What is Semi-Sweet Chocolate?

5 minute read

Chocolate Drops

Chocolate is one of those universal treats that few people can say no to. It doesn't matter how old you are or where you live; chocolate plays a part in everyone's life. While some prefer decadent darks, others might like milk chocolate or sweet and creamy white chocolate - but what about semi-sweet chocolate? 

In this post, we'll discuss what semi-sweet chocolate is and how it differs from other chocolate types. 

Why Is Chocolate Type Important?

We're all individuals, and our genetics and background can influence our decisions on what we like and what we avoid. Chocolate should contain a perfect mix of rich flavours, creamy textures with some sweetness added in. 

But, while dark chocolate is known for intense flavour, and white chocolate is incredibly sweet, milk chocolate is often the middle man, so to speak. 

Your flavour preferences will dictate which chocolate you prefer, but milk seems to reign supreme. A poll of the public's favourite chocolate bars, published by The Mirror, shows that the top 10 chocolate bars are all milk chocolate, with Bourneville being the only dark chocolate to appear on the list. 

However, dark chocolate is known for its health benefits, and people over 30 especially enjoy it. 

So, how does semi-sweet chocolate fit into the picture? Let's find out. 

How do Dark and Semi-Sweet Chocolate Differ?

Semi-sweet chocolate, in many ways, is a subtype of dark chocolate, and both have the same combination of ingredients. Emulsifier, vanilla, sugar and cocoa solids are common, but semi-sweet chocolate must have no more than 50% sugar. 

Cocoa content is the definitive factor in how sweet a chocolate bar is. The denser the cocoa solids per bar, the more likely it is to have a bitter taste. 

Dark chocolate always has a high amount of cocoa solids, which is why some people find the taste too intense. Sugar sweetens the flavour, but it's also responsible for milk and white chocolate being the more unhealthy option. 

So, while dark chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate have many similarities, you'll notice dark chocolate has a more intense flavour. 

Dark Chocolate Subcategories 

There are three subcategories of dark chocolate, and semi-sweet chocolates fall under the sweetest category. 

  • Chocolate bars with a cocoa level of between 35-65% are the sweetest dark chocolate (also known as semi-sweet). 
  • Bittersweet dark chocolate must have a cocoa level of 65-80%
  • If a chocolate bar has over 80% of cocoa solids, it's considered bitter chocolate. 

While some people find bitter chocolate to be way too intense, others enjoy the dense flavour. It entirely depends on personal preferences and what you're used to. For example, someone that grows up in Mexico is more likely to appreciate spicy food than a person that grew up on a typical English diet. 

How Do Milk Chocolate and Semi-Sweet Chocolate Differ?

When it comes to milk chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate, many people think they're similar because of the sweetness. However, while some brands of milk chocolate have as many as 40% cocoa solids, they'll never be classed as semi-sweet chocolate because of the dairy content. 

The dairy content gives milk chocolate its silky, creamy texture, and semi-sweet blends are dairy-free. So when it comes down to it, semi-sweet blends will have more intensity than the average bar of Dairy Milk. 

In recent years, we've seen increased confectioners combining the density of dark chocolate with milk chocolates creamy texture to create a blend that everyone will enjoy. 

Cadbury Dark Milk is a classic example of this method at work because it's essentially dark chocolate, with a small amount of milk to make the flavour less intense. 

What Do People Use Semi-Sweet Chocolate For?

Semi-sweet chocolate has many applications, and it's especially beneficial for people with dairy intolerance. They can still enjoy the sweetness of chocolate without the added milk. There are plenty of free-from options in every supermarket, but semi-sweet chocolate has many other uses. 

Bakers especially appreciate using semi-sweet chocolate in their recipes because it provides balance for the other ingredients. 

Milk chocolate and white chocolate can make a recipe too sweet, and the milk content can cause an imbalance with the other ingredients, but semi-sweet is intense enough to add flavour, but it won't affect your recipe. 

You'll probably see semi-sweet chocolate in supermarkets, under the name of cooking chocolate, and some people enjoy the taste so much, it never makes it to the mixing bowl! 

Storing Semi-Sweet Chocolate

You should never store semi-sweet chocolate in the fridge because the colder temperatures can cause sugar bloom when the chocolate reaches room temperature. While there are no health implications of storing any form of chocolate in the fridge, it can make the flavours unstable. 

Instead, make sure you store your chocolate in a cool, dry place away from sunlight. 

Why Choose Semi-Sweet Chocolate?

If you're a confectionery store owner or supply any form of baking equipment and ingredients, then a supply of semi-sweet chocolate is essential. Not only will you attract more customers, but you'll also be able to diversify your store and cater to a broader audience. 

Semi-sweet chocolate provides a perfect compromise between the intensity of dark chocolate and the high dairy quantity of milk chocolate. You can even use it to create your line of custom made chocolate treats. 

If you'd rather leave the melting, mixing and creating to someone else, we have a selection of irresistible confectionery, including Cadbury, Nestle and Galaxy countlines, and wholesale chocolate nuts at great prices. 

Shop With Appleton Sweets Today

We regularly add new products to our diverse range of confectionery, snacks and drinks so you can build a loyal base of customers. Whether you want to sell candy from the USA or stick with the traditional approach, there's so much you can do through our website. 

With incredibly low prices and speedy UK delivery, there's a reason we're one of the UK's premier confectionery wholesalers. 

Dairy intolerance is only one reason why people struggle to find chocolate they can enjoy. People with diabetes have to make a range of lifestyle and diet adjustments, but that doesn't mean complete abstinence. 

Check out our blog on diabetic-friendly sweets options here.


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