Americans love their chocolate. It’s the go-to sweet indulgence for many. And it comes in several forms. Chips, chunks and blocks. Dark, milk and white chocolate. There’s a chocolate for every dessert.

But figuring out the best ways to use chocolate in formulations takes a deep understanding about the ins and outs of each format.

“I would say the challenge and advantage is that there are so many options,” said An Ho, director of research and development at IFPC. “There are fat levels, sweetness levels; they all have different textures and outcomes that perform perfectly with specific applications.”

The topic is vast, but here are some things bakers should keep in mind when deciding which chocolate to dip into for their formulations.

Inclusions offer a simple way to add a chocolate indulgence in every bite of an application, said Gretchen Hadden, marketing manager, cocoa and chocolate, Cargill.

“Inclusions encompass items such as chips, chunks and pieces,” she said. “They are most often found inside baked goods such as cookies and muffins. They also make an appearance in many snack foods, such as granola bars or trail mixes.”

Choosing between chunks and chips depends upon the taste and visual appeal a baker is going for in an application.

“Traditionally chips would be used for cakes, muffins, cookies, brownies, any batter with a good suspension,” said Josiah Huelle, senior chocolate technician at Puratos. “Chunks traditionally are used for a more premium product to have a larger footprint. People see chunks, and they think that’s value added. But really it just takes up a larger footprint. And sometimes you can’t add as many chunks as you would chips.”

Bittersweet, semisweet and white chocolate pieces can be used for baking and cooking, Ms. Ho said.

“The smaller the chip, the less intense chocolate you will get in a bite,” she said. “Milk chocolate is better suited for just eating.”

One challenge with inclusions is finding a bakeable white chocolate because of the high amount of milk solids and sugar in it, which means it can caramelize or burn when baking. This isn’t much of a concern for white chocolate chips in a cookie that’s only in the oven for 10-16 minutes, but longer bake times can cause problems.

“If you put it in a bread that is going to bake for 20 to 30 minutes at a high temperature, it’s going to caramelize or burn,” Mr. Huelle said. “It’s not impossible, but it’s tough to have a white chocolate that’s bake stable.”

This article is an excerpt from the June 2021 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on Chocolate, click here.