It is time to start stocking up on your holiday baking essentials (alternative opening: HOW is November nearly half over already?!?), so let’s talk about how to store one very important ingredient: your chocolate!
Most chocolate bars and chocolate chips will last about one year, if stored properly. Because it doesn’t have the antioxidants inherent in cocoa solids, white chocolate will not last quite as long. Darker chocolates may last longer.
Chocolate should be kept at room temperature, ideally between 60 – 65 or 70F. Anything colder or warmer will damage the texture of the chocolate via sugar or fat bloom (more on those below).
The fat in chocolate is susceptible to picking up off-flavors. To avoid ending up with garlic-scented chocolate or the like, keep the chocolate in its original wrapper, and store the whole thing in an airtight container or bag.
Dark and Dry:
Keep the chocolate out of the light and in a dry area. Storing chocolate in a humid environment (or in a too-cold environment), like that of a refrigerator, will often lead to sugar bloom. Sugar bloom looks like “dust” on the surface of chocolate, and happens when water dissolves the sugar on the chocolate’s surface and then the sugar recrystallizes. Chocolate with sugar bloom is perfectly safe to eat, and will taste the same as un-bloomed chocolate, but the texture will be grainier. You’d be better off using chocolate with sugar bloom for melting or baking, when the texture will matter less.
You may also notice fat bloom on the surface of your chocolate, which looks very similar to sugar bloom. In fat bloom, cocoa butter within the chocolate melts, migrates to the surface, and then recrystallizes. It is often caused when chocolate wasn’t originally tempered properly, or was stored at too high or fluctuating temperatures. Again, it doesn’t affect the flavor, but it does impair the quality of the chocolate.