YUM! Chocolate! Ever wonder what makes a chocolate baked good, um, chocolaty? Well, wonder no more! When it comes to unsweetened cocoa powder, there are two variations.
What is cocoa powder?
In simplified terms. cocoa powder is a roasted cocoa been that has been ground up into a fine powder. In scientific terms, cocoa beans are dried, roasted and cracked into little nibs. Cocoa nibs are a very popular ingredient to bake with. Nibs are pressed to remove about 75% of it’s cocoa butter. This process results in creating cocoa liquer. This liquer is dried and ground into a fine unsweetened cocoa powder.
What is Dutch-processed cocoa powder?
Dutch-processed cocoa powder (alkalized) is the cocoa bean that has been processed in an alkaline soluition of potassium carboante to neutralize it’s acidity. This cocoa is considered a neutral cocoa and produces a darker color> Since it is neutral it does not react with baking soda and is typically paired with baking soda.
Neutralizing cocoa powder turns your baked good darker in color and mellow in flavo. Dutch-processed cocoa is also liquid soluble (easily dissolves in luiquid). Many commercial brand chocolate cookies such as Oreo’s are made with Dutch processed chocolate.
What is natural cocoa powder?
Natural cocoa powder (non-alkalized) is non-processed. This cocoa still contains it’s natural acidity, bitterness and procduces a richer, more concentrated chocolate flavor. This cocoa powder works best with baking soda to allow your baked good to rise. Hersey’s brand (Not Hersey’s Special Dark) and Ghirardelli are two types of natural chocolate.
For a more in-depth color and texture comparison using cocoa powder in baked goods check out Serious Eats article.