Baker’s Tip: How to Guestimate Cacao Percentage

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Have you ever been in the situation you where you have a recipe calling for a very specific percentage of cacao in a chocolate bar and you get to the store only to find vague indicators like “Very Dark,” or “Special Bittersweet”? Well, now there’s a way to do the guessing all on your own.

In her excellent new book Simply Sensational Cookies, Nancy Baggett writes about every kind of cookie you can imagine, along with many baking techniques and baker’s quandaries. While leafing through and bookmarking recipe upon recipe, one tip in particular caught my eye: How to guestimate the cacao percentage of chocolate?

Baggett writes that often, especially with chocolate blends, the exact percentage of cacao isn’t immediately clear. For semisweet and bittersweet bars, she recommends simply comparing the grams of sugar per serving with the total grams per serving listed. For example, if a chocolate bar indicates that a serving size is 40 grams and 20 grams are from sugar, you can safely guess that it has about a 50% cacao content.

Do note that this method won’t work for milk chocolate or bars with additions of nuts or other mix-ins.

Smart, eh? Check out Nancy’s great book — it’s full of great tips like that.

Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: Simply Sensational Cookies by Nancy Baggett

(Image: Megan Gordon)

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