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Mar 27, 2013 04:48 PM

Neutral-flavored substitute for cocoa powder?

I have a recipe for no-bake, gluten-free gingerbread balls that calls for 1/4 c. cocoa powder (other dry ingredients are 1-1/2 c. GF gingersnap crumbs, 1/4 c. 10x sugar and 1 T. brown sugar). I don't like the taste of the chocolate with the gingerbread and am looking for a reasonably neutral-tasting substitute. I've tried subbing with more crumbs (and even MORE crumbs), but the balls fall flat as a pancake after being out the fridge for 5 minutes. Obviously the cocoa powder is doing something to shore up the shape of the ball. Any ideas? Thanks!!

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  1. Cocoa powder naturally contains fat, so almond meal or very fine coconut flour/powder would be a good substitute. You could also try whizzing the extra crumbs in the food processor or a coffee grinder until they're as powdery as cocoa.

    1. I'm wondering if the key difference between the crumbs and the cocoa may not be just the fat, but also the fact that the cocoa is the only ingredient besides the sugar that will dissolve in whatever wet ingredient you use as a binder and make a sort of paste. They sell white chocolate cocoa powder. That might work better than a flour and it won't taste like chocolate at all. Alternately, maybe a little of something that's already a paste, like almond butter, melted white chocolate chips, or even some cooked down pumpkin puree?

          1. re: sandylc

            I agree with a nut flour, for the fat

          2. Thanks so much, everyone, for the suggestions! I think ninrn is on the right track... I've tried mixing a few combinations and nothing "seizes up" into a paste the way cocoa powder does. I don't have any coconut flour on hand but I'll give that one a shot - maybe the combo of texture and fat will do the trick. Thanks again!!

            2 Replies
            1. re: GB2112

              I have a feeling coconut or nut flours won't help much. You need something with slightly waxy properties. Maybe just melt a white chocolate bar and stir it in? It won't really affect the taste except to give it a creamy undertone. If I were making these, I'd try unspiced pumpkin puree cooked down until it's kind of thick. I think it will just add a depth to the gingerbread flavors and won't take over at all.

              1. re: ninrn

                Or coconut milk and coconut oil as are used in this recipe: