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Nn, M.D.

Swapping out cocoa from a recipe?

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Technical question here: I have tried Anna Olson's chocolate cantucci recipe several times to great effect. What I like about her recipe is that the proportion of the individual cookies is larger and thinner than the typical biscotti, and I'm all for a crispy snappy cookie.  As for the technique, I wanted to know if there's a way to swap out the cocoa powder but keep the integrity of the recipe. I have a couple theories on how this might work, and I'm wondering if anyone has any experience in this arena:

  • Simply take out the cocoa powder. In this recipe the ratio of cocoa powder to flour is so low that it would be hard to believe the cocoa powder serves any function aside from flavor. 2 cups of flour is a sizable portion, so I don't think you'd necessarily need to replace the ½ cup of cocoa powder with anything.
  • Swap for an additional ½ cup of flour. In the event that the cocoa is a significant contributor to the dough matrix and can't be eliminated, you might posit that it must be replaced 1:1.  This seems to be the most logical path, but I do worry about adding potentially more gluten to the recipe and ultimately altering the structure of the cookie.
  • Swap for an additional ½ cup of cornstarch.  Cornstarch is my fix-all for everything lol. I figure if volume is the issue, and you need to match the dry ingredients in proportion to the wet ingredients, cornstarch can bridge that gap without adding any additional gluten. I think this might work, since cocoa powder and cornstarch are the same weight by volume.
  • Swap for ⅓ cup of flour. This is my best compromise. This volume of flour 1) weighs almost as much as ½ cup of cocoa and 2) prevents the need for an additional ingredient while 3) preserving the relative ratio of wet to dry ingredients in the recipe. I also think this might work.

 

In a perfect world, I would do a series of experiments on each of this riffs, but I don't have the time or the resources unfortunately.  So I'm asking for expert opinion or to hear from anyone with experience.


Edited by Nn, M.D. (log)

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7 hours ago, Nn, M.D. said:

Swap for an additional ½ cup of cornstarch

 

Best course of action would be this. Beware that cocoa powder gives a drier dough than cornstarch, so it's possible you will need to add a small amount of cornstarch after mixing the dough, in case it's too wet / runny.

 

 

 

Teo

 

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Teo

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