Everybody knows that cocoa powder is what gives chocolate bars, chocolate cakes, brownies, and other chocolate treats its unique chocolatey taste but do you know what cocoa powder actually is? Cocoa powder is the powdered form of dry cocoa solids that remains after you extract cocoa butter (fat component) from chocolate liquor (cocoa mass in semi-solid or solid form). Chocolate liquor is derived from cocoa beans, crunchy bittersweet nibs that grow in a tropical climate.
The flavour and nutritional value of chocolate products will vary according to the type of cocoa powder used to make them.
Types of cocoa powder
Cocoa powder can be classified into 3 types:
1. Natural cocoa powder - Natural cocoa powder is rich in flavonol antioxidants and has a light brown colour. It has a pH of 5.3-5.8. Among all the types of cocoa powder, it has the most bitter taste and acidic flavour. It is used with baking soda.
2. Dutch cocoa powder - The cocoa powder we normally use for beverage product applications are subjected to the alkalization process to improve solubility and reduce bitterness. This process turns the colour of natural cocoa to brownish red and increases the pH up to 6.8. Dutch cocoa powder a.k.a European cocoa powder has a more mellow taste than natural cocoa powder. It is good for baked goods due to its rich, fudge flavour.
3. Black cocoa powder - Cocoa powders that undergo heavy alkalization or Dutch processing are known as black cocoa due to its darker black colour. It is the least bitter taste but may have a high pH level of up to 8. It has a deep chocolate flavour.
Apart from looking at the types, when selecting cocoa powder products, you should also look at the standard fat content in the product formulation. Low-fat content products have around 8-10% fat whereas high-fat content products have around 12-18% fat.
How should cocoa powder be used?
Here are some ways you can use cocoa powder:
1. Cooking - You can use regular and Dutch cocoa process powder to make a variety of baked goodies and chocolate treats. Generally, baked goods, chocolates, and truffles are made with natural cocoa whereas European cakes and pastries are made with Dutch cocoa. You can experiment with different types of cocoa and their taste by making cakes, chocolate chip cookies, brownies, chocolate pudding, chocolate sauce, frosting, chocolate spread, etc.
2. Hot chocolate - You can make delicious hot chocolate by adding 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder with milk and some sugar. These are a must for chilly winter nights.
3. Facial mask - Adding cocoa powder to your facial mask ingredients can help you to exfoliate your skin better, rejuvenating and cleansing it from within.
4. Dark chocolate - You can make savoury dark chocolate at home by combining cocoa powder, cocoa butter, sugar, and vanilla extract. The chocolate-making process is fairly simple and easy to do as well.
Cocoa powder is very nutritious as it contains essential minerals like potassium, calcium, sodium, zinc, phosphorus, copper, and magnesium. Research has shown that cocoa can keep high blood pressure in check and lowers the risk of heart diseases as well.
Where can you get cocoa powder online?
You can purchase cocoa powder online from many eCommerce stores which sell grocery products. In fact, you can purchase high-quality cocoa powder from our website as well.