We all know that chocolate is the most devilish of delights. It is sinful and tasty and we just can’t get enough of it. Despite cocoa’s various health benefits we still count it among the tastiest of temptations.
Choosing the Chocolate
Cocoa powder is amazing to bake with. Unlike all of the other forms of chocolate using baking cocoa doesn’t require melting the chocolate. This may not sound important to you ignorant humans but this step does tend to make things more complicated. First off melting the chocolate is requied to fully incorporate the chocolate into your batter. If this step isn’t taken, with say baking chocolate, as you bite into the finished product you will hit chunks of chocolate and areas of non-chocolate. This works if our goal is a chocolate chip muffin, not so much for a chocolate cake.
The other problems with melting your chocolate is that you have to wait and let it cool. If you don’t give your chocolate a chance to cool down then it will start to cook your other ingredients early, not allowing them to function properly in your baked goods. Then there is also the problem of melting the chocolate incorrectly and causing the chocolate to separate which does not lead to a tasty outcome. Of course if you let it sit too long, as I am sure many humans are prone to do, the chocolate will become to hard to mix thoroughly and you will have to melt it all over again.
Natural Vs Dutch Cocoa Powder
Cocoa powder comes in two forms, natural and dutch. Regardless of which you choose they will still, by themselves, taste bitter. In the batter, a little bit of cocoa will go a long way as it has a very strong and dominant, you might even say demonic, flavor.You also need to know that the cocoa powder will act like a sponge and absorb a lot of liquid. Without sugar or fat the powder is very dry and it will steal moisture from the ingredients around it.
Natural cocoa powder is a reddish brown color. It is made by grounding up cocoa nibs which are the meat of the cocoa bean. The cocoa fat is then removed from the paste in a hydraulic press. The remaining cocoa is then reground and sifted into a fine powder.
Dutch cocoa powder has a much darker color because of the dutching process. Dutch processed cocoa has been treated with an alkali compound. This removes aspects of chocolate’s complex flavor. Some people will say this makes the cocoa more ‘approachable.’ Personally we use natural but we are not going to go through some elaborate trial system just for you.
Chocolate is delicious. Don’t think that just because of all this that cocoa powder is the only chocolate you should bake with. Baking chocolate is wonderful and, depending on what you are making, can be a better choice then cocoa powder. In the instance of our hellish brownies we choose powdered though. It packs just the
punch we are looking for in good brownies and since it has very little fat and sugar of its own its makes super fudgy brownies, which are the only way to go. I guess we can forgive you if you prefer a cake-ier brownie, you are only human after all.