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How much cocoa powder per 1 cup flour (cookies) to achieve chocolate taste?

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curiousaboutcafos Feb 11, 2014 09:48 AM

Hi I am wishing to add a chocolate flavor to a cookie recipe, seen here, http://www.itsallaboutrice.com/recipe...
There are no optional nuts being added and the flour is actually going to be 3 parts ww pastry to 1 part white rice.

I'm just curious how much cocoa powder I should add and do I need to remove this amount in flour?

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    AlexRast RE: curiousaboutcafos Feb 11, 2014 05:32 PM

    Have you tested your modification without cocoa yet? That may be critical because changing the flour type is going to change the outcome of the recipe. Adding whole wheat flour will contribute some gluten, thus the result will be chewier - and possibly overly so - you need to find out what the textural result will be.

    Adding cocoa, by the way, tends to reduce the structure of a cookie, so that it becomes crumblier and drier. *In general*, I find that I can modify recipes to up to 1 part cocoa for 3 parts flour, to substitute for 4 parts flour (thus if a recipe had 400 g flour, you could change to 100g cocoa, 300 g flour) before the structure really starts to deteriorate badly, and I usually go for maximum intensity possible so that's my set-point. However you don't need to be nearly so extreme: 1 part cocoa for 7 parts flour, substituting for 8 parts flour, will be fine in many cases. As you can see from the above, yes, it's usually better to remove the amount in flour that you add in cocoa. Otherwise the result is likely to be very dry.

    It will never have a *chocolate* taste - the taste will always be of *cocoa* - to have a chocolate taste you'll need to use actual chocolate, but that requires much more thoroughgoing adjustments due to the high fat percentage. To an extent this can even be true of cocoa - which in "high-fat" type (usually better IMHO) has about 24% fat (the "low-fat" type has 9-10%). High fat cocoa will make the cookies denser, low-fat lighter.

    4 Replies
    1. re: AlexRast
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      curiousaboutcafos RE: AlexRast Feb 12, 2014 08:23 AM

      hey Alex wow! great reply! thank you.

      yes I have tested this recipe.

      I now understand more about cocoa, thank you!

      Your post is very informative and I thank you for your time. I will post results later on :D

      1. re: curiousaboutcafos
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        tacosandbeer RE: curiousaboutcafos Feb 12, 2014 08:49 AM

        Not to throw another wrench in your plans, but cocoa powder alters your baking powder/baking soda needs - natural cocoa powder calls for baking soda (it's the lighter colored cocoa). Dutch-processed (darker) powder needs baking soda, as it has had the acids removed.

        1. re: tacosandbeer
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          AlexRast RE: tacosandbeer Feb 12, 2014 09:56 AM

          Actually, if the leavening reaction were depending upon an acid/alkali reaction, it would be the Dutch-processed cocoa recipe which would benefit more from baking powder (baking soda is alkaline, + no acid = no rise). But it's not true in any case that natural-process cocoa must needs have baking soda, because the acidity is fairly low and in any case quite variable, so recipes that specify baking powder should probably still use them unless you are really certain of the impact from experiment. Meanwhile recipes that specify baking soda may have acid from other things (juices, sour milk, sour cream, etc. etc. so there again what leaven to use is not a given).

          In short, cocoa type does NOT dictate the type of leavening used, in most situations. The only case where it would have an impact is in a recipe that was designed *from the outset* to use cocoa, AND designed to use natural process, AND designed so that what acidity was in it would affect the leavening (classic example: Devil's food cake)

          1. re: tacosandbeer
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            tacosandbeer RE: tacosandbeer Feb 12, 2014 10:54 AM

            Sorry, I see that I made an error in my differentiation, thanks for catching that!

            My thought process was that adding cocoa to a recipe that was not designed to have cocoa in the first place, MIGHT change the outcome of the recipe if the leavening is not adjusted. And for someone who is already making changes to the recipe, it might be helpful to be keep that in mind.

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        nothingswrong RE: curiousaboutcafos Feb 12, 2014 01:12 PM

        I have no idea about the science mumbo jumbo above me but just wanted to say you can try replacing 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the flour with cocoa.

        I've done this many times and with some recipes, the cookies can be a bit dry, but not enough to make a huge difference with that little cocoa. Your recipe calls for only 1 cup dry ingredients anyway so I don't see it making a huge difference.

        Also, I have to agree that cocoa powder will not necessarily make your cookies taste chocolatey at all, even though they'll look chocolatey.

        It might be best to just add in 1/2 cup of chopped dark chocolate if what you're wanting is a chocolate-tasting cookie.

        Or add the cocoa and some chocolate to the batter at the end.

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          Erika L RE: curiousaboutcafos Feb 12, 2014 02:44 PM

          The cocoa powder is going to dry out the cookie. There isn't much fat in this recipe, either in the way of butter/oil or egg, so the finished product with ww pastry + rice flour + cocoa may not be as crisp as the original.

          My best guess is that the original cookie recipe produces flat, wafer-like cookies that are crisp-tender, with no "rise." LIke AlexRast, I'm also guessing that the addition of ww pastry adds some chew but not much rise and are also dryer, as wheat flour tends to soak up more moisture than rice flour. Cocoa added on top of that would likely result in even dryer cookies because that soaks up moisture, too.

          I also echo AlexRast that these will be cocoa and not rich, chocolatey cookies, esp since there's so little fat.

          All of that said, I try to swap out not more than 2 or 3 Tbsp of cocoa per cup of flour--I stick with volume measures, even though I know that weights are far more accurate. More than that and I find the cookies are dry and get stale quickly.

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