Why Does Chocolate Turn White and Can You Still Eat It?

Why does chocolate turn white? We can only assume you’ve arrived at this page because you are desperately worried that your precious chocolate has gone bad. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about your predicament. 

It’s happened to every single one of us: You eat all your Halloween candy except for one piece of chocolate. This piece is the best piece. You’ll savor it later. You stick it in the fridge for safe keeping. Six months later you take the piece of chocolate out. You stick it under your pillow so you can dream about it. Then the next morning you wake up excited to eat your six month old Halloween pillow chocolate. You open the wrapper only to discover that the chocolate is covered in white stuff! What the heck is that? Why did my chocolate turn white? What does it mean when chocolate turns white? Is it an omen?  How do you fix chocolate that has turned white? Is it safe to eat chocolate that has turned white? Let’s get to the bottom of this color changing chocolate mystery. 

Why does chocolate turn white?

If your chocolate ever turned white and you were too embarrassed to talk about, don’t worry. It happens more often than you’d think. There’s even a name for it: chocolate bloom. When chocolate develops a white, dusty, covering or white streaks, it’s called chocolate bloom. There’s two different types of chocolate bloom: There’s sugar bloom and then there’s fat bloom. They both sound kind of delicious.

So what happened to the chocolate? What does it mean when it turns white? What causes the two types of chocolate bloom? Sugar bloom occurs when the sugar gets separated from the other ingredients in the chocolate. That usually happens when there’s a change in moisture. Like, if you keep chocolate in the refrigerator then take it out and let it come to room temperature, it can cause condensation to form. The condensation can make the sugars dissolve and then recrystallise on the chocolate’s surface as it dries. That gives the chocolate a dusty, white coat. 

Fat bloom can be caused by heat or light exposure, improper tempering, or improper handling. The cocoa beans that make chocolate are around fifty percent fat. We call that fat cocoa butter. When chocolate is produced it goes through a tempering process in which it’s heated and cooled. Improper tempering can cause the fat to separate and form powdery gray, white, or tan streaks on the outside of the chocolate.

Is it safe to eat chocolate that’s turned white?

If you ate a bunch of chocolate that had turned white and looked up this article then patiently read this far to find out if you’d been poisoned, you are in luck. It is perfectly safe to heat chocolate that’s turned white. While chocolate bloom may look like mold, it’s actually just the ingredients in the chocolate separating and making it look questionable. 

But we eat with our eyes as well. Well not literally. But we want the stuff we eat to look nice. So how do you fix chocolate that’s turned white? The easiest way is to retemper it. If your chocolate has sugar or fat bloom, you can melt it a little, reform it, then let it cool. Or just use that chocolate for cooking. If you’re baking and need some chocolate, you can use bloomed chocolate in the recipe and it won’t appear any different when the final product is done. There’s no reason to throw away chocolate that’s turned white. If you just don’t want it, you can always send it to me. I’ll give it a good home.

About the Author

Will Morgan

Will Morgan, a freelance contributor to Sporked, is an L.A. based writer, actor, and sketch comedy guy. Originally from Houston, TX, he strongly believes in the superiority of breakfast tacos to breakfast burritos. Will traveled the world as one of those people that did yoyo shows at elementary school assemblies, always making a point to find local and regional foods to explore in whatever place he was, even in rinky-dink towns like Tilsonberg, ON. Will spends his birthdays at Benihana’s. Let him know if can make it.

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