Sweet Chocolate
About The Dark Denial

Are you looking for sweet chocolate or a substitute alternative? I get asked about this type of chocolate occasionally.

The classic chocolate that is considered sweet your recipe is calling for may be hard to find in the store isle these days.

Sweet dark chocolate that used to be a standard 35-plus percent chocolate liquor hardly exists anymore, if at all.

Over at the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), the general categorization of dark chocolate, confusingly covers all dark chocolate in the sweet class (except unsweetened).

That means semi-sweet and bittersweet are also in the sweet class.

What It Means

Apparently this type of chocolate can no longer contain 35% chocolate liquor.

Now the standards of identity placed on "sweet" are no less than 15% and no more than 34.9999% with less than 12% to no milk solids.

The thirty-five percent content of chocolate liquor, is now reserved for semi-sweet and bittersweet.

It's odd because the candy making chocolate you buy most likely contains a lot more than 35%.

The FDA lays out "Requirements for Specific Standardized Cacao Products" and the categorization of dark chocolate doesn't exist.

It's simply not in the standards of identity. However, both bittersweet and semi-sweet are referred to as dark chocolate...

...so, our dark chocolate is referred to as sweet, sweet-chocolate-coating, semisweet, semisweet-chocolate coating, bittersweet-chocolate, and/or bittersweet chocolate coating.

I wonder why sweet has such a narrow chocolate liquor (unsweetened) content, while bittersweet and semisweet content is so broad.

My expectations were to find the chocolate liquor content with a more defined distinction than it is.

Say, sweet no less than 15% no more than 38%
Semi-sweet no less than 39% no more than 65%
Bittersweet no less than 66% no more than 99%

That's just me though.

That may be true. But if your recipe is calling for it, there's a substitute or alternative that you can make yourself.

This could be the reason folks are asking for chocolate by cocoa content, rather than type.

With respect to health benefits, sweet chocolate is rarely found in stores but it's all over the USA standards.

Conversely, dark chocolate is all over the shelf in stores, but is not categorized in USA standards.

Is this FDA's denial of dark chocolate, or just good marketing? Sweet or Dark chocolate. Which would you be more apt to buy?

Less sugar equals a more healthy chocolate. Right?

That may be true. But if your recipe is calling for it, then you need the sugar!

So rather than you running all over town trying to find some, there's a substitute or alternative that you can make yourself.

Substitute For Sweet Chocolate

Since it's not easy to find the technical 15-35% dark chocolate these days,

simply add some sugar to the semisweet.

You will need about

  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1oz Semisweet
    Mix in with chocolate according to the recipe

Of course that's assuming the recipe is for cakes or something similar.

But, what if you are trying to make chocolate candy? Sugar would be to grainy for the over all finished chocolate.

That's because there is no moisture to dissolve the sugar like there is in cakes.

In that case, use powdered or confectioners sugar (they are the same).

  • 2 teaspoons Powdered Sugar
  • 1oz Semisweet Chocolate
    Melt chocolate
    Gently blend in confectioners sugar by hand.
    Once the powder is not visible, briefly use an immersible blender.

It may take some trial and error to get the flavor how you like it.

You should be able to make your chocolate candies from there.

Once you get what you are looking for, you can make it again and again anytime you need it.


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