Chocolate originally comes from Central America and its use dates back to 2000 BC. Bitter fermented chocolate drinks infused with various spices or wine were a favorite in ancient times. Over the years, as technology progressed, manufacturers were able to easily grow, harvest, and process cacao into the many forms we love today. This led to the creation of different types of chocolate, including two of the most loved varieties: milk and dark chocolate. Let’s explore the differences between these two chocolates and see how they differ in taste, quality, and uses.
Difference Between Milk Chocolate and Dark Chocolate
The main difference between milk chocolate and dark chocolate is the percentage of cocoa solids they contain. In order to be classified as dark, the chocolate must contain at least 35% cocoa solids. Milk chocolate, in contrast, contains nearly 10% cocoa solids. These are the overall standards, but various manufactures vary the percentages they use to achieve different flavors and mouthfeels. Some increase the percentage of cocoa solids in milk, while others increase the percentage of cocoa solids in the dark.
Ingredients in Chocolate
Dark chocolate is made up of two main ingredients: cacao beans and sugar. Some may contain vanilla or other flavorings in order to boost the flavor and counter the bitter taste. Dark chocolate can be further classified as semi-dark, semi-sweet, bittersweet, and unsweetened. If you are looking for dairy-free chocolate, note that dark chocolate can contain small amounts of milk.
Milk chocolate, on the other hand, contains cocoa, sugar, and milk. This chocolate type was originally sold in bars starting in 1875. In today’s world powdered milk is used in milk chocolate bars instead of condensed milk in order to minimize the water content.
Dark chocolate is higher in fats and calories compared to milk chocolate, but contains more nutrients, minerals, and fiber which makes it a healthier option.
Taste of Milk and Dark Chocolate
Another major difference between these two chocolate types is their taste. Dark chocolate has a bitter taste which increases in intensity as the cacao percentage increases. It is also less sweet compared to milk chocolate. Milk chocolate is not only sweeter, but also milkier because it contains more milk solids. In the case of texture, milk chocolate is creamier while dark chocolate is hard and has a chalky feel.
Culinary Uses for Milk and Dark Chocolate
Chocolate, either dark or milk, is one of the most utilized dessert ingredients in the world. There are numerous desserts ranging from brownies, cakes, pastries, muffins, soufflés, puddings, tarts, sauces, milkshakes, and ice creams that feature these chocolate types. Whatever the dessert, chocolate is sure to be the star of the show. Try these heavenly sweet chocolate recipes and enjoy the delicious flavor of your favorite chocolate: