Chocolate yogurt is a creamy dairy product made from cultured milk that has been flavored to taste like chocolate. Some yogurt manufacturers commercially market chocolate-flavored yogurt products, many of which are targeted at children or health-conscious adults. Home cooks can easily make their own chocolate yogurt by adding cocoa powder or flavored syrup to plain, vanilla, or even fruit-based yogurts. In many markets, chocolate frozen yogurt is also very popular, usually as a healthier alternative to ice cream.
Yogurt comes in many styles, flavors, and consistencies. Its basis is milk, but most any sort of milk can be used — even soy milk, in some cases. Enzymes that are either inherent or added into the milk form a creamy, custard-like substance when heated that has a distinctive tangy taste. Many of the most complex chocolate yogurts involve the addition of concentrated cocoa powder or chocolate essences at the culturing stage. Usually, though, the flavor is added to yogurt products once they have formed and firmed up.
Chocolate yogurt is often promoted as a healthful way to enjoy the taste of chocolate. Most cakes and other confections made with cocoa are high in calories and have little to no nutritive benefits. Yogurts usually contain some sugar but are also high in calcium, active cultures that aid in digestion, and a host of essential vitamins. The addition of cocoa powder or flavorings lends the taste of chocolate without actually adding many calories. Chocolate yogurts in low-fat or non-fat varieties are particularly popular amongst the health-conscious.
A number of yogurt sauces and baked goods can also be enhanced with the addition of chocolate yogurt. Using a dollop of flavored yogurt in place of milk or oil in a cake can improve both texture and taste. The same is usually true with muffins, scones, and most any yogurt snack or confection that could be improved with a bit of moisture and a splash of chocolate. Baking with yogurt is generally very straight-forward, as the base creaminess tends to blend in with most every sort of batter.
Chocolate yogurt of the non-baking variety can often be found in the freezer. Frozen yogurt is a well-loved yogurt dessert in many parts of the world. It is similar to ice cream, but has a certain tang and creaminess that sets it apart. Chocolate frozen yogurt is often available both in cartons from dairies and grocery stores, and in soft-serve format at specialty shops.
Frozen yogurt is often a better choice than ice cream in terms of fat content, but rarely beats out standard yogurt when it comes to health properties. Most frozen versions are very high in sugar, and many of the live and active cultures that make standard yogurt so beneficial do not survive freezing temperatures. Chocolate frozen yogurt is usually considered an indulgence, whereas regular chocolate yogurt is often a practical and even healthful snack.