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Thread: help! has the size of a baking chocolate "square" changed in the last 20 years?

  1. #1
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    help! has the size of a baking chocolate "square" changed in the last 20 years?

    I have a brownie recipe from the 70s or 80s that my in-laws loved. My mother in law passed away recently and we tried to make the recipe for my father in law. However, the recipe simply calls for "two squares of unsweetened chocolate." We first tried a standard "square" - 1/2 oz each - and the batter didn't look at all chocolate-y. We added another two squares and baked it - it still wasn't enough. My father in law said that the old squares were almost like cubes - does anyone know how much these weighed? I'd like to get the recipe right the next time.

    thanks!

  2. #2
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    I've always understood a "square" of chocolate to be 1 oz, and Baker's chocolate is still that way -- each square is closer to the "cube" your FIL mentioned, with a cleft down the middle so it can be split easily if needed. An 8-oz box contains 8 squares.



    If you used another brand of chocolate, it could be that their squares are 1/2 ounce rather than 1 oz. If you still used 2 oz of chocolate in total and the recipe didn't seem right, I would just say to check to make sure it was completely unsweetened chocolate, not bittersweet or semisweet.
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  3. #3
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    you know, i remember seeing such a chunk of chocolate used by my grandmother (RIP), but i can't be sure it was unsweetened. However, my Betty Crocker Picture cookbook, the original from the 50's, calls for 1 chunk of unsw. choc., and gives the amount in parentheses-- 1 oz., just like the squares in the Baker's package i use now...sorry!

  4. #4
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    I use Baker's Chocolate too. Each square is 1 oz. They are individually wrapped. The square can be snapped in half. 8 oz box has 8 squares.

  5. #5
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    is there another origin to the recipe, like a flour company or something? becuase they might have the info you need. ]
    also, if you post the recipe, one of us may be able to figure it out with relative amounts--- i'm must have tried at least 2 dozen different brownies recipes or more, and i'm not even close the most experimental baker here!
    i also own several chocolate cookbooks, so... we might be able to get it together for ya. tomorrow, anyhow.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the speedy replies. I had to use bittersweet instead of unsweetened (which is what the recipe called for), but we decreased the sugar a bit to try to compensate. It still seems like the amount of chocolate was also a problem but maybe I should remake them with the unsweetened chocolate? Do you think the type could have made such a difference? It just didn't seem very chocolatey at all.

    I can also try to post the recipe tomorrow.

  7. #7
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    alot depends on the recipe... personally, i always add chocolate chips, or Extra choc. chips. to every chocolate cake or brownie recipe I make. so it's always chocolatey enough for me!

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    I think I would remaking them using the unsweetened chocolate to see if they're better. It can make a difference substituting one type of chocolate for another and you have to be careful. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. (different fat ratios for different types and if you add sugar and/or milk in there... a good book on chocolate would do a much better job explaining than me I think it was one of Alice Medrich's that I read)

    And if you don't have unsweetened chocolate, a better substitute, at least for brownies, is cocoa and butter. I use that at least half the time because I'm always forgetting to buy the choc squares.

    1 sq unsweetened chocolate = 3 Tbs cocoa + 1 Tbs butter

    My brownie recipe, which is the one my mom always made and so dates from about the same time as yours, calls for 2 squares of unsweetened chocolate for a square pan. We use the Baker's choc unsweetened squares.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by melkel View Post
    Thanks for the speedy replies. I had to use bittersweet instead of unsweetened (which is what the recipe called for), but we decreased the sugar a bit to try to compensate. It still seems like the amount of chocolate was also a problem but maybe I should remake them with the unsweetened chocolate?
    That's absolutely the problem. Unsweetened chocolate is 100% cacao. So, you need 2 oz of pure chocolate in that recipe, regardless of how much sugar you have. Baker's bittersweet chocolate is 67% cacao -- the brand you used could be several percentage points lower or higher. But, using Baker's as an example, even though you added 2 oz of chocolate product to your batter, you would have had only 1.34 oz of pure chocolate. You would have needed to add another oz of your bittersweet to make up the difference.

    I agree that unless you know the cacao % of the chocolate you are using and you want to do this sort of math, a better sub is often cocoa + fat (I use vegetable oil; butter is not 100% fat).
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by tovie View Post
    It can make a difference substituting one type of chocolate for another and you have to be careful. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. (different fat ratios for different types and if you add sugar and/or milk in there... a good book on chocolate would do a much better job explaining than me I think it was one of Alice Medrich's that I read)
    absolutely--- Bittersweet is like a mini-course in chocolate, and i love reading it and getting that kind of tutorial. it's a wonderful reference.

  11. #11
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    Thanks again for all of the help - I definitely agree with the thread, that not using the right kind of chocolate must clearly be the problem. I don't know why I didn't try the cocoa + fat option since I've used that in other recipes with success. Oh well - live and learn. My son thinks the "failed" recipe is okay, so at least they'll be eaten!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by melkel View Post
    My son thinks the "failed" recipe is okay, so at least they'll be eaten!
    LOL! Thank goodness for hungry boys!
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  13. #13
    Recipes back then just weren't as chocolatey. We thought they were good back then, but after being served really chocolatey things, the oldies seem pretty boring! Several older women commented on that when we put together our last church cookbook.

    The unsweetened/bittersweet conversion is part of the problem too of course.

  14. #14

    Yes it has changed very recently.

    Quote Originally Posted by melkel View Post
    I have a brownie recipe from the 70s or 80s that my in-laws loved. My mother in law passed away recently and we tried to make the recipe for my father in law. However, the recipe simply calls for "two squares of unsweetened chocolate." We first tried a standard "square" - 1/2 oz each - and the batter didn't look at all chocolate-y. We added another two squares and baked it - it still wasn't enough. My father in law said that the old squares were almost like cubes - does anyone know how much these weighed? I'd like to get the recipe right the next time.

    thanks!
    If you buy the "New" Easy to break squares the box has only 4 oz not 8 as in the previous box and you need 4 of the little squares to make 1 oz which was the size of the "squares" in your recipe. If you look at the top right of the box they show you that 4 "little squares" equals 1 oz.

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