My idea of a good Friday night is Netflix and Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies from Insomnia. But whether it's a Hershey's bar or a gourmet slice of chocolate chip cheesecake, you can never go wrong with chocolate. There are an infinite amount of ways to enjoy this magical bean of joy. Heck, they've even discovered pink chocolate. However, the two most common types of chocolate are milk and dark. But what's the difference between dark chocolate vs milk chocolate, and which is better for you?

How Chocolate Is Made

cream, candy, coffee, chocolate, sweet
Christin Urso

The chocolate-making process is complex. Long story short, cacao nibs from the cacao bean are ground into a paste. Milk and dark chocolate are produced from various proportions of the non-fat part of the cocoa bean. Cocoa butter, sugar, butter, and vanilla are then added for fat, flavor, and richness. 

If making milk chocolate, another star ingredient is added: milk. Milk chocolate is also more processed and has more fat because of the addition of milk, along with other oils and additives

Flavor and pairings

cocoa, chocolate chips, chips, chocolate, candy, sweet
Caroline Ingalls

There are many differences within milk chocolate or dark chocolate depending on the sweeteners and other ingredients added. Of course, milk chocolate is often sweeter than dark chocolate because it contains higher levels of sugar. Also, dark chocolate has an intensity that some people find quite bitter, especially bars with 65-85% cacao. 

Milk chocolate often pairs well with kettle corn, ginger, and even bacon. Dark chocolate pairs well with avocado, coffee, and red wine. When it comes to fruit, cookies, and other desserts, it's a matter of preference. 

Health Benefits

chocolate, cocoa powder, cocoa
Jocelyn Hsu

There are many proven health benefits of chocolate such as improvement of blood flow and heart health, protection of the skin, increased brain function, and reduced risk of stroke. However, most commercial chocolate products (such as Hershey's and Reese's) are highly processed, while dark chocolate bars from Lindt, Godiva, and Ghirardelli are far less processed.

The good news is that most major chocolate manufacturers are looking for ways to keep the flavonoids (which help plants repair damage) in their products. For now, though, dark chocolate is the better option if you're trying to be healthy, especially since milk chocolate is loaded with other fats and sugars. 

fudge, candy, caramel, toffee, chocolate
Samantha Slavin

Also, be careful about the type of chocolate you choose. A dark chocolate with marshmallow, caramel, and an extra fudgy center doesn't have many health benefits. Watch out for those extra ingredients that can add lots of extra fat and calories.

Also, portion control is key. There is not much research on the proper serving size and exactly how much chocolate you should be eating. However, it can be concluded that you don't need to feel guilty if you enjoy a small piece of dark chocolate once in a while.

Which Is Better?

chocolate, sweet, cake
Maddie Lanier

I personally prefer the intensity of dark chocolate, but I surveyed a lot of my friends to see which type of chocolate reigned supreme. Surprisingly, there was a tie between milk chocolate and dark chocolate. My guess is that it's just a taste preference and nothing more. 

All chocolate can serve some benefit, from making you smarter to simply satisfying those sugar cravings. No matter what type you prefer, chocolate is an essential part of life. And why just like one type when you can like them all?