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KatieM

Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa Powder

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Yesterday I was in my local Meijer store, and I noticed a weird new product on the cocoa shelf. Next to the regular and "European Style" dutch processed Hershey cocoa powders was a new one called "Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa". It said it was a deep dark cocoa with a rich chocolate taste. I can't figure out what it might be. I didn't buy it because I usually only buy Hershey's dutch processed if I'm in a pinch and I can't get any Droste. Now, my hopeful side is wondering if it might be a black cocoa powder. If that's the case, I'll jump for joy, because so far I've only been able to get black cocoa powder from King Arthur Flour, and the shipping is killing me. Somehow I doubt it is, though. Maybe it's a blend like King Arthur's Double Dutch (still hopeful). Anyone tried it?

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I have been using the Hershey's Special Dark, however, I thought it was the same thing as their European Style and that they'd just changed the name. The European style said it was Dutch Process. If you look at the top of the Special Dark, it says it's Dutch Process as well.

http://www.hersheys.com/recipes/products/info/cocoa.asp

So again, I think they might be phasing out the "European Style" name. I could be totally wrong.

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I've used the Special Dark in a pinch, it is a different, better, product from their regular pale, insipid stuff. It had a different label and I think the version I used was also called European Style--I wouldn't be surprised if they are one in the same. And it was probably the best of the very commercial, very widely distributed cocoa powders, and I liked it much more than the Droste. I'd rate it at least "acceptable" if not fairly good. It's a little harsh to roll truffles in, and I wouldn't use it in an application with very subtle flavors, but in any basic chocolate baked good where you 1) were blending it in with some chocolate or 2) wanted a decently intense chocolate flavor and were pairing it with some other flavors, I think it'll work just fine.

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Ok, I feel like an idiot now. I went to another grocery store last night, and it looks like they are just phasing out the "European Style" name. I really don't use Hershey's very often, like I said - only in a pinch, but if they had started making a black cocoa powder, I would have at least tried it. I usually only use the Hershey's if I'm out of other cocoa and don't have time to order any, and even then only in things like Texas Sheet Cake for a church supper.

I don't use black cocoa powder that often, but it would have been nice not to have to order it. I order a million things from King Arthur anyway, but for some reason adding that cocoa powder usually doubles my shipping cost. Anyone know a source other that KA?

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I don't use black cocoa powder that often, but it would have been nice not to have to order it. I order a million things from King Arthur anyway, but for some reason adding that cocoa powder usually doubles my shipping cost.  Anyone know a source other that KA?

I really like Valrhona's Cocoa powder, which I buy in 6kg. boxes (3-1kg bags/box) for $39.26 from Assouline and Ting in Philadelphia. They would probably sell smaller quantities as well, if you ask nicely.

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i've used it before and thought it tasted pretty darn good! then again, it could have been a really good chocolate cake recipe, who knows! :biggrin:

i just bought a 15 pound bag of cocoa from Gordon's food, it was pretty cheap so i couldn't resist. i never tried the black cocoa before, do you think there really is a noticable difference? thanks!

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I use the Hershey's Special Dark because it's inexpensive, readily available and works well in cakes and baked goods. I haven't tried rolling truffles in it and probably won't do it based on Steve's assessment.

Does anyone have an opinion on Penzey's Dutch Process? I had some and thought it was excellent. My stash is gone now and I'm debating as to whether I should stock up on more Penzey's or splurge and buy Valrhona.

I've grown accustomed to using Valrhona and Scharffen Berger bittersweet chocolate, but have never tried their cocoa powders. If their cocoa powder is as good as their chocolate, it will be worth it. However, Penzey's was very good too.....and a little cheaper.

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remember, dutch proocessed is a very dark cocoa but its not black cocoa. An extremely dark cocoa powder called "black cocoa" does exist. But its an extreme specialty item.

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I've tried to Penzey's Dutch Process and I really liked it. It has a darker, richer flavor and fragrance than the Droste. I only used it in cakes and cupcakes, never tried rolling truffles in it. I've never used Valrhona; I'd like to give it and the Scharffen Berger a try sometime.

Is the Scharffen Berger natural cocoa considerably better than Hershey in baked goods? I'm kind of on a budget, and not ready for the big splurge unless it's a noticeably difference.

Call me a big cheapo.

Does anyone have an opinion on Penzey's Dutch Process?  I had some and thought it was excellent.  My stash is gone now and I'm debating as to whether I should stock up on more Penzey's or splurge and buy Valrhona.

