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Good Cocoa Powder??

hpman247 Nov 14, 2009 04:14 AM

I saw Ina Garten make this amazing brownie pudding which I replicated to the delight of my friends, even the ones who don't like dessert!

Here is the recipe

Well my question is about the cocoa powder. I used basic Hershey's brand but I know it's not the best, only the best that Kroger had. Earlier this morning when I went in (open 24 hrs), they had some Ghiradelli Baking Chocolate mix and it said "with Cocoa Powder." I would assume that Ghiradelli would be better than Hersheys. But do you all have any idea if this is legit cocoa powder or something that I should stay away from?

I have seen amazon.com sell very good cocoa powder, as they do vanilla beans btw. I always buy them from the JR mushroom place on amazon.com. But back to the powder; their quantity is too large. I believe it's a kilo and thats ridiculous for me to buy that much.

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  1. JenJeninCT RE: hpman247 Nov 14, 2009 05:10 AM

    I just picked up some Valrhona cocoa powder at The Fresh Market- 1/2 lb was $6 something. I haven't used it yet, but it definitely looks and smells much richer than any other cocoa powder I've ever had.

    I found this on the web:

    Unsweetened chocolate is a mixture of cocoa solids and cocoa butter. Unsweetened cocoa powder starts out as unsweetened chocolate. Then the cocoa butter is forcibly removed, and the remaining solids are ground to a powder. So the difference between baking chocolate and cocoa is all that cocoa butter — generally as much as 55% of the baking chocolate.

    When you substitute cocoa for unsweetened chocolate, you generally use 3 tablespoons of cocoa and 1 tablespoon of butter, oil, or shortening to replace 1 ounce of chocolate. Since you want to go in the opposite direction, you need to find a way to remove from your recipe the extra fat you are adding. For each ounce of unsweetened chocolate you use, omit 1 tablespoon of whatever fat is called for elsewhere in your recipe, if possible.

    Depending on your recipe, you may also have to manage blending and mixing issues, as melted chocolate and cocoa do not necessarily have the same mixing properties at all ranges of temperature, but we're sure you can master that challenge.

    8 Replies
    1. re: JenJeninCT
      Normandie RE: JenJeninCT Nov 14, 2009 08:22 AM

      Just as an aside, I think you got a very good price on the Valrhona. I paid $8 for 10 oz. of Ghirardelli (also in Connecticut). My regular store sells Valrhona solid chunks off the block for baking, but not its cocoa powder. I'm going to watch for it when I have occasion to stop in other stores.

      1. re: JenJeninCT
        BiscuitBoy RE: JenJeninCT Nov 17, 2009 07:22 AM

        Second on the Valrhrona...Seen it as low as $6, either at Whole Paycheck or Sonoma

        1. re: BiscuitBoy
          Normandie RE: BiscuitBoy Nov 17, 2009 10:39 PM

          Then that's really reasonable, IMO. I'm going to look for it around here.

        2. re: JenJeninCT
          Azizeh RE: JenJeninCT Nov 17, 2009 10:51 PM

          I paid $10.50 for 8.82 oz at Sur La Table.

          It's worth it, though. Makes the best brownies I've ever had.

          1. re: JenJeninCT
            LindaWhit RE: JenJeninCT Nov 18, 2009 05:28 AM

            Exactly what I would recommend - the Valhrona is excellent baking cocoa powder.

            1. re: LindaWhit
              buttertart RE: LindaWhit Nov 18, 2009 06:23 AM

              I used it recently in the Beranbaum chocolate Valentine heart from her new book and was very happy with a cocoa chocolate cake for the first time ever. Man what a cake!

              1. re: buttertart
                LindaWhit RE: buttertart Nov 18, 2009 07:13 AM

                I need to be in your neck of the woods next time you make that. :-)

                1. re: LindaWhit
                  buttertart RE: LindaWhit Nov 18, 2009 08:25 AM

                  Come on down (or east, or north) whichever it is!

          2. c
            Cakegirl RE: hpman247 Nov 14, 2009 05:23 AM

            I always use the dutch process cocoa from Penzey's (penzeys.com). It's very high quality and reasonably priced, especially compared to Valrhona. I order several pounds at a time from Penzeys and it works perfectly in everything. Give it a try!

            3 Replies
            1. re: Cakegirl
              BarmyFotheringayPhipps RE: Cakegirl Nov 14, 2009 12:32 PM

              Second Penzey's -- both their natural and Dutch process cocoas are excellent and not expensive.

