Poudre De cacao…one thing that can bring a smile to anyone’s face as it is added to that plain,simple butter & sugar batter and turns it into this thick,dark luscious river of chocolate for when baked that cake is the one that you have been dieting for over a month to eat….isn’t it???( I am…that is the best way I can console myself after a slice)…
Cocoa in a cake is the best hug from inside……
I am sure you all have figured out what we are going to be discussing in this post and yup It is cocoa….but just not cocoa…YES! I am going to be giving you guys all I know about cocoa beans its by products,extracts everything in this one post and i really hope this will help you solve all your problems that you ever had with COCOA or its family (*wink*wink) …..here we go
So what is cocoa powder?? Is it the brown,dark beautiful powder that you might add to your chocolate cakes or your fudge icing for aunt’s cake. Cocoa powder is unsweetened powder that is basically made by drying,fermenting & grinding cacao beans and extracting out the cocoa butter (which we will talk about in a short while)& the result of this process also gives you a low fat powder with an intense chocolate flavor and that my Friends we call COCOA powder,that you would use in cakes,those luscious creamy fudge cheesecakes or the fudge icing for the next cake you bake.
Alkalized Cocoa Powder
I am sure you have the question what is alkalized cocoa?have i heard that one before,so let me tell “YOU” today is the best day in the history of your baking spree,where you might have seen this term appear a million times and thought where the hell Am I going to get that kind of cocoa then let me tell you,you have heard this kind of cocoa & its called “Dutch-Processed Cocoa”.
Dutch Process Cocoa is called that because it is treated with an alkali to remove the acidity of the cocoa powder and make it less sour.This cocoa has a beautiful rich dark reddish brown color and is more palatable to the mouth since some of the acidity is removed in the process.This is usually the expensive cocoa and cannot be easily found here in Delhi however if you are on an urgent need for it ask major supermarkets such as Nature’s Basket,Le Marche or Modern Bazaar and they might be able to help you with brands like Hintz,Ghirardelli etc.You can also find them these days on major online sites with/without import duty(depending on the site you purchase from).
Natural Cocoa Powder
Clearly as the name suggests this cocoa powder is natural and has not been processed like above. So it has its acidity in its place,the bitter and stronger taste and the color is usually less deeper than it is of a dutch process cocoa powder.
For baking cocoa can matter and interchanging them may alter the taste of your baked product,since the acidity level will react with whatever leavening agent you are using in your product.So,if my recipe calls for baking soda I will prefer using natural cocoa powder keeping in mind that the acidity level of this coca powder is higher and it will react with baking soda better.But if my recipe calls for baking powder I will like to switch my cocoa from natural to dutch process as the acidity level is lower as it has been discussed above.
But I also know that there are recipes that call for both to help with that i usually work with something in between and there are a lot of brands and companies in the market producing cocoa powder that is neither too acidic nor too less,something just right for your baked goods.However for me i go with the dutch process cocoa and it works like a charm for me(not necessarily might work for you ,but with a few experiments here and there might just hit the spot for you which one works for you the best way possible).
THIS IS NOT COCOA POWDER AND CANNOT BE REPLACED FOR COCOA POWDER.PERIOD.
Every time i speak with my family or my friends or some one who is baking a cake I often get asked …”can i use hot chocolate instead of cocoa?” and the answer by default is HELL NO !
Hot Chocolate is a powder which is made with milk solids(milk powder),sugar,cocoa(in the right amount)sometimes cinnamon etc.to be added to milk and had with nice fluffy marshmallows.It is not pure cocoa and is not extracted the way i explained and so it cannot be replaced for cocoa in your recipe.
Can i replace cocoa powder if my recipe calls for chocolate?????????????????????
like i said Yes you can replace cocoa powder if your recipe calls for chocolate and it is as easy peasy as it gets….all I do is
for every approx 30 gms chocolate/6 Tsps i take 3 leveled table spoons of cocoa powder and add approx 1 table spoon of butter and voila its sorted.
