Is it mold? Is it dust?
So you’ve stumbled upon a stash of candy you forgot you had. Score! But after you peel back the wrapper on that chocolate bar from Halloween circa who-knows-what-year, you notice a white or gray film around the edges of the treat you were just about to devour. Is it mold? Is it dust? Most importantly, is it edible? We’ve got good news for you: It’s absolutely still edible, and there’s no need to throw out that perfectly OK chocolate bar. White flecks and spots on your chocolate bar are signs of either a “fat bloom” or a “sugar bloom,” and it’s totally natural.
Fat bloom is that waxy white coating that forms due to liquid fat like milk fats or cocoa butter moving through the chocolates and crystalizing on the surface. It usually happens due to temperature changes—so if it’s seen the chilly drafts of winter but also the blast of the heater cranked to high, you’re more likely to see those gray splotches. It more commonly occurs in cheaper chocolates that haven’t been tempered as well as the pricier, specialty varieties. Sugar bloom occurs most often because of moisture in the packaging drawing out the sugars within the confection, leading those sugars to crystalize on the surface. Sugar bloom is usually dry and may make your chocolate feel a little gritty or sandy—but again, just to reiterate, it’s still perfectly safe to eat.
Your best bet to prevent sugar or fat bloom is to store your chocolate in a cool (but not too cold) environment. Sixty-four degrees is the scientific sweet spot, but the door of your fridge will work just fine.
If you’ve got a stockpile of chocolate that has some unsightly bloom on it, but you aren’t quite ready to toss it, you can absolutely eat it as is—though the flavor will likely be a little off compared to a fresher chocolate bar—or use put you less-than-pristine chocolate to work. The best way to repurpose it? Melt it down.
Toasty mugs of homemade hot cocoa or drinking chocolate are perfect applications for your leftover candy. If you’ve got some higher-quality stuff on-hand like semi-sweet chocolate chips or baking chocolate that happens to have bloomed, you can melt the chocolate into ganache, brownie batter, or make your own chocolate bark that’s perfect for snacking or holiday gifting. Or, dip nuts, dried fruit, biscotti—even bacon—into melted chocolate for a cute, homemade snack to package and gift to hosts. It’s a thoughtful treat that they’ll actually enjoy, instead of another bottle of wine that isn’t of their liking, and you didn’t have to waste any good chocolate. That would be a travesty.