When Making Chocolate Sauce, Go For The Baking Bar

Whether you're making chocolate sauce to shake up your espresso martinis or to drizzle over your favorite scoop of ice cream, you'll get a more flavorful and pourable sauce by using bar chocolate rather than chocolate chips. Those convenient little chips of chocolate are perfect for keeping their shape in cookies and other baked goods — they're designed to have a much higher melting point, but melting is exactly what we want for chocolate sauce.

Bar chocolate has more cocoa butter in the formulation compared to chocolate chips, and that cocoa butter adds to the smooth, pourable consistency of rich chocolate sauce. You'll find it easier to melt broken bars of chocolate at a lower temperature because of that extra cocoa butter, too. That helps prevent the burning and clumping that sometimes happens when melting a bowl of chocolate chips. The higher amount of cocoa butter also balances the bitter cacao flavors in chocolate, giving bar chocolate a more balanced flavor profile.

Picking the right bar of chocolate

There are seemingly endless choices of bars of chocolate on the shelves. But the packaging and all the marketing information on the label can distract you from the most important things to know for crafting your chocolate sauce — what percentage of cacao has been included and what other ingredients are in the bar. The higher the cacao percentage, the lower the bar will be in other ingredients such as sugar. This can make a big difference in the final taste of your chocolate sauce. If you choose a bar with a lower cacao percentage, your chocolate sauce will be sweeter than if it's made with a high percentage cacao bar. Unsweetened baking chocolate is 100% cacao with no added sugar or cocoa butter, and bars with a percentage under 100% have various amounts of sugar, flavorings, or emulsifiers.

If you like the convenience of chocolate chips, you'll be glad to know that many makers also sell chocolate discs that are great for chocolate sauce. Look for discs made for baking to avoid extra oils and ingredients added to melting wafers.