Candy Category Glossary

Explanations of some of the basic confectionery buzzwords.

A substance that helps prevent or delay oxidative damage caused by reactive oxygen and or reactive nitrogen species. Oxidative damage to the body, cells and tissues may contribute to diseases like cancer and heart disease. Fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains are high in the antioxidant vitamins, carotenoids, C and E. Flavonoids and phytochemicals, found in foods of plant origin, also act as antioxidants.
Bittersweet Chocolate
Chocolate with a minimum of 50 percent chocolate liquor.
(Pronounced “ka-kow”)
The bean behind chocolate, it is often referred to as cocoa in the United States.  It originated in the Amazon basin and was domesticated throughout northern South America and Central America.
Chocolate Liquor
This is the pure, straight-from-the-bean chocolate. The center of the cocoa bean is ground into a liquid, called the liquor (There is no alcohol in this!).
Cocoa Butter
It’s not really a butter, but the fat extracted from the chocolate liquor.
Cocoa Powder
Cocoa powder is the solid left after the cocoa butter is pressed out of the liquor. Cocoa powder often undergoes a Dutch Process, that reduces its natural acidity. Dutch cocoa is milder tasting and blends better with milk.
Dark Chocolate
Also known as ‘sweet chocolate.’ It only contains 15 percent liquor, as well as sweeteners and cocoa butter.
The process of covering a candy center with chocolate.
The largest group of plant polyphenols. These compounds usually occur bound to sugar molecules.
A monomeric unit, which is the building block of oligomeric procyanidin, an antioxidant found in seeds, skins and barks of various plants. A phytochemical that contributes to the reaction chemistry and development of flavor during the manufacture of chocolate.
Specific sub-class of compounds within the general flavonoid classification found in cocoa, chocolate, green tea, grapes, apples and red wine.  
A smooth paste made from boiled sugar syrup, often colored and flavored, used as a filling for chocolates or a candy filled with fondant.
A smooth mixture of chopped chocolate and heavy cream that may be used in making truffles.
A small, fruit-flavored candy with a hard, gelatinous texture.
Milk Chocolate
Milk chocolate has at least 10 percent liquor and 12 percent milk solids. Sugar, cocoa butter and vanilla are also mixed in.
A candymaking process in which a nut or other candy center is repeatedly coated with extremely thin layers of sugar, thus creating a hard, sugar shell.
Semi-Sweet Chocolate
Chocolate with a minimum of 35 percent chocolate liquor.
A methylxanthine found in cocoa beans.
A rich confection made with melted chocolate, butter, cream or oil, sugar and various flavorings. Truffles may be dipped in melted white or dark chocolate to create a hard coating. Truffles get their name from the rare mushroom of the same name because the original, cocoa-coated and rather misshapen versions resembled these mushrooms.
Unsweetened Chocolate
This is the solid form of chocolate liquor. Unsweetened chocolate is often used in baking.
White Chocolate
This kind lacks the brown color because there are no cocoa solids. White chocolate is made up of only cocoa butter, sugar and milk solids.
Sources: About, Inc., A Primedia Company; CIC, Chocolate Information Center, Supported by Mars, Inc.; Encarta World English Dictionary;;;; “Sweets, A History of Candy;” and Seattle Chocolate Co.