              1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
                Michelly RE: BarmyFotheringayPhipps Nov 14, 2009 06:25 PM

                Third Penzey's.

                1. re: Michelly
                  coney with everything RE: Michelly Nov 18, 2009 04:07 AM

                  4th Penzeys.

            2. bushwickgirl RE: hpman247 Nov 14, 2009 06:03 AM

              I checked the Ghiradelli website and can't find anyting called "baking chocolate mix":
              so I don't know if it's straight cocoa or a blend of cocoa and ground baking chocolate, which is my guess. Ghiradelli does carry a good cocoa powder, however.
              I second the Valrhona note, it is good cocoa, but a bit pricey.
              I also like King Arthur Flour for cocoa powder choices:

              2 Replies
              1. re: bushwickgirl
                Normandie RE: bushwickgirl Nov 14, 2009 08:26 AM

                I've never seen the Ghirardelli mix, either, but if you've ever been out there, they do sell just about everything but a Ghirardelli kitchen sink (yum, chocolate the size of a sink!), so maybe it's available in certain parts of the country.

                I like Gh.'s cocoa powder, but then, it's my favorite (nationally distributed) U.S. chocolate.

                1. re: bushwickgirl
                  rockycat RE: bushwickgirl Nov 17, 2009 06:22 AM

                  KA used to carry a kilo bucket of the Schokinag cocoa. I'm not sure when they stopped, but I've finally run out and am looking for a replacement, I'm currently using Ghiradelli because that's the best my grocery store has, but I did like that Schokinag.

                2. The Professor RE: hpman247 Nov 14, 2009 08:41 AM

                  There is nothing at all wrong with Hershey's Cocoa Powder, especially the version that is a blend of Natural and Dutched cocoa. I've used it with great results...and results equal to what I've made with the more expensive brands.
                  Do a side-by-side, as I have done, and I think you will reach the same conclusion.

                  16 Replies
                  1. re: The Professor
                    Normandie RE: The Professor Nov 14, 2009 09:03 AM

                    I've made some great things with Hershey's, too, Professor (including my favorite killer fudge brownies with a very naughty and addictive chocolate glaze--yum), but I do notice flavor differences between nearly all makers of chocolate (whether eating chocolate, baking chocolate, or cocoa powder). Sometimes I think it's just a matter of what kinds of flavors or nuances you want for a certain dish, but when I make that brownie recipe I spoke of, I'll only use Hershey's.

                    1. re: Normandie
                      buttertart RE: Normandie Nov 16, 2009 08:51 AM

                      Ok, are you going to spill on the naughty and addictive chocolate glaze recipe, or leave us all hanging?

                      1. re: buttertart
                        Normandie RE: buttertart Nov 17, 2009 11:01 PM

                        Well...okay...buttertart. But I don't want to be held responsible for any sugar crashes anyone might suffer a couple of hours after eating these:

                        1. Mix by blender or hand until combined:

                        1 stick butter or margarine
                        1 cup granulated sugar
                        4 eggs
                        1 can less 4 ounces Hershey's syrup (the 4 oz. will be used later)
                        1 cup plus 1 tablespoon AP flour, sifted
                        1 t. vanilla
                        1 cup chopped nuts, if desired

                        2. Bake mixture above in well greased pan at 350 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes. [Note: the original recipe never said what size pan, but I always used a 13" x 9". Don't really know if it was intended for a 8" or 9" square pan.]

                        3. Glaze--Don't overcook, but heat until just boiling:

                        1-1/2 cup granulated sugar
                        6 tablespoons milk [or just go crazy and use cream]
                        6 tablespoons margarine or butter

                        4. Once mixture above achieves the boiling point, mix in the reserved 4 ounces of the Hershey's syrup. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Start mixer on low, to guard against splatters from hot glaze.

                        5. Pour beaten mixture over brownies while still warm.

                        [Notes: It's been a few years since I made these. I'm not sure whether I liked them more while they were still warm with the oozy glaze, or after they had set, when the glaze took on a ganache-like finish. I just know I liked them! Also, I'm not crazy about Hershey's syrup, because to me it has an aftertaste; however, I really like it on these brownies. These are really rich and sugary--not for the faint-hearted, but they are deliciously fudgy.]

                        1. re: Normandie
                          buttertart RE: Normandie Nov 18, 2009 06:24 AM

                          Holy cow, those sound great. Thinking of making them over Tgiving wkend for the family. Thank you very much!