However if you have to know the quantity for replacing cocoa with chocolate it is a much difficult task as fats,solids etc needs to be taken into consideration.(Also have not had the chance to try that so would not want to guide you in the wrong way).
Prefer using exactly what your recipe calls for.These are just substitutes/tips/tricks to help you save the day ,they might or might not work in your favour as baking is a science & one ingredient depends on the others like a chain formation.
In the beginning of this post i mentioned something called cocoa butter and said we will talk about it in short while so now is that time when we do…
Cocoa Butter is the fat that is extracted from the cocoa beans and is used for various things like most importantly making chocolates or toiletries etc.It is usually pale yellow vegetable fat and has the aroma & flavour of cocoa.It can also be used raw for the use of painting on cakes,making chocolate thinner for colored chocolate etc.So next time when you want to or see a beautifully hand painted cake there might have been cocoa butter used(vodka or lemon extracts might also be used for the same) .
We spoke about cocoa beans in the beginning of this post and the word “BEANS” in Cocoa Beans is responsible for giving us my friends….”CHOCOLATE”….the word that has saved millions of people on Valentine’s day….
Chocolate as we know is typically sweet(can be bitter…& again I will come back to it in a minute)usually brown and prepared where the seeds are ground,roasted and infused with vanilla flavor.It can be liquid,paste or even a block(most common form).
The seeds of the cocoa tree are quite bitter and to get the flavor that we devour the moment we open a pack of Cadbury’s or Ghirardelli these seeds need to be fermented. The fermentation process help to develop the flavor in these seeds,after which they are dried,cleaned & roasted.The shells of these seeds are then removed which lead to cocoa nibs which are ground to form unadulterated chocolate mass.
the chocolate mass is liquefied which results in chocolate liquor,which is further processed to produce cocoa powder&cocoa butter.
Baking chocolate is the mix of cocoa solids and cocoa butter in various proportions but there is no added sugar to it and that is why it is called bitter chocolate as well.Most common brand that is known to me to sell a 100% cocoa /bitter chocolate is Lindt.
The chocolate most of us enjoy today is a sweet chocolate and as the name suggests it has cocoa solids,cocoa butter,fat& added sugar showering that extra love on you and your waist line.
Milk Chocolate….this chocolate has all the above mentioned ingredients with addition to condensed milk or milk powder.It is lighter in color than the usual dark/bitter chocolate and has a pleasant taste to it. Best example I can think of at this point to clear your doubt is Cadbury’s Dairy milk.
White Chocolate….this chocolate has milk,cocoa butter,sugar but no cocoa solids,hence the white color and a milky taste.One example that i can remember for this chocolate is the Milky Bar that we use to have when we were kids.
Real Chocolate as mentioned above is further sub divided in three categories
regular chocolate is usually in the form of chips and has been processed from moderate quality cocoa beans and have low cocoa butter levels with added sugar.It is generally used for baking and can hold its shape however cannot and should not be used for dipping or molding.
couverture…the word couverture means covering and is usually called the finest quality chocolate.It is produced from the finest cocoa beans and have a high level of cocoa butter.It melts smoothly and when tempered will give a glossy finish to your chocolate.
ultra couverture chocolate is equal to the couverture chocolate however it has an even higher cocoa butter content and low viscosity.When tempered and cooled this chocolate will give a smooth,glossy shell.
Compound chocolate contains vegetable oil instead of cocoa butter and hence its quality & taste has been compromised for the ease of buying and using it as does not need to tempered.The price of this chocolate is much lower than Real chocolate and can be found in many super markets with the brand Morde in Delhi.
having explained so much about chocolate I have come to realize that……
“I am not overweight
I am CHOCOLATE enriched”…….
I really hope I have been helpful and would love to know what do you think about this post and my blog….Please do tell me any topic you would like to me discuss,write or explain I would be more than happy to Help…Now with lots of hugs and kisses….Bye from me to you.
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