White, Milk Chocolate, Semisweet, Bittersweet, Unsweetened
Always buy the Best you can find. There is a difference in taste and quality. For many years the best most of us (at least on the west coast) could get was Ghirardelli’s.
Today you can shop around at gourmet cooking stores, or on line, for some of the world’s Best chocolates. For most of your chocolate chip cookies Ghirardelli’s is still a very good choice, from your local supermarket. I find for flourless chocolate cakes, or over the top brownies the Best chocolate makes a noticeably, better flavor. Also, you should only use chips if your recipe calls for chips.
(Is not really chocolate at all, since it doesn’t contain any cocoa liquor, the pure ground cacao bean paste that is the basis for all chocolate).At any rate read the label carefully and be sure to buy a brand that contains cocoa butter- some white chocolate is made with vegetable fat and doesn’t contain any of the cocoa bean at all.
For milk chocolate, choose one of the Belgian chocolates, available in many gourmet markets. But, if you are just going to your supermarket go Ghirardelli’s.
Semisweet and Bittersweet:
This chocolate I think can usually be used interchangeable in recipe, depending on your personal preference. However, if a recipe calls for bittersweet use it for the depth of a deeper chocolate flavor. Callebaut is an excellent Belgian chocolate available. Also, look for brands such as Lindt and Tobler (these usually come in 3 ½ ounce bars) in the candy aisle of your supermarket.
Many of us again on the West coast again, grow up with German’s or Hershey when a recipe called for unsweetened cooking chocolate. (I remember one day looking for a snack as a child biting into a piece of this chocolate that was not like any other chocolate I had ever eaten, no sugar.) Today at gourmet kitchen store, or on line a better choice to try would be Scharfen Berger.
There are two types of unsweetened cocoa powder; Natural, or non-alkalized and Dutch process, or alkalized has a richer, deeper color. Hershey’s regular is a good natural cocoa. When a recipe calls for Dutch please use it as it will make a big difference. However, when neither type is specified in a recipe, you can use either one.