                          1. re: Normandie
                            buttertart RE: Normandie Nov 18, 2009 01:37 PM

                            PS how many ounces in a can of the syrup? I have a bottle lurking in my fridge so would wan to use it up. Thanks in adv again!

                            1. re: buttertart
                              Normandie RE: buttertart Nov 18, 2009 08:36 PM

                              Hmmm...it's been a few years since I made these, so it's been a few years since I had a can of the syrup in the house. I went to look on the Hershey's site, buttertart, but all I saw were the bottles. So...I know those cans had more than a cup...I'm guessing they were probably a pint.

                              So I'd do up to 1-1/2 cups of the syrup in the brownie batter itself, and then, per the instructions, use the 4 ounces for the glaze.

                              You're welcome, btw. I hope you like them. You might want to cut them a little bit smaller than you might more cakey brownies. Just an alert since they are so fudgy and sweet.

                              1. re: Normandie
                                buttertart RE: Normandie Nov 19, 2009 04:45 AM

                                Thinking of these for a chocoholic nephew who never met a sweet too sweet. I'm going to email Hershey's and ask, and let you know. Thanks again!

                                1. re: buttertart
                                  Normandie RE: buttertart Nov 20, 2009 01:50 AM

                                  Lucky nephew, to have such a thoughtful aunt!

                                  If you get an answer from Hershey's, would you mind posting it? That way I can note it on the recipe, in case the cans aren't readily available. You have me thinking that I might make these again for the Christmas goodies table.

                                  1. re: Normandie
                                    buttertart RE: Normandie Nov 20, 2009 06:13 AM

                                    Will do!

                                    1. re: Normandie
                                      buttertart RE: Normandie Nov 20, 2009 12:47 PM

                                      They answered within a few hours.
                                      "Thank you for contacting The Hershey Company.
                                      For assistance with your question, there are 12 ounces by volume in a 16 ounce can.
                                      Your interest in our company is appreciated."
                                      They didn't indicate that the cans were no longer available, period. But I don't recall seeing them lately.

                                      1. re: buttertart
                                        Normandie RE: buttertart Nov 21, 2009 05:57 PM

                                        What does that mean, buttertart?

                                        That if you measured it out, you'd get 1.5 cups? Or that you'd get 2 cups filled with liquid, but it weighs 12 ounces?

                                        1. re: Normandie
                                          Caitlin McGrath RE: Normandie Nov 21, 2009 06:40 PM

                                          Looks like it means that the 16-oz can *weighs* 16 ounces, but contains 12 fluid ounces, or 1.5 cups. So if your recipe above holds back 4 fluid ounces, rather than 4 ounces by weight, you'd use 1 cup in the brownies, and the remaing half cup in the glaze.

                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                            Normandie RE: Caitlin McGrath Nov 21, 2009 07:21 PM

                                            Though my memory is fuzzy now, that makes sense--to have used 1 cup of syrup in those brownies. A cup-and-a-half seems like it would be a *lot* of that syrup on TOP of one cup of sugar....

                                            On another topic, seems misleading if a company can label a can "16 ounces" but you only get 12 ounces of product. It seems to me that if it's a liquid product, they should have to display the amount of product you get in liquid terms. If it's a solid product, then expressing the amount of food product by weight would be okay. JMO.

                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                              buttertart RE: Caitlin McGrath Nov 23, 2009 04:59 AM

                                              That's my interpretation. 4 oz extra seems heavy for a can (but I was anmazed to see how much my dutch oven weighed when I was weighing fruitcake fruit in it last week so it makes sense). Yes 16 oz/12 oz is a bit misleading.

                            2. re: Normandie
                              lnghrnfn RE: Normandie Nov 20, 2009 04:08 PM

                              I have tried Nestle' cocoa & Ghirardelli, & I will never stray from Hershey's again! I have been baking with it for 40 years (yikes) & it never lets me down. I use it for Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake, Coca Cola Cake, brownies, no-bake cookies, & that yummy hot fudge pudding cake. I'm not a cocoa snob, but after using those other 2 only because Hershey's was out-of-stock that day.........why continue to try other, more expensive & hard-to-find brands when you have had success with the old fashioned kind?

                              1. re: lnghrnfn
                                Normandie RE: lnghrnfn Nov 21, 2009 06:01 PM

                                Well, that's the thing, Inghrnfn. Chocolate is one of those products in which every brand has a unique personality and character to its flavor. Individuals have to stick with the one they feel tastes best, has the best texture in cooking, is most reliable, etc.

