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Compound chocolate is a known alternative for pure chocolate. It uses vegetable fats that are semi-solid at room temperature as an alternative component. Compared to regular chocolates, they can deliver a richer cocoa flavor using practical compound chocolate production methods. It also does not have to undergo tempering due to the natural, glossy texture of vegetable fats.

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Compound chocolate vs. couverture chocolate

Compared to compound chocolate, couverture chocolate is the highest grade of chocolate available in the market. For a chocolate to be couverture, it must contain a minimum of 35% cocoa solids and 31% cocoa butter. In terms of ingredients, you make compound chocolates using cocoa powder and vegetable oil. Couverture chocolate, in their turn, use cocoa butter and chocolate liquor. You need to conch couverture chocolate more deliberately, due to the high-fat content. It also needs to go through tempering – where it heats to an optimal temperature of 29-32 °C (84.2-89.6 °F) for beta crystals to grow and then cools down to 20 °C (68 °F). Compound chocolate processing does not involve tempering and is more manageable in terms of resources.

Is compound chocolate ‘true’ chocolate?

No. It is only an alternative to true chocolate – which contains cocoa solids, cocoa butter, and dairy fat – by US standards. However, EU regulations allow up to 5% of vegetable fats to be present in true chocolates. In general, the chocolate standards-of-identity requires chocolate to contain 50-60% cocoa butter and should exclusively use cocoa liquor. Any deviation from these standards becomes a compound coating or compound chocolate. Cocoa butter replacers or CBRs are also used as an alternative to cocoa butter. Their consistency makes it easy to mix with chocolate liquor. However, their tolerance to other fats is only up to 20%.

Who will buy compound chocolates?

Compound chocolate production usually serves for coating candies. Compound chocolate hardens more easily than normal chocolate. This is because it has vegetable fats as ingredients, and they don’t require much tempering, which means it’s easy to mold them to candies and other desserts. True chocolate needs tempering to harden properly.

It also serves confectionaries and bakeries that involve dipping food items in chocolate, such as chocolate-dipped strawberries and biscuits. Compound chocolates are a reliable alternative for couverture chocolate to use in chocolate fountains. They are also a practical choice for large servings of chocolates, such as caterers, restaurants, and other dessert businesses. Though the flavor and melt-in-mouth sensation are not the same as pure chocolate, it is still a cost-effective substitute and is relatively easy to work with.

Healthy cocoa butter alternatives for compound chocolate production

Usually, CBEs (Cocoa Butter Equivalent) and CBAs (Cocoa Butter Alternatives) are using vegetable oils with hydrogenated fat or trans-fat. They emulate cocoa butter and increase the shelf life of compound chocolates. This can, in turn, leads to major health issues, such as raised cholesterol levels, and can further develop stroke or heart disease. There is however an alternative to this, which is non-hydrogenated fat. Most food companies now use this kind of fat in their dairy products such as chocolates. Lauric fats, which are ingredients of CBEs, do now have non-hydrogenated fat alternatives.

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