Sunday, April 17, 2016

Cocoa Powder

Cocoa, Man, Colombia, Peasant, Hand  After yesterday's research, I wondered about cocoa powders  because it is often recommended we use these to cook with.  Cocoa for baking has no added sugar or milk so its dairy free. 

Did you know there is something called Black Cocoa?  I didn't but it turns out this is a super dark dutch processed powder that gives baked goods a deep dark color and intense flavor.  Since it has little to no fat, it is important to increase the amount of fat. Black Cocoa is often used more for coloring and creating nuances rather than for actual flavoring.

2. Droste dutch processed cocoa comes highly recommended for baking.  It is not as dark as Black Cocoa but is darker than regular baking cocoa so its a nice inbetween.

3. Fauchon cocoa powder has a bittersweet flavor that comes through when used in baked items.

4. Valrhona which has a deep color, strong chocolate flavor and is great in baked items.

5. Green and Black has a fair trade cocoa that is not quite as good as the others but for many people is easier to find in the supermarkets.  It is said to have a coffee tinted flavor and is ok.

Not all cocoa powders are the same.  Some are used to make hot cocoa.  My neighbor makes some that is just cocoa and water which I hate because I prefer the milk added to smooth it out.  I remember saving my money to buy Droste for my hot cocoa.  I'd add the cocoa, sugar and some hot water, then top it with milk and I really liked it because the chocolate flavor was strong and outstanding.

It turns out there really isn't any information the best brand of cocoa powder to make your own hot cocoa.  There are recommended brands of drinking chocolate mixes that are highly recommended or you can try the various recipes that appear on the internet.  The bottom line for the recipes is that most start with a straight cocoa powder and you can add milk, sugar, to them to create the drink. 

Its interesting that one chocolate mix I had was grated chocolate you added to milk and heated.  As the milk heated, the chocolate pieces melted and were supposed to mix with the milk to create a nice homogeneous mix.  Unfortunately, it didn't work out that way.  There were always strands of chocolate and I just didn't care for it as much.

I'm off to make myself a nice cup of homemade hot cocoa to enjoy while I watch snow machines try to race across the thin lake ice. Have a nice day.

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