This Is What It Means if Your Chocolate Looks Dusty

Turns out, there's a scientific reason why chocolate can look dusty. Here's what it is, and why you shouldn't be too worried about it.

No doubt you’ve come across a Snickers, Milky Way or Hershey bar with a weird bit of white dust or an off-coloured section. Chances are, you’ve questioned exactly how long that chocolate bar has been sitting on the convenience store shelf. Maybe you’ve even wondered if it was safe to eat. Well, it turns out that dusty appearance is down to a process known as “chocolate bloom.” Here’s how it works.

What is chocolate bloom?

The explanation for chocolate bloom is simple food science—it happens when the fat in chocolate separates from the rest of the candy. When chocolate is left in a warm place and melts, the fat in the chocolate (also known as the cocoa butter) will separate from the rest of the ingredients as it cools and reforms. Then, as the fat rises to the surface, it creates that white, dusty film.

In a similar process known as sugar chocolate bloom, the sugar will crystallize due to excess moisture. When that happens, you’ll typically see a speckled appearance on top of the candy bar.

Is bloomed chocolate safe to eat?

The short answer is yes, it’s safe. The taste may end up a little off, but it’s edible nonetheless.

If you’re uneasy about eating bloomed chocolate, but don’t want to waste the candy, use it for baking. Drop ’em into candy bar cookies, crush the candy bars to top chocolate-covered espresso beans or stir pieces into chocolate bar brownies.

Next, find out which expiration dates you should never ignore.

Taste of Home
Originally Published on Taste of Home