If it looks like chocolate, it must be chocolate. Right? Definitely wrong.
Truth is, much of the cheap, overly sweet chocolate on the market today is actually compound chocolate. So what is compound chocolate and why does it exist?
Compound chocolate is a product that substitutes the cocoa butter in chocolate with another, more stable fat such as palm kernel oil. The reason being is that cocoa butter makes working with chocolate a challenge. Real chocolate that has the cocoa butter still included requires tempering…a process that involves heating the chocolate to a set point and reducing the temperature to a lower point that makes the chocolate come out shiny and tasty. It takes a long time and if anything goes wrong, your chocolate will bloom (which is a whole lot prettier in flowers than chocolate).
So, by removing the cocoa butter, you remove the risk of your chocolate product blooming. You’re also reducing the time it takes to make your chocolate product. Compound chocolate makes it easy to melt, pour and set. And in the chocolate business, time is money and waste is a huge financial loss. Palm kernel oil also costs a lot less than cocoa butter, so now your chocolate bar is far less expensive than real chocolate.
In addition, compound chocolate can be used by bakers and pastry chefs without any additional tempering equipment or training. And, craft stores are just full of compound chocolate for the at home hobby chocolatier. This shouldn’t be confused with candy melts, which have no chocolate ingredients whatsoever.
Well then, why not always replace the cocoa butter? If it’s easier & cheaper, why doesn’t everyone use it? In a word…taste.
As in, compound chocolate is definitely lacking in taste.
Would you spread vegetable shortening on your toast or would you prefer real butter???
That’s the difference. A chocolate bar made with compound chocolate probably contains more of other ingredients to improve the taste of the bar.