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Best cocoa powder for baking, especially brownies!



the best cocoa powder for baking (especially brownies!)

It is debatable whether there really is a bad brownie, but one thing is certain: the best brownies start with the best cocoa powder. You’re familiar with this if you’ve ever made brownies from a dry cocoa packet. You feel the urge to eat chocolate and you rush to get every cocoa available. Once your brownies are out of the oven you take your first bite. “Maybe I didn’t add enough cocoa,” You might think that quantity is the problem, but it’s actually quality. That is why many Bon Appétit recipes specifically call for Dutch process cocoa powder, and in the eyes of BA Test Kitchen, Guittard Cocoa Rouge is the best cocoa powder of all.

Guittard Cocoa Rouge Dutch Process cocoa powder

What is cocoa powder?

Cocoa powder is made from cocoa beans after they have been fermented and dried. The solids are then ground into powder. Compared to dark chocolate or Fèves, cocoa powder has a higher proportion of solids and fat – around 75 to 90% – which is why we use cocoa powder in our chocolatiest chocolate desserts. It’s high-concentrated and full of chocolate flavor.

What is the difference in Dutch process and natural cocoa?

A recipe will typically call for either Dutch or natural cocoa powder. These two types of cocoa powders are made from cocoa beans. However, the process to make them is slightly different. Natural cocoa Powder, also called unsweetened cacao powder, unsweetened cocoa flour, or pure chocolate powder, is the unprocessed cocoa solids after grinding. Cocoa beans have a pH between 5-6. Natural cocoa flour is lighter in color and almost has a reddish hue. Cocoa powder is hot and fruity in its raw form.

Dutch process cocoa flour, also called alkalized cocoa paste or Dutched chocolate powder, is made from cocoa beans that have been soaked in an alkaline solution. This neutralizes the acid and gives it a richer, more earthy flavor. Claire Saffitz, former BA food editor, says that Dutch process cocoa powder is her preferred choice for baking. “The alkalization process darkens the color and typically intensifies the taste.” Dutch process cocoa flour produces baked goods with a more intense chocolate flavor.

Do I have to use Dutch process cocoa powder instead of natural cocoa powder?

The taste is not the only difference. “Remember, you cannot use Dutch process cocoa powder interchangeably with raw cocoa in every recipe, as the different acids interact with baking powder,” warns Saffitz. Baking soda can activate when it comes in contact acidic ingredients. For example, think about cakes that call for yogurt, buttermilk or vinegar. Baking soda can be used to replace alkalized cocoa powder in a recipe that was made with natural cocoa powder (which is acidic). However! Unfortunately, Dutch processing cocoa can make fuddier, more dense baked goods. That is a negative.

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