beans are ground and then crushed to release a liquid known as chocolate liquor. This bitter-tasting liquid contains a fat called cocoa butter. Cocoa butter is what makes chocolate so creamy and delicious.
To make powdered cocoa, most of the cocoa butter is squeezed from the unsweetened chocolate liquid. The hard, dry cakes left behind are ground into a fine powder. When mixed with sugar, this powder can be used to make that hot cocoa you drink on a cold day.
To make the chocolate you eat, sugar and more cocoa butter are added to the unsweetened chocolate liquor. Other ingredients might also be added for flavor, including milk or vanilla.
Types of Chocolate
There are many ways to eat chocolate, but just a few types of chocolate.
- Unsweetened chocolate is used for baking.
- Semisweet chocolate, also called dark chocolate, is often used in homemade cookies, cakes, and other treats.
- Milk chocolate is eaten in bars or used as a coating on candy.
- White chocolate is a type of chocolate, too. It contains cocoa butter, but no other nonfat chocolate solids. It is used mainly as a candy coating.
Today, milk chocolate is the most popular type of chocolate.
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