Chocolate – the word chocolate probably domes from chocolatl, a Spanish combination of the Maya word for “hot water” and the Aztec word for “bitter water.”
Cacao refers to the unprocessed seeds of the cacao tree. (Although the British sometime use the term cocoa to refer to the plant and its seeds, in the U.S. cocoa usually refers only to the processed product.)
Chocolate liquor refers to the nibs ground to a smooth, thick, liquid or paste. (Despite the name, it contains no alcohol – just the fat (cocoa butter) and solids (cocoa) of the cacao seed, in roughly equal proportions.)
Cocoa butter is the fat contained in the cacao seed.
Cocoa is the powdery solid that’s left after most of the cocoa butter is removed from chocolate liquor.
Baking chocolate is a solid chocolate made from pure chocolate liquor, no sugar added.
Bittersweet and semisweet chocolate are the darkest eating chocolates and have at least 35% chocolate liquor.
Sweet dark chocolate contains 15% to 35% chocolate liquor and less than 12% milk solids. It may also contain ingredients like condensed milk, cocoa butter, sugar, and vanilla.
Milk chocolate is a mixture of chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, milk, sugar, and flavorings. All milk chocolate made in the U.S. contains at least 10% chocolate liquor and 12% whole milk.
“Dutched” or “Dutch” chocolate is made from chocolate liquor or cocoa powder that has been treated with alkaline salts to give it a darker color and a milder flavor. The process – which came to be known as “Dutching” – was invented in Holland by the
chemist Coenraad Van Houten.
White chocolate is a blend of cocoa butter, milk, sugar, and flavorings. It contains no cocoa solids, and many people don’t consider it chocolate at all!