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snowangel

Dutch VS. Regular Cocoa

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What is the difference between dutch process cocoa and regular cocoa? If one has recipes (like a few from my great grandmother) that call for cocoa, what will happen if I use dutch process?

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snowangel:

Short version: there are implications if your recipe uses chemical leaveners. You should use Dutch cocoa in recipes that call for baking powder; if the recipe uses baking soda, you should use regular cocoa.

Longer version: Dutch cocoa is cocoa that has been processed with alkalai. This raises its pH from around 5.5 to about 7, making it almost neutral. Unless your recipe calls for leavening, it doesn't matter whether you use regular or Dutch; many people prefer Dutch cocoa because it is smoother (though some will say smoothness sacrifices deeper chocolate flavor). It really is a matter of taste, and you should use whichever one you want, unless you are working with pastry. In this case, the less acidic Dutch cocoa is usually preferred. An eGullet pastry person can probably advise you better than me.

Dave

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I'd also add that there's tremendous variety of flavor within the two styles--Dutch and not Dutch process. Buy a few, do a blind tasting, see for yourself. It's just like chocolate, it depends on the beans, where they're grown, how they're processed, etc. You might prefer one brand to coat truffles, another to bake with.

I am sure there are other good ones, but I've liked Valrhona, De Zaan, Cluizel and Cacao Barry Extra Brut.

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I just ordered some "black cocoa" from King Arthur to try out. Can anyone tell me more about it? Is it Dutched or natural? What makes it black? What should I expect flavor-wise?

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I just ordered some "black cocoa" from King Arthur to try out. Can anyone tell me more about it? Is it Dutched or natural? What makes it black? What should I expect flavor-wise?

Dutched cocoa would have a redish hue. I'm guessing your "black" cocoa is not dutch process.

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I thought I would report back on my first experience with black cocoa. I'm here to say that it is a wonderful, wonderful thing!

I ordered one pound of black cocoa from King Arthur Flour for $4.95. There's no indication on the label who the manufacturer is, but it does say it contains "cocoa beans processed with alkali", so I think that means it's Dutch processed. It really is black - about the color of ground espresso - and has deep chocolate smell.

For my first test I made a half batch of spicy chocolate cookies. Half recipe made about 56 medium cookies. Here's the recipe:

3/4 lb butter, softened

1-3/4 cups sugar

2 eggs

3 cups flour

1-1/2 cups cocoa powder (I used half black cocoa and half perigotti, as the package says that the black stuff may be too strong to use my itself)

1/4 tsp salt

1/3 tsp ground black pepper

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp ground cinnamon

Cream together butter and sugar. beat in eggs until fluffy. sift in all dry ingredients and stir until well incorporated. divide dough into thirds, wrap in plastic and chill for at least an hour. Using the black cocoa made the dough B-L-A-C-K, not even slightly brown, and it tasted rich and choclatey.

pre-heat oven to 375 F. roll out dough on floured board to 1/8 inch thick. Use a pastry brush to dust off any flour on top surface. cut out with cookie cutters and bake on parchment or silpat lined baking sheets for 8-10 minutes. do not overbake. since the dough is already black and the cookies will still be a little soft when they come out of the oven (they'll crisp when they cool), it is very hard to tell when they're done.

When cool you can drizzle them with milk or white chocolate or some royal icing for decoration.

Using the black cocoa, these cookies came out completely black (of course) with a strong, rich, chocolate taste. Much richer tasting than when I've made them before with regular cocoa. I can't wait to try this stuff in a cake!

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I can't wait to try this stuff in a cake!

Very interesting. When you do try it, please let us know how it turns out! Thanks.

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I have now tried nightscotsman's black cocoa cookies (in fact, I just had one for breakfast) and they're both delicious and really, really black.

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I've tried the cookies too, damn, those are the type of cookies I really like and I wish they were more popular here in America. The public just doesn't appreciate cookies that aren't over the top sweet. Nightscotsman, great work on those cookies, there was just enough sugar to complement that really dark cocoa, what a treat. I had one for breakfast too! Oh and great presentation as well!

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The recipe for "Almost Oreos" is included in Nancy Silverton's Sandwich Book. The ingredient list calls for "black, super-alkalized cocoa powder" and she explains, "To get that deep, nearly black color, you'll need to use some highly alkalized black cocoa powder (see King Arthur Flour in the sources) for color, and some unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder for flavor. When buying your unsweetened cocoa powder and chocolate, look for Scharffen Berger and Valrhona." In the photograph the cookies are lovely contrast to the pure white vanilla filling.

Nightscotsman's chocolate cookies were fabulous, with a perfect crisp texture. He drizzled them with chocolate--milk chocolate?--that looked almost red against the black cookies.

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Hey nightscotsman: I just hunted up this thread because I was thinking of baking the spicy cocoa cookies (that's how good they are, I recall them clearly from two years ago). Two questions: what's the source of this recipe? And are the quantities listed here the full recipe or the half recipe (that is, if I want a half recipe should I havle what's here, or is it already halved)?

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Sort of off-topic, but does anyone know where to get Van Leer 120 cocoa? I ask because the Cook's Illustrated tasting from several years back had this cocoa rated #1, ahead of Valrhona, Merckens, Droste and Pernigotti- but I've never seen it anywhere.

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Hey nightscotsman: I just hunted up this thread because I was thinking of baking the spicy cocoa cookies (that's how good they are, I recall them clearly from two years ago). Two questions: what's the source of this recipe? And are the quantities listed here the full recipe or the half recipe (that is, if I want a half recipe should I halve what's here, or is it already halved)?

