These food holidays are really odd, and I'm not sure who started them and who really sanctions them, but I guess I do. January 10 is Bittersweet Chocolate Day, not to be confused with Bittersweet Chocolate Almond Day on November 7).
Since I eat and review chocolate, the word bittersweet isn't really part of my lexicon. I certainly have purchased bars that are labeled bittersweet chocolate chips and bars, but usually I buy chocolate based on its origins, fair-trade and amount of cacao. Bittersweet is just too vague for me personally.
According to Wikipedia, Bittersweet chocolate is chocolate liquor (unsweetened chocolate not liqueur) to which some sugar (typically a third), more cocoa butter, vanilla and sometimes lecithin has been added. It has less sugar and more liquor than semisweet chocolate, but the two are interchangeable in baking. Bittersweet and semisweet chocolates are sometimes referred to as 'couverture' (chocolate that contains at least 32 percent cocoa butter); many brands (the ones I like) print on the package the percentage of cocoa (as chocolate liquor and added cocoa butter) contained. The rule is that the higher the percentage of cocoa, the less sweet the chocolate will be. The American FDA classifies chocolate as either "bittersweet" or "semisweet" that contain at least 35% cacao (either cacao solids or butter from the cacao beans).
So using this definition, almost any of my recipes will work since I use mostly very dark chocolate.
Here's a recipe for Bittersweet Chocolate Bundt Cake adapted from Nestle Toll House's Chocolate Pound Cake recipe. It's easy and delicious. If you use a Nestle Toll House Unsweetened Chocolate Baking Bar be sure and add more sugar to the recipe.
BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE BUNDT CAKE
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons Instant Coffee Granules (something you'll only use for this)*
8 ounces dark chocolate (75%-90%), broken into pieces, divided (save 2 oz for glaze)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup sweet butter, softened
1 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. PREHEAT oven to 325 degrees F. Grease 10-inch Bundt pan.
2. COMBINE flour, baking soda and baking powder in small bowl. Bring water and coffee granules to a boil in small saucepan; remove from heat. Add 6 ounces chocolate; stir until smooth.
3. BEAT sugar, butter and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs; beat on high speed for 5 minutes. Beat in flour mixture alternately with chocolate mixture. Pour into prepared Bundt pan.
4. BAKE for 50 to 60 minutes or until long wooden pick inserted in cake comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 30 minutes. Invert onto wire rack to cool completely. Place on plate. Drizzle with Chocolate Glaze
** Sometimes I pour the glaze over the bundt cake while it's still a bit warm. The cake absorbs the glaze, and it's yummy!
FOR CHOCOLATE GLAZE: Melt remaining 2 ounces of chocolate with butter in small, saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in powdered sugar alternately with water. Stir in vanilla extract. Drizzle over cake.
Want to celebrate Bittersweet Chocolate Day with a Book? Pick up a copy of Alice Medrich's Bittersweet: Recipes and Tales from a Life in Chocolate. She's the best! Chocolate recipes and info, some bittersweet.