Baking chocolate, also referred to as bitter chocolate,cooking chocolate and unsweetened chocolate, is a type of chocolate that is prepared or manufactured for baking. It is used as an ingredient in desserts and in baked goods. It is typically prepared in unsweetened, bitter-sweet semi-sweet and sweet varieties. It may be prepared with chocolate liquor or cocoa solids. Recipes that include unsweetened baking chocolate typically use a significant amount of sugar. Bittersweet baking chocolate "must contain 35 percent chocolate liquor or higher." Most baking chocolates have at least a 50% cocoa content, with the remaining content usually being "almost all sugar." Sweet varieties may be referred to as "sweet baking chocolate" or "sweet chocolate." Sweet baking chocolate contains more sugar than bittersweet and semi-sweet varieties, and semi-sweet varieties contain more sugar than bittersweet varieties. Sweet and semi-sweet baking chocolate is prepared with a chocolate liquor content between 15 and 35 percent.
Modern manufactured baking chocolate is typically formed from chocolate liquor into bars and chocolate chips. Manufacturers may process the chocolate and then form it into bulk-sized ten-pound bars, which are then sold to confectioners and bakers. Baking chocolate may be of a lower quality compared to other types of chocolate, and may have part of the cocoa butter replaced with other fats that do not require tempering. This type of baking chocolate may be easier to handle compared to those that have not had their cocoa butter content lowered. Lower quality baking chocolate may not be as flavorful compared to higher-quality chocolate, and may have a different mouthfeel.
Has less sugar than sweet varieties. In Europe, a regulation exists stating that semi-sweet varieties must contain more sugar and less chocolate liquor compared to bittersweet varieties. No such regulation exists in the United States, and due to this, semi-sweet and bittersweet varieties can vary in sweetness and chocolate liquor content. In the U.S., bittersweet varieties are even sometimes sweeter than semi-sweet varieties.