Jeez, has it really been two years? Some day I'll get back to Seattle. Hope everyone there had a great Thanksgiving. :smile:

The recipe is from Martha Stewart and as written above is the full batch.

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Black cocoa is indeed a dutched, or alkalized cocoa. Think of the dutching process as a line - if you're near the beginning of the line, the resulting cocoa powder is only slightly darker and slightly fudgy. Towards the middle of the line, you get the reddist colors and the most fudgy flavor development. at the end of the line, you've so severly alkalized it, that it's turned very dark and has lost almost all of it's chocoalte/fudgy flavor characteristics. Black powders are tyipcally valued more for their color as opposed to their flavor, and their pH's are often in the 8 range.

As a note, if you're reading a book that has a particular cocoa rated as #1 from years ago, you can be fairly certain that it doesn't taste today what it tasted like years ago. This is due to a number of reasons, but the most significant of which is cocoa is an agricultural product, prone to seasonal variations. The beans they used to make that particular cocoa years ago may not even be available today. Industrial processes change as well. It's commonly seen in the industry that the target changes from year to year.

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Sort of off-topic, but does anyone know where to get Van Leer 120 cocoa? I ask because the Cook's Illustrated tasting from several years back had this cocoa rated #1, ahead of Valrhona, Merckens, Droste and Pernigotti- but I've never seen it anywhere.

The top-rated cocoa for both hot chocolate and baking was Van Leer 120 Cocoa, available by mail from New York Cake, 1-800-942-2539

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For my "black" cocoa cookies, I used King Arthur's black cocoa and the "Double Dutch Dark" half and half.

I also use this same mixture in my cocoa fruit cake which turns out very dark and has an intense cocoa flavor, which, combined with the dried and plumped cherries and other fruits, has almost the taste and mouth feel of a bonbon.

Lighter, regular cocoa products will produce a very nice cake, but not the same texture or mouth feel and flavor as these.

I also use the Scharffen Berger cocoa and the Valrhona cocoa for other applications.

from this vendor.

When I get down to Surfas I usually pick up some of the Barry's Extra Brute cocoa powder

Surfas.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

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Sort of off-topic, but does anyone know where to get Van Leer 120 cocoa? I ask because the Cook's Illustrated tasting from several years back had this cocoa rated #1, ahead of Valrhona, Merckens, Droste and Pernigotti- but I've never seen it anywhere.

The top-rated cocoa for both hot chocolate and baking was Van Leer 120 Cocoa, available by mail from New York Cake, 1-800-942-2539

The Chocolate Source, used to carry Van Leer but dropped it at least a year ago. Chocolate Source.

Cake Decorators still had it last month - check here.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

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I wanted to try a good dutch processed cocoa in my brownie recipe but it has 1/4 tsp of baking soda in it. How would they be affected if I used dutch processed rather than regular?

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If it's a fudgy brownie, as opposed to a cakey one, the leavener isn't that important, although it will lighten the texture slightly. Usually you can use either type of cocoa in brownie recipes, (fudgy, that is). BTW, are there any other acidic ingredients in the recipe other than natural cocoa powder, such as bar chocolate, coffee, etc?


Edited by merstar (log)

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I would like to tell you all of Felchlins cocoa powder, its absolutely awesome. When you open the bag the whole room smells like chocolate

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I would like to tell you all of Felchlins cocoa powder, its absolutely awesome. When you open the bag the whole room smells like chocolate

Is it Dutched or natural, and where is it produced?

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BTW, are there any other acidic ingredients in the recipe other than natural cocoa powder, such as bar chocolate, coffee, etc?

merstar - there is a small amount of instant coffee for depth of flavour but that's all. And they are more chewy than fudgy. Does this make a difference? I don't have easy access to small amounts of Dutch process cocoa, otherwise I would just try it. I don't want to buy 5 lbs or whatever from my supplier if it's not going to work.


Edited by CanadianBakin' (log)

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CanadianBakin' (love your name),

I honestly don't think it will make a big difference. If the brownies were very cakey, (which most people wouldn't even consider brownies), I'd be more careful, but in this case, they should work out with the Dutched cocoa. If anything, you may end up with a slightly fudgier texture. However, it would probably be a good idea to get a few more opinions on this before splurging on the cocoa powder. Try posting this question as a brand new post, and you should get more responses.

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Sort of off-topic, but does anyone know where to get Van Leer 120 cocoa? I ask because the Cook's Illustrated tasting from several years back had this cocoa rated #1, ahead of Valrhona, Merckens, Droste and Pernigotti- but I've never seen it anywhere.

Van Leer was purchased several years ago by Callebaut. I found a press release a month ago or so (it was earlier than that) where they were liquidating many of their assets.

Too bad, they had great cocoa. (And I treasure my last remaining bit.)

-Art

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On a google search I found this company that manufactures black cocoa and it was the only company I could find in the US (and that is on the web): Blommer Chocolate Company. Maybe King Arthur's gets it from them. So far it seems only King Arthur carries it, which OK since it's one of my favorite companies, but I have to wait for the package...

Or maybe there is an alternative??

On the Cook's Illustrated site they have a cocoa rating and they give a bad rating to Hershey's Special Dark Dutched cocoa, describing it as "overzealously-Dutched". They did not like the results of baking goods made with it. But it seems that the Special Dark maybe is really black cocoa and should not be used by itself, but mixed with regular Dutch-process cocoa like it has been described on this thread.

Does anyone have any experience with Hershey's Special Dark? It is available in stores so I wouldn't have to wait for (another) shipment from King Arthur :rolleyes:, if it is indeed black cocoa.

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