                                I think it's important that we try different things, but once we've done that, if a particular item or brand pleases us and suits our needs best, that's what's important, even if not everyone else agrees with us.

                          2. scuzzo RE: hpman247 Nov 14, 2009 12:58 PM

                            I like Droste...it's a Dutch process. It's not too hard to find in supermarkets. A lot better than Hershey's. Red box.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: scuzzo
                              amtriska RE: scuzzo Nov 23, 2009 02:51 PM

                              I love Droste, too. Say the word "Droste" to my mom and she'll talk for days about its virtues...we always had some in our cabinet when I was little. Much better than Hershey's, I agree. I use it for cheesecakes, hot cocoa, hot fudge, everything.

                            2. DallasDude RE: hpman247 Nov 14, 2009 01:16 PM

                              Scharfen Berger is available online or at some of your better purveyors like Whole Foods. Theirs is a natural coca powder and not a dutch process. Although recently purchased by the Hershey Company, the bean to bar artisian goodness is still intact. Check out the product, and be sure to read about the start up story, it's very facinating.


                              2 Replies
                              1. re: DallasDude
                                cheesemaestro RE: DallasDude Nov 16, 2009 11:26 AM

                                I second the recommendation for Scharffen Berger. And unlike other posters, I disagree that Hershey's cocoa power is as good. I've made hot chocolate with both, and the beverage made with Scharffen Berger is far superior.

                                1. re: cheesemaestro
                                  Vetter RE: cheesemaestro Nov 17, 2009 04:07 PM

                                  Agreed. Scharffenberger occasionally shows up at our local close-outs store, and I stock up. MUCH better than Hershey's.

                              2. ipsedixit RE: hpman247 Nov 14, 2009 09:27 PM


                                1 Reply
                                1. re: ipsedixit
                                  Normandie RE: ipsedixit Nov 17, 2009 11:03 PM

                                  Ooooooh. I like that, too.

                                2. mels RE: hpman247 Nov 16, 2009 09:44 AM

                                  I love the Double Dark Cocoa Powder made by King Arthur (the flour people). You can buy it on their website.


                                  1. b
                                    Budser1228 RE: hpman247 Nov 16, 2009 11:36 AM

                                    The specific one she used was Pernigotti cocoa powder - I recognize the packaging.

                                    1. b
                                      blackpointyboots RE: hpman247 Nov 17, 2009 07:09 PM

                                      Ghiradelli makes cocoa powder. It is good quality and much better than Hershey's. I would not use the Baking Mix you referenced unless it matches something a recipe called for. I personally don't care for Hershey's, it has an acidic finish to it.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: blackpointyboots
                                        The Professor RE: blackpointyboots Nov 17, 2009 10:12 PM

                                        Interesting. I haven't found that to be the case at all with the Hershey's Special Dark (natural/dutched cocoa blend).

                                        1. re: The Professor
                                          Caitlin McGrath RE: The Professor Nov 21, 2009 06:43 PM

                                          The regular Hershey's natural cocoa would be more acidic than the natural/dutched blend, since dutched cocoa is treated with alkali (a base).

                                      2. b
                                        blizzardgirl33 RE: hpman247 Nov 20, 2009 02:37 PM

                                        Try looking for Cocoa Camino brand cocoa. It's my favourite for hot chocolate mix (milk, dark and extra dark), cocoa and chocolate bars. Their products are fair trade, organic and delicious!!

                                        1. j
                                          joannabar RE: hpman247 Nov 20, 2009 08:23 PM

                                          El Rey (whole foods) cocoa powder has great depth of flavor....Valhrona, Callebaut, Scharfenberger, Ghiradelli, and yes, even Hershey all have their place in my kitchen. I'm a pan-chocoholic, I suppose. I used the El Rey in Julia's "Reine de Saba" cake and it became a chocolate cake on a whole new level!

                                          1. w
                                            Whidster RE: hpman247 Nov 22, 2009 06:16 PM

                                            Valhrona! I love it. Rave reviews on cakes and brownies from friends. Incredible aroma and rich color. I buy it thru amazon.

                                            1. g
                                              garlic17 RE: hpman247 Nov 23, 2009 02:21 PM

                                              Funny you should ask...I just bought a can of Chatfield's at the health food store...it's undutched...alkaline free...before I open it...anyone use it? any opinions?

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