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Chefs Name The Best Cocoa Powders for Every Use

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I love chocolate from day one. From cakes to ice cream to pastries, we order any chocolate option. Chocolate croissant at 9am, chocolate cake at 9pm. But what do the most amazing chocolate dishes have in common? Fine cocoa powder. So when I was tasked with finding the best cocoa powder available, I must have taken the task seriously.

There is a stereotype that bakers are the most meticulous kind of chef because everything has to be precise. I dream of calling myself a baker, but have never thought about what kind of cocoa powder to use in a recipe. I recently learned that the reason it doesn’t taste as decadent as you’d hoped for can have a lot to do with the quality of your cocoa powder.

So, as a chocolate lover and aspiring baker, I decided to ask our favorite Austin chef for his recommendations for the best cocoa powder. Learn more about why using good cocoa powder is key to creating the best chocolate treats and shop our chef’s picks.

Featured image by Michelle Nash.

chocolate expert

image provider Hannah Zaner

What is cocoa powder?

Before we dive into the best cocoa powder for all your needs, let’s talk about what cocoa powder actually is. No.) Cocoa powder is made by fermenting, drying and separating the cocoa beans from the fat and grinding these solids. high, making it the ultimate chocolate flavor.

Natural Cocoa Powder vs. Dutch Process Cocoa Powder

Chef Susana Kerejaz shares This article Please analyze with me the difference between natural cocoa powder and Dutch process cocoa powder. We can guarantee that.

Basically, Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder takes the natural cocoa powder process a step further and is washed with a potassium carbonate solution to neutralize the acidity and bring it to a pH of 7. Natural cocoa powder has a pH between 5 and 6 and a sharp, almost citrusy taste. On the other hand, dutch process cacao has no acidity, so it has a mellow and mellow taste.

So if you’re baking cakes or cookies, it’s best to use the recommended type of powder. . As such, it relies on baking powder and its neutral pH. The article has images showing how the two powders affect certain recipes. But for sauces, drinks, ice cream, or anything that doesn’t need to be fermented, it’s up to you.

image provider Hannah Zaner

Sweetened cocoa powder and unsweetened cocoa powder

I’ve always heard and seen about sweetened and unsweetened cocoa powder, but I was surprised to learn that natural cocoa is synonymous with unsweetened cocoa powder. And almost all of Chef’s recommendations for the best cocoa powder are unsweetened. said not to use

“First, we add our own sweeteners as needed for different uses. I feel like I lose the ability to control or really know how much sugar I’m consuming compared to adding sugar (or not adding it at all) at .

Chef Yasmin kept things simple and said any unsweetened cocoa powder would work.[s] Baking with unsweetened cocoa powder gives you depth and rich flavor without relying on sugar. She specifically uses unsweetened cocoa her powder in her Isot Double Her chocolate cake in Aba, which has a beautifully balanced mouthfeel and layers of chocolate notes. ”

Image by Michelle Nash

Chef’s Choice for Best Cocoa Powder

Why we love Chef Kristen: One of my all-time favorites for baking is Cacao Barry Extra Brute Cocoa Powder. This cocoa powder is a staple in mousses, brownies and cakes. Perfect as a topping for tiramisu!

Why you’ll love Chef Amanda: Not only is it lusciously rich in color and silky texture (which doesn’t harden), but the flavor is pure chocolate. 10 out of 10 stars. I recommend this for baking/pastry applications. Use This cocoa powder can cross all pastry genres.

Why I love Chef Philippe: I like it because it is very versatile, rich in flavor and has a beautiful reddish tint. Aesthetically appealing and delicious!

Why I love Chef Krystal: This is my favorite cocoa powder. The overall taste is richer and more intense than many cocoa powders, yet blends smoothly and has a gorgeous deep reddish brown color. I like that it’s also suitable. In winter, you can easily make “grown-up” drinking chocolates from this cocoa powder with a dash of bourbon, rum and mezcal.

  • price: $35 for a 2.2 lb bag
  • Cost per ounce: $0.99

2. Best Cocoa Powder for Brownies: Republica Del Cacao

Why I Love Chef’s Margaritas: This cocoa powder is very thick and greasy due to its high cocoa butter content.

  • price: $57.45 for a 5-pound bag
  • Cost per ounce: $0.72

3. Best Splurge Cocoa Powder: Valrhona Cocoa Powder

Why I love Chef Susana: Treated in Dutch meaning treated with alkali. Dutch process cocoa powder has a more “pure, dark chocolate” flavor, as opposed to “softer, milder flavored” natural cocoa powder. Some applications outperform others with the Dutch V Natural option.

Why I love Chef Krystal: If you want to make your own drinkable chocolate instead of Cacao Barry Extra Brut Red Cocoa Powder, we recommend Valrhona Cocoa Powder.

  • price: $17.99 for an 8.8 oz container
  • Cost per ounce: $2.04

4. Best Chocolate Flavor: Cocoa Noel Black Cocoa Powder

Why we love Chef Kristen: When I want to create something chocolatey and add some elegance, I love Cocoa Noel Black Cocoa Powder. Its intense color turns any cake into a deep black color and also imparts a nice cocoa flavor.

  • price: $37.99 for a 3-pound container
  • Cost per ounce: $0.79

5. Best All-Purpose Cocoa Powder: Lake Champlain Chocolate Unsweetened Cocoa

Why I love Chef Krystal: I used to love visiting the chocolate factory on Lake Champlain in Vermont, so this is partly my favorite for nostalgic reasons, but it actually serves multiple purposes (baked goods, drinking chocolate, hand-rolled Truffles, etc.) is the “workhorse” cocoa powder.. It’s processed in the Netherlands, but I’d say it tastes like a cross between processed cocoa powder and natural cocoa powder.

  • price: $12.79 for a 10 oz container
  • Cost per ounce: $1.28

6. Best Buy: Gutitado Cocoa Rouge Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

Why I love Chef Krystal: For those looking to expand their cocoa powder choices at home, I highly recommend starting with Guittard Products, which offers complete options covering a range of all categories and flavor profiles. are often more accessible in stores and online.

  • price: $10.99 for an 8 oz container
  • Cost per ounce: $1.37

7. Best cocoa powder for special uses: Luker Chocolate Cocoa Powder

Why I love Chef Krystal: This cocoa powder tempts you to describe it like wine… Made from the finest cocoa beans, it is light in color, medium bodied, delicate yet complex and full of well-developed flavors. A great natural cocoa powder for almost any application when you don’t need a lot of rich, full-bodied cocoa taste but want something special.

  • price: $19.66 for a 2.2 lb container
  • Cost per ounce: $0.56

This post was originally published on September 17, 2022 and has since been updated.

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