I've grown accustomed to using Valrhona and Scharffen Berger bittersweet chocolate, but have never tried their cocoa powders.  If their cocoa powder is as good as their chocolate, it will be worth it.  However, Penzey's was very good too.....and a little cheaper.

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remember, dutch proocessed is a very dark cocoa but its not black cocoa. An extremely dark cocoa powder called "black cocoa" does exist. But its an extreme specialty item.

Sorry, I should have clarified this earlier. Black cocoa powder is what Oreos are made out of. I use it occasionally for a chocolate "blackout" cake that is paired with a cookies and cream filling. I haven't used it for much else, but I love the flavor and color of it so much that I'm experiementing with a few other things. I suppose it would have said black cocoa powder on the label if it was indeed black cocoa powder. Duh.

Is the Scharffen Berger natural cocoa considerably better than Hershey in baked goods? I'm kind of on a budget, and not ready for the big splurge unless it's a noticeably difference.

If it is a natural cocoa, but not a dutch processed, your method for using it will be slightly different. Dutch processed is treated with alkali, so it is less acidic. This makes it more palatable for eating without baking, like in hot cocoa or for rolling in truffles. It is also wonderful baked. Cocoa that has not been treated with alkali needs (in my opinion) to be balanced with a bit of baking soda (base) in baked goods.

There was another thread about cocoa powders somewhere if I recall correctly. If anyone can find it and link to it, that would help those who have more questions.

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Is the Scharffen Berger natural cocoa considerably better than Hershey in baked goods?  I'm kind of on a budget, and not ready for the big splurge unless it's a noticeably difference.

Its a matter of personal preference, but I've tried pretty much every type of cocoa in cakes and found that I do not like the flavor Scharffen Berger or Ghirardelli or other natural cocoas very much. Incidentally, when Cook's Illustrated did their cocoa tasting a couple of months ago, Scharffen Berger came in dead last of all cocoas, while Hershey's, which sells for 1/3 the price, came in second among the untreated cocoas. So I say, if you need to use an untreated cocoa, you could do alot worse than Hershey's!

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My stash is gone now and I'm debating as to whether I should stock up on more Penzey's or splurge and buy Valrhona.

Anna, buy some Valrhona cocoa! I have used it for several years now and will never go back to Hershey's or Ghirardelli, etc. I have never tried Penzey's though, so I cannot compare it to that.

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Laura, I almost bought some Valrhona yesterday, but it was $13.99 a pound and I didn't have a particular recipe in mind. It's easier for me to splurge when I know exactly how I'm going to use the ingredient in question. Of course, I think I could come up with a way to use cocoa powder this weekend.

Patrick, I love it when every-day grocery store products get high ratings from experts. Go Hershey! Do you happen to remember what cocoa came in first?

Hopefully, it was Valrhona. If their cocoa is anything like their semi-sweet chocolate, I'll be happy.

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Patrick, I love it when every-day grocery store products get high ratings from experts.  Go Hershey!  Do you happen to remember what cocoa came in first?

Hopefully, it was Valrhona.

Among the dutched cocoas (which were judged to be best-tasting in all the taste-tests: shortbread, devil's food cake, pudding, pudding cake, and hot chocolate), the top-rated was Callebaut, which you can order online for about half the price of Valrhona. Valrhona actually was ranked lower in preference than Callebaut, Droste and Schokinag. Possibly that reflects that most people prefer a simpler chocolate taste. I've used Valrhona cocoa in lots of things, and its clearly one of the best. But I personally don't think it is superior to the extent that I would twice as much for it on a regular basis.

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Among the dutched cocoas (which were judged to be best-tasting in all the taste-tests: shortbread,  devil's food cake, pudding, pudding cake, and hot chocolate), the top-rated was Callebaut, which you can order online for about half the price of Valrhona. Valrhona actually was ranked lower in preference than Callebaut, Droste and Schokinag. Possibly that reflects that most people prefer a simpler chocolate taste. I've used Valrhona cocoa in lots of things, and its clearly one of the best. But I personally don't think it is superior to the extent that I would twice as much for it on a regular basis.

Thanks! I buy Callebaut semi-sweet chocolate in bulk all the time and love it. It's less expensive than Valrhona and has an excellent flavor. Glad to hear their cocoa is good too. I didn't notice if my store had the Callebaut cocoa powder, but I'll pick some up if they do. Otherwise, I'll order it.

I still plan to pick up a small amount of Valrhona.

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I'm with Mignardise on the Cacao Barry. I've used (and liked) both the Extra Brut and the Plein Arome, which I can get for about $9 per 1kg bag through a local gourmet distributor. Makes some amazing brownies. And cakes. And meringues. And... :biggrin:

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