Semisweet Baking Chocolate Substitute

Combining three simple ingredients will get your recipe back on track

Chocolate for baking
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There are certain recipes, such as chocolate cake, brownies, and truffles, that call for semisweet baking chocolate. This product is different from semisweet chocolate chips (or morsels) in two ways: It is sold as a bar divided into squares, and it has more cocoa butter than the chips. Thus, subbing in the morsels in recipes calling for semisweet baking chocolate is not always the best solution when you don't have any of the baking bar in your pantry.

Because of the lower cocoa butter content in chocolate chips, they might not melt as well as the baking bar; there also may be some difference in consistency and sweetness to the final product. Therefore, to be on the safe side, substitute a combination of unsweetened cocoa powder, sugar, and fat instead.

Measurements and Preparation

The measurements are equivalent to 1 ounce of the semisweet baking bar. Combine 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 teaspoons sugar, and 2 teaspoons melted butter, melted shortening, or vegetable oil for every ounce called for in the recipe. (For larger quantities, double, triple, or quadruple the amounts to arrive at the amount you need.) In a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder, sugar, and fat until well mixed.

Depending on the recipe, you can add the individual ingredients to the baking mix rather than combining them in a separate bowl before incorporating.

Substitute Variation

If you like sweeter baking chocolate, use a proportion of 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder to 1 tablespoon sugar to 1 teaspoon melted butter or shortening (or oil). This will equal 1 ounce of semisweet baking chocolate.

Other Semisweet Chocolate Substitutions

If you don't want to make your own semisweet baking chocolate substitute or don't have unsweetened cocoa powder on hand, there are other options. You can substitute an equal amount of bittersweet baking chocolate for semisweet baking chocolate, and you probably won't detect too much of a difference. You might need to add a little extra sugar to the baking mix to increase the sweetness, but no extra butter or oil is necessary.

If unsweetened baking chocolate is in the pantry, you can combine it with some sugar. Add 1 tablespoon of sugar per 1 ounce of unsweetened baking chocolate and substitute it ounce-for-ounce for the semisweet baking chocolate. You won't need any added butter or oil.

Chocolate Chip Substitution

If you have semisweet chocolate chips on hand, they can stand in for semisweet baking squares in a pinch. But they might not melt as well and are therefore not good for using in candy recipes. Some cooks find they are sweeter than semisweet baking squares, so you might want to adjust the other ingredients in the recipe. Substitute them ounce for ounce; you will need to weigh the chips rather than measure them in a measuring cup.