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Jul 2, 2009 11:46 PM

A question about brownies

I want to make brownies tonight, using a recipe for Georgia Pecan Brownies from BAY. The recipe calls for cocoa powder - mine is a very high quality one from a specialist chocolatier - and semi-sweet chocolate.

I have two questions:

1. Will my cocoa powder be too bitter for brownies?

2. What is semi-sweet chocolate? I have lots of different kinds of chocolate ranging from 40% to 80% cocoa solids. Which one should I use, bearing in mind that we don't have anything marketed as semi-sweet chocolate in Britain.


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  1. I guess the answers would be:

    Do you like the cocoa powder in other recipes? I suppose that you do, since you went to great pains to explain where it came from - so if you like it, then it will work in brownies.

    Semi-sweet has nothing to do with cocoa solids, and everything to do with sugar. In North America, most semi-sweet baking chocolate has only met cocoa in passing. We usually use any chocolate we have on hand for brownies - see point number 1.

    Use the chocolate that you enjoy eating, and the brownies will be fine.

    There is a quote from Julia Child, if I may paraphrase: "anyone who doesn't do a recipe because they're missing an ingredient or two, will never be a cook."


    1 Reply
    1. re: legourmettv

      I haven't used the cocoa powder yet - it was a gift from a friend. I don't use cocoa powder very regularly, to be honest, so I'm a bit clueless about the different flavours. I was wondering whether it's best to combine the cocoa with what we'd call milk chocolate to give a slightly sweeter flavour. Don't make brownies very often - can you tell?!

    2. i wouldn't use the milk chocolate to make it sweeter, unless there is not much sugar in your recipe. <edit: there's plenty of sugar in the recipe -- 2 cups -- so don't add milk chocolate for "sweetness">

      i have an idea, GG: go over to the BAY thread and ask your questions, because they have the cookbook and can advise about how to proceed.

      <edit: gg, i put a pointer over on that thread for you.>


      oh look!! here is some info and tips about willis' brownie recipe, (with delicious photos!) ....

      >>""In North America, bittersweet chocolate is required, according to Standards of Identity established by the Food and Drug Administration, to contain a minimum of 35 percent chocolate liquor. In Great Britain, the figure is somewhat higher, rising to 43 percent. The more chocolate liquor the chocolate contains, the more intense its flavor will be. Especially high-quality bittersweet chocolate may contain 65 to 70 percent, or more, of chocolate liquor.""<<<

      essentially, your english bittersweet chocolate is going to be richer than ours here in the u.s.

      bottom line: i think your cocoa powder and any good bittersweet eating chocolate will make terrific brownies. and don't forget to toast your pecans!

      your brownies will be ultra-chocolate-y! yummmy! bon appetit, y'all!

      1 Reply
      1. re: alkapal

        Hello alkapal. Thanks very much for this. Most helpful.