A couple of months ago I got an "education" regarding dark chocolate from America's Test Kitchen, and have a question relating to that.
One thing I learned the most from them is that when any dark chocolate says "XX%" it's not what we all thought it meant. That figure includes the total of both the cocoa solids and the cocoa butter. [White chocolate for example has zero cocoa solids and only cocoa butter, with sugar, etc.] What is the ratio of cocoa solids to butter that you use; i.e. what is the percentage of cocoa solids? More curious than anything else also my understanding is the antioxidant qualities in chocolate come from the solids not the butter.
Thanks for the earlier post about bean type I was going to ask that as well. The story sounds like a sassafrass tree which has 3 different leaves all on the same tree.
Some quotes from the ATK site (they tested 60% Dark): "When chocolate makers grind shelled cacao beans, known as nibs, to create the thick paste called chocolate liquor, this paste contains both cocoa solids and cocoa butter. Most manufacturers then add even more cocoa butter, in varying amounts, to help create the texture of the final chocolate. A few also add extra cocoa solids to intensify the chocolate flavor. Ultimately, however, the cacao percentage on the label of a chocolate bar is a total that includes both cocoa solids and cocoa butter—meaning that different chocolates can have different proportions of each and still share the 60% percent cacao designation. As our lab tests showed, the cocoa solids in our lineup ranged from about 17 percent of a bar's total weight to more than 30 percent, while fat ranged from a third of the weight to nearly half of it. Sugar levels varied by nearly 20 percent as well."
Their tasting results showed: "In fact, our lab results revealed that the chocolate with the lowest fat won the day, while the one with the most fat came in dead last. And would having the most cocoa solids make a chocolate superior? Again, no. Our tasters preferred chocolates with only a moderate amount. Sweetness wasn't the explanation, either: Chocolates in the middle range of sugar levels were preferred over those with the most sugar, though overall the top half of the rankings had more sugar than the bottom half. In the end, we preferred dark chocolate that achieved the best balance of all three major components—cocoa butter, cocoa solids, and sugar."
For those that want the full article (you'll have to supply your email address to ATK; and that's it) here is the link: http://www.americastestkitchentv.com/tasting/overview.asp?tastingid=616&